Tolansky, Samuel

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers of Samuel Tolansky, 1926-1974, comprising biographical and personal materials, 1928-1974, including printed obituaries and memoirs, notes on his educational and research record, photographs of colleagues and collaborators, personal and family correspondence and domestic papers; material relating to Tolansky's work in the Department of Physics, Royal Holloway College, 1946-1970, including general correspondence on equipment and supplies, research grants, and examinations, correspondence with the College regarding the Physics laboratories, and correspondence on visits to and by Tolansky; notebooks and working papers, 1940-1969, including laboratory notebooks, on subjects including nuclear spin, diamonds, lunar dust and interferometry; manuscripts of publications, 1926-1973, including scientific reports and articles, abstracts and book reviews, broadcasts and books, on subjects including interferometry, crystallography, diamond physics and jewish music; material relating to committee and advisory work, 1949-1973, for bodies including the University of London, Birkbeck College, the Kingston College of Art, the National Gallery, the Science Research Council, the Royal Society of Arts and the Institute of Physics; papers relating to external examination, 1947-1973, at the Universities of Bradford, Durham, Leicester, and Nottingham, the Royal University of Malta, the Gemmological Association of Great Britain and the Civil Service Commission; material concerning conferences, demonstrations and exhibitions, 1946-1972; scientific correspondence, 1932-1973, mainly relating to Tolansky's work on diamonds, with correspondents including officials of the Royal Society, the Royal Institution, the NASA Lunar Sample Research Programme, and numerous scientists, such as Charles Joseph Singer, Dame Kathleen Lonsdale, James Frederic Danielli, Sir Gordon Sutherland, Otto Robert Frisch and Patrick Moore; correspondence relating to publications, 1942-1973; correspondence and texts relating to lectures, broadcasts and television appearances, 1947-1973.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born Samuel Turlausky in 1907, Tolansky was educated at Rutherford College, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1919-1925, and Armstrong College, Durham University, 1925-1928, gaining a Diploma in the Theory and Practice of Teaching at the latter in 1928-1929. From 1929 to 1931, he was a Fellow of King's College, Newcastle upon Tyne, and in 1931 he gained the Earl Grey Fellowship which enabled him to travel to Berlin. In 1932 Tolansky was granted the 1851 Exhibition Senior Studentship at Imperial College, London, and studied with Professor Alfred Fowler for the next two years. He was successively appointed Assistant Lecturer, 1934-1937, Lecturer, 1937-1945, Senior Lecturer, 1945-1946, and Reader, 1946-1947, in Physics at Manchester University, whre he undertook research on nuclear spins and multiple beam inteferometry. In 1948 Tolansky became Professor of Physics at Royal Holloway College, University of London, a post he held until his death in 1973. He won various prizes, including the C.V. Boys Prize for contributions to optics awarded by the London Physical Society in 1948, and was a member of numerous committees and societies, such as the NASA Lunar Project, the Scientific Advisory Committee, the National Gallery, the Royal Scientific Association, the Royal Astronomical Society, the Royal Society, the Royal Scientific Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Royal Microscopical Society.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into the following sections: biographical and personal; Royal Holloway College London; notebooks and working papers; publications; committees and advisory bodies; external examining; conferences, demonstrations and exhibitions; scientific correspondence; publications correspondence; and lectures, broadcasts and television.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room.

Acquisition Information

Given by the family via the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre, Oxford, in 1975. Further papers were received from the Department of Physics, Royal Holloway College.

Other Finding Aids

'Report on the papers of Professor Samuel Tolansky FRS (1907-1973)...' (1975), listed by Jeannine Alton and Harriot Weiskittel for the Historical Manuscripts Commission. There is an index of the principal correspondents.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project and modified by Stefan Dickers (January 2005).

Separated Material

Further material relating to Samuel Tolansky may be found at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Bristol University Library.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.