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Robert Fox Bacher (August 31, 1905 – November 18, 2004) was an American nuclear physicist and one of the leaders of the Manhattan Project. Born in Loudonville, Ohio, Bacher obtained his undergraduate degree and doctorate from the University of Michigan, writing his 1930 doctoral thesis under the supervision of Samuel Goudsmit on the Zeeman effect of the hyperfine structure of atomic levels. After graduate work at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he accepted a job at Columbia University. In 1935 he accepted an offer from Hans Bethe to work with him at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, It was there that Bacher collaborated with Bethe on his book Nuclear Physics. A: Stationary States of Nuclei (1936), the first of thre

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  • Robert Fox Bacher (August 31, 1905 – November 18, 2004) was an American nuclear physicist and one of the leaders of the Manhattan Project. Born in Loudonville, Ohio, Bacher obtained his undergraduate degree and doctorate from the University of Michigan, writing his 1930 doctoral thesis under the supervision of Samuel Goudsmit on the Zeeman effect of the hyperfine structure of atomic levels. After graduate work at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he accepted a job at Columbia University. In 1935 he accepted an offer from Hans Bethe to work with him at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, It was there that Bacher collaborated with Bethe on his book Nuclear Physics. A: Stationary States of Nuclei (1936), the first of thre
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  • Robert Bacher
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  • Robert Fox Bacher (August 31, 1905 – November 18, 2004) was an American nuclear physicist and one of the leaders of the Manhattan Project. Born in Loudonville, Ohio, Bacher obtained his undergraduate degree and doctorate from the University of Michigan, writing his 1930 doctoral thesis under the supervision of Samuel Goudsmit on the Zeeman effect of the hyperfine structure of atomic levels. After graduate work at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he accepted a job at Columbia University. In 1935 he accepted an offer from Hans Bethe to work with him at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, It was there that Bacher collaborated with Bethe on his book Nuclear Physics. A: Stationary States of Nuclei (1936), the first of three books that would become known as the "Bethe Bible". In December 1940, Bacher joined the Radiation Laboratory at MIT, although he did not immediately cease his research at Cornell into the neutron cross section of cadmium. The Radiation Laboratory was organized into two sections, one for incoming radar signals, and one for outgoing radar signals. Bacher was appointed to handle the incoming signals section. Here he gained valuable experience in administration, coordinating not just the efforts of his scientists, but also those of General Electric and RCA. In 1942, Bacher was approached by Robert Oppenheimer to join the Manhattan Project at its new laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. It was at Bacher's insistence that Los Alamos became a civilian rather than a military laboratory. At Los Alamos, Bacher headed the project's P (Physics) Division, and later its G (Gadget) Division. Bacher worked closely with Oppenheimer, and the two men discussed the project's progress on a daily basis. After the war, Bacher became director of the Laboratory of Nuclear Studies at Cornell. He also served on the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, the civilian agency that replaced the wartime Manhattan Project, and in 1947 he became one of its inaugural commissioners. He left in 1949 to become head Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy at Caltech. He was appointed a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) in 1958. In 1962, he became Caltech's vice president and provost. He stepped down from the post of provost in 1970, and became a professor emeritus in 1976. He died in 2004 at the age of 99.
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