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Karl T. Compton

AKA Karl Taylor Compton

Born: 15-Sep-1887
Birthplace: Wooster, OH
Died: 22-Jun-1954
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Wooster Cemetery, Wooster, OH

Gender: Male
Religion: Presbyterian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist, Administrator
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Bikini Island atomic tests

Military service: Office of Scientific Research and Development (1943-45)

Physicist Karl T. Compton helped develop radar and the atomic bomb, and headed the team that evaluated the efficacy and aftermath of the Bikini Island atomic weapons tests in 1946. He was President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for nearly two decades as it became one of the nation's most respected universities, and he was instrumental in developing the modern concept of governmental and academic cooperation in research. He served as a top scientific advisor to US Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. His brother, physicist Arthur H. Compton, won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1927.

Father: Elias Compton (philosophy professor, b. 8-Aug-1857, d. 2-May-1938)
Mother: Otelia Catheryne Augspurger Compton (b. 6-Feb-1858, d. 15-Dec-1944)
Sister: Mary Elesia Compton Rice (Christian missionary, b. 26-Apr-1889, d. 27-Jun-1961)
Brother: Wilson Martindale Compton (Voice of America executive, b. 15-Oct-1890, d. 7-Mar-1967)
Brother: Arthur Holly Compton (physicist, b. 10-Sep-1892, d. 15-Mar-1962)
Wife: Rowena Rayman Compton (m. Jun-1913, d. 1919, one daughter)
Daughter: Mary Ellen Compton Alderman (b. 1915)
Wife: Margaret Hutchinson Compton (m. 1921, d. 1980, one son, one daughter)
Son: Charles Arthur Compton
Daughter: Jean Compton Boyce

    High School: Wooster High School, Wooster, OH (1904)
    University: BS Philosophy, College of Wooster (1908)
    University: MS Natural Sciences, College of Wooster (1909)
    University: PhD Physics, Princeton University (1912)
    Teacher: Physics, Reed College (1912-15)
    Teacher: Physics, Princeton University (1915-19)
    Professor: Physics, Princeton University (1919-30)
    Administrator: President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1930-49)
    Administrator: President, MIT Corporation (1949-54)

    American Research and Development Co-founder (1946)
    Rumford Prize 1931
    French Legion of Honor 1951
    US State Department Scientific attaché to US Embassy in Paris (1917-18)
    American Chemical Society
    American Philosophical Society
    American Physical Society President (1927)
    American Society for Engineering Education President (1938)
    Brookings Institution Trustee
    Council on Foreign Relations
    Ford Foundation Trustee
    Franklin Institute
    National Academy of Engineering
    National Academy of Sciences
    Optical Society of America
    Rockefeller Foundation Trustee
    Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Trustee
    Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Trustee
    Manhattan Project
    Lunar Crater Crater Compton (named for Karl & Arthur H. Compton)
    English Ancestry

Author of books:
Scientists Face the World of 1942 (1942, nonfiction, with Vannevar Bush and Robert William Trullinger)
A Scientist Speaks (1955, nonfiction)

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