Guide to the David B. Nicodemus Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Nicodemus, David Bowman
Title: David B. Nicodemus Papers
Dates: 1945-1989 ( inclusive )
1945-1960 ( bulk )
Quantity: 0.25 cubic feet
Collection Number: Consult repository.
Summary: The Nicodemus Papers pertain to David B. Nicodemus physics research at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Stanford University, and Oregon State College and to his childhood in Japan as the son of missionary parents.
Repository: Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections & Archives Research Center
Contact Information: Special Collections & Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis OR
Telephone: 541-737-2075
Fax: 541-737-8674
Languages: Materials inEnglish. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical Note

Professor David B. Nicodemus was a physicist at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory from 1943 to 1946. He went to Los Alamos from Stanford University with physicists Hans Staub and Felix Bloch. After earning his Ph.D. in 1946 from Stanford University, Nicodemus taught at that institution for four years and continued working with Bloch and Staub on their low energy nuclear program. In 1950, Nicodemus joined Oregon State College's Physics Department. He later served as Acting Dean of Science in 1965-1966 and was Dean of Faculty from 1966 until his retirement in 1986. Dean Nicodemus died in Corvallis, Oregon, on June 19, 1999. The son of missionary parents, Nicodemus was born in Kobe, Japan, and lived in Sendai as a child and youth until he came to the United States in the early 1930s for college.

Content Description

The David B. Nicodemus Papers consist of Nicodemus' Ph.D. dissertation, "The Average X-ray Energy Expended in Forming an Ion pair in Argon"; reprints of publications that he authored or co-authored, 1948-1958; a 1958 manuscript, "Scattering of 14.5 Mev Neutrons by Complex Nuclei" with photographs; the 1949 M.S. thesis of Melvin G. Nielsen, "Neutron Polarization in a Single Iron Crystal", whom Nicodemus advised at Stanford University; correspondence between Nicodemus and other physicists, including Felix Bloch, regarding his research; and a reprint of a 1960 publication by Curtis G. Chezem, one of Nicodemus' Ph.D. students at Oregon State College. The Nicodemus Papers also include a booklet commemorating the 40th anniversary reunion (in 1985) of scientists who worked at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and "The Kingdom of the Lark, A Small Boy's World: 1913-1924" by Richard A. Faust, a boyhood friend of Nicodemus, about growing up in Sendai, Japan.

Use of the Collection

Preferred Citation :  

David B. Nicodemus Papers, Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Custodial History :  

These materials were transferred to the Archives in July 1999 after Nicodemus' death.

Related Materials :  

The Physics Department Records (RG 37) include records of research performed by Nicodemus and his students at Oregon State University. Additional biographical information is available in the Memorabilia Collection.


  • Personal Names :
  • Nicodemus, David Bowman--Correspondence.  ( creator)
  • Corporate Names :
  • Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory.
  • Subject Terms :
  • Americans--Japan.
  • Missions-- Japan.
  • Nuclear physics.
  • Physicists--Correspondence.
  • Physics--Study and teaching (Higher)
  • Titles within the Collection :
  • Kingdom of the lark.
    • Other Creators :
    • Bloch, Felix, 1905-
    • Faust, Richard A.

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