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Professor of Physics, Emeritus
Name: Anthony P. French
Title(s): Professor of Physics, Emeritus
Area of Physics:
Anthony P. French was born in Brighton, England, in 1920. He attended Cambridge University, receiving a B.A. (Physics) in 1942 and a Ph.D. (Nuclear Physics) in 1948. In 1942 he joined the British atomic bomb project (Tube Alloys) at the Cavendish Laboratory and was sent to Los Alamos in 1944 as a member of the British Mission. He returned to the U.K. in 1946, worked for two years at the new Atomic Energy Research Establishment, and then became a faculty member at Cambridge University for seven years, doing nuclear research at the Cavendish Lab. He was also a Fellow and Director of Studies in Natural Sciences at Pembroke College, Cambridge.
In 1955 he emigrated to the U.S. to join the University of South Carolina, where he served as Physics department head. Since 1962 he has been at MIT, engaged chiefly in undergraduate teaching and the development of physics curricula and teaching materials, especially the MIT Introductory Physics series of textbooks. He also edited Einstein: A Centenary Volume (1979) and co-edited Niels Bohr: A Centenary Volume (1985).
From 1975 to 1981 he served as chairman of the Commission on Physics Education of The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, and in 1985–86 was President of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). He is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society. For his work in Physics Education, he has received the University Medal of the Charles University, Prague (1980), the Bragg Medal of the Institute of Physics, London (1988), the Oersted Medal of AAPT (1989), and the Melba Newell Phillips Award of AAPT (1993). He has been Professor Emeritus at MIT since 1991.