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  • 1966-1993

Biographical / Historical

Peierls devotes several pages of his autobiography to Seattle. Of the origins of the connection with the University he writes, 'Of other visits the most significant was a six-month sabbatical in Seattle in 1967. I had already been there for a month in 1962 to attend a summer "workshop", and had come back enchanted with the situation of Seattle, surrounded by water and by mountains, and I was most enthusiastic about the people in the physics department of the University of Washington...When I received the invitation to be a visiting professor in Seattle in 1967. I accepted with delight. The Battelle Distinguished Professorship was supported by the Battelle Memorial Institute, an industrial research organisation that was setting up a new research and conference centre in Seattle and was kindly disposed toward the university. I was the first holder of this chair.' (Bird of Passage, p. 314)

Consequently, as he explains, 'Seattle became a kind of second home, and we returned for a month or two in most of the following years'. On his retirement from Oxford in 1974 he accepted a part-time Professorship for six months in the year until the retiring age (70) of the University of Washington, partly, 'to implement the Oxford injunction to keep out of my successor's hair'. Even after this 'second retirement' in 1977 he continued to make frequent shorter visits and maintained many friendships and research collaborations.

For these reasons the material on Seattle has been treated as a separate section rather than being incorporated into the sequence of shorter visits in section J.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom