"The Émigrés in Oxford Physics" One-Day Conference

Saturday 25th February 2017
10.30 am - 5.00 pm
St Cross College, University of Oxford


Throughout the ages, the movement of physicists between countries and across continents has been one of the major factors in the progress and propagation of the subject. Most infamously of all, the enforced emigration of Jewish physicists from Nazi Germany and Central Europe in the 1930s and 1940s led to a number of eminent physicists settling in Oxford. But prior to that, generations of scholars in the natural sciences had travelled across the globe to the major centres of learning including the University of Oxford. Today this continues with the globalisation of the subject in academic, industrial and government worlds and with the establishment of supranational research facilities. This conference will focus on the experiences and achievements of many of these distinguished émigré physicists from the seventeenth century to the present day.

Registration to attend this conference is free.

The programme for the day is below:

MORNING CHAIR: Professor Sir Roger Elliott (University of Oxford)

10.30 am WELCOME

10.40 am Professor Frank Close (University of Oxford) - Oxford's Physics Émigrés in Space and Time [VIDEO]

11.30 am Andrew Robinson (author of "Einstein: A Hundred Years of Relativity") - Waves on the Isis: Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger in Oxford

12.20 pm Dr Graham Farmelo (author of "Churchill's Bomb: A Hidden History of Science, War and Politics") - Lindemann and the Renaissance of Physics in Oxford [VIDEO]


AFTERNOON CHAIR: Professor David Sherrington (University of Oxford)

2.15 pm Professor Tony Hey (University of Southampton) - Two Birds of Passage: Rudolf Peierls and Dick Dalitz in Oxford [VIDEO]

3.05 pm Professor John Wheater (University of Oxford) - Globalisation: The Physics Landscape Today [VIDEO]


4.30 pm SUMMARY OF THE DAY'S PROCEEDINGS - Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith (University of Oxford) [VIDEO]

There will be a conference dinner at St Cross in the evening following the end of the conference with an after-dinner talk by Dr Geoffrey Tyack (Kellogg College, Oxford) on the architecture of the Oxford Physics buildings over the decades. Although the conference itself is free of charge, the dinner carries a cost of £35 to attend - booking a place for dinner can be done here.


Bed and breakfast accommodation in the Oxford colleges can be found here.

A map of the location of St Cross College in the city centre can be found here.

All-day parking in central Oxford is often limited so details of the Oxford Park and Ride are available here.


This event is sponsored by the Faculty of History, University of Oxford and by a grant-in-aid from the Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics.