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Weston Anderson Collection


Held at: Science History Institute Archives [Contact Us]315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Science History Institute Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Weston Anderson was an American physicist and inventor. Born in Kingsburg, California in 1928, Anderson became interested in science and technology at a young age. He attended Reedley College for two years and transferred to Stanford University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. Anderson remained at Stanford for his graduate studies, earning both his Master of Science degree and Ph. D. (1954) in Physics. At Stanford, he was introduced to Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), a physical phenomenon that later became the basis for a number of scientific and medical instruments, including NMR spectrometers and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners. From 1954 to 1955, Anderson held a post-doctoral position at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1955, Anderson joined the research staff of Varian Associates, an instruments and electronics manufacturer based in Palo Alto, California, where he enjoyed a long and illustrious career. At Varian, he became a recognized pioneer in the development of commercial NMR instruments. During the early 1960s, Anderson and Varian colleague Raymond Freeman discovered that by irradiating a single line of the NMR spectrum with a weak radio-frequency field, all lines with energy levels in common with the irradiated line were split into a doublet. They also discovered that this procedure aided the analysis of complex spectra and molecular structures. Also of note was Anderson's work on Fourier Transform NMR. Developed by Anderson and his Varian colleague (and 1991 Nobel Prize Winner) Richard Ernst during the mid 1960s, Fourier Transform NMR increased the speed of NMR scans by using multiple short radio pulses. This particular development greatly improved the sensitivity and resolution of NMR and made both NMR spectroscopy and MRI practical and commercially feasible. In addition to his work on NMR, Anderson made numerous contributions to the development of other technologies, including ultrasound, computer tomography (CT) scan, vacuum microelectronics, and x-rays. Over the course of his career at Varian Associates, he rose through ranks of the firm's research staff hierarchy, eventually serving as Director of Central Research and Research Center Principal Scientist. Anderson retired from Varian Associates in 1999 but continued to serve the firm as a consultant for many years. Weston Anderson was awarded sixty-four patents over the course of his career. He was also the author of numerous journal articles and papers.

The Weston Anderson Collection contains photocopies of notebooks, one color photograph of Dr. Weston Anderson and Dr. Richard Ernst in Sweden during Nobel Week 1991, and journal articles by Anderson. Additionally, there is a transcript of Weston Anderson's oral history from February 1990 and a list of patents awarded to Anderson. This collection also contained a videotape of Nobel Week, Stockholm Sweden, 1991, which has been digitized and removed to the audiovisual collection.

Selected materials from this collection have been digitized and are available online in our Digital Collections:

Science History Institute Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid created by Andrew Mangravite and encoded into EAD by Jahna Auerbach.
Finding Aid Date
September 2022
Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes and the collection is open to the public.

Use Restrictions

The Science History Institute holds copyright to the Weston Anderson Collection. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Collection Inventory

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