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, first playing with batteries as a boy, then later obtaining an amateur radio license while still in high school. 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. It was at Stanford that he was first 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. Anderson studied under Nobel Prize winner Felix Bloch, one of the co-inventors of NMR spectroscopy. For his Ph.D. dissertation, he studied the use of NMR to analyze hydrocarbons. From 1954 to 1955, Anderson held a post-doctoral position at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. Once again working under Felix Bloch, he continued to conduct research on NMR and published several papers on the subject.
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. Described in their co-authored paper "Use of Weak Perturbing Radio-Frequency Fields in Nuclear Magnetic Double Resonance" (1962), Anderson's and Freeman's discovery led to a number of innovations in NMR technology.
Also of note was Anderson's work on Fourier Transform NMR. Developed by Anderson and his Varian colleague 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. Ernst continued to develop Fourier Transform NMR on his own after leaving Varian in 1968, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in this area in 1991. 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, including those for "Impulse Resonance Spectrometer Including a Time Averaging Computer and Fourier Analyzer" (1965) and "Ultrasonic Imaging System Using Digital Control" (1981). He was also the author of numerous journal articles and papers.
Weston Anderson Papers, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Weston Anderson Papers contain the personal papers of American physicist and inventor Weston Anderson. The collection is arranged into the following six series:
- Printed Materials
- Audio-Visual Materials
- Photographic Materials
The Weston Anderson Papers were donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) by Weston Anderson in two accessions: December 2007 and March 2016.
The Weston Anderson Papers were processed by Kenton G. Jaehnig in March 2018.
- Science History Institute Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid created and encoded into EAD by Kenton G. Jaehnig.
- Finding Aid Date
- 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 Papers. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.
Arranged numerically by notebook number, this series consists of Weston Anderson's laboratory notebooks. The notebooks in this series mainly document research conducted by Anderson at Varian Associates between 1955 and 1971. Anderson's research on NMR technology is well represented in this series. A small amount of documentation concerning research conducted by Anderson's Varian colleagues Robert H. Pullen, Bernhard L. Fleuselke, and Alfred Prommer is also found here.
The contents of this series consist of seven bound notebooks. A large amount of accompanying materials attached to the notebooks' pages, including, but not limited to, photographs, graphs, blueprints, report pages, and tables, are also found in this series. A small amount of loose accompanying materials, including a patent, a photograph, a letter, and a report are found inside the notebooks as well.
Contains 27 black and white images.
Contains 3 black and white images.
Contains 1 black and white image.
Contains 25 black and white images.
Contains 11 black and white images.
Contains 5 black and white images.
Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series consists of printed materials collected by Weston Anderson. A large majority of the files contain printed materials published by Anderson's longtime employer Varian Associates, which concern the firm's activities and history. A handful of files containing materials concerning and/or created by Weston Anderson himself are also found in this series. A small number of files concerning subjects of personal interest to Anderson and organizations other than Varian Associates are also found here. Three files of materials concerning and/or created by Anderson's Varian colleague Raymond Freeman are preserved in this series as well.
The contents of the Printed Materials series consist of a variety of materials. Publications, articles, newsletters, and brochures are the most common materials found in this series. Small numbers of periodicals, papers, reports, presentation scripts, web page printouts, and tables are also present in this series. A patent list, a product catalog, and a program are preserved here as well.
Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series consists of materials created and/or collected by Weston Anderson that do not readily fit elsewhere in the collection. Five of the files in this series concern Anderson's research activities, mainly on NMR. Two files each concerning Anderson himself and Varian Associates are also found in this series. A single file concerning Anderson's Varian colleague and Nobel Prize winner Richard Ernst is also preserved here.
The contents of the Miscellaneous series consist of a variety of materials. Anderson's research notes concerning NMR are the most common materials found in this series. A small amount of correspondence and Varian interoffice memoranda are also present in this series. Business cards, photocopied articles, and an award application are preserved here as well.
Arranged alphabetically by format and by title, this series consists of audio-visual materials collected by Weston Anderson. The materials in this series mainly contain video footage concerning the history of Varian Associates. Video footage of Anderson and a few of his Varian colleagues, including, not limited to, Martin Packard and Richard Ernst is also preserved here.
Seven VHS videotapes make up a large majority of the materials in this series. Two DVDs are preserved in this series as well.
The contents of this series consist of a single artifact collected by Weston Anderson: a component from an unidentified instrument.
Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series consists of photographic materials collected by Weston Anderson, a very large majority of which were created by Varian Associates. The images in this series primarily document the activities and history of Varian Associates. To a lesser extent, research conducted by Anderson and his Varian colleague Raymond Freeman is also documented here.
Black and white slides and color slides make up a very large majority of the materials in this series. Two black and white photocopied images and a single color photograph are preserved in this series as well.
Note – Item level cataloging may be available, consult Image Archives.
Contains 2 black and white photocopied images.
Contains 1 color image.
Contains 33 black and white slides and 20 color slides.
Contains 33 black and white slides and 29 color slides.
Contains 154 black and white slides and 24 color slides.