John Clark Slater (1900-1976)
Oak Park, Illinois
|Alma mater||Rochester |
|Academic advisor||Percy Williams Bridgman|
|Notable students||William Shockley|
|Known for||Slater-type orbitals|
John Clark Slater (1900-1976) was a noted American physicist and theoretical chemist.
Slater studied at the University of Rochester, earning his B.S. in 1920. He went on to receive his Ph. D. in physics from Harvard University in 1923, then went on to study at Cambridge University and again at Harvard. In 1924, he collaborated with Niels Bohr and Hendrik Kramers on the BKS (Bohr, Kramers, Slater) theory which served as the impetus for Werner Heisenberg's full quantum theory. He served from 1930 to 1966 as a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then went to the University of Florida where he served from 1966 to 1976 as research professor in physics and chemistry. Slater is recognized for calculating functions which describe atomic orbitals. The functions became known as Slater-type orbitals (STOs).
Prof. Slater can be credited for discouraging Richard Feynman from attending graduate school at MIT, suggesting that he apply elsewhere "for his own good." Despite Feynman's talents as a scientist, he had to contend with institutional anti-semitism when he was applying to graduate school; Slater's recommendations were vital for Feynman's acceptance into Princeton.
One of his doctoral students, William Shockley, was a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in solid state physics.
Slater's papers were bequeathed to the American Philosophical Society by his widow, Rose Mooney Slater, in 1980 and 1982. In August 2003, Alfred Switendick donated a collection of Quarterly Reports of the MIT Solid State and Molecular Theory Group, dating from 1951 to 1970.