AUTHORMyers, Peter Briggs / Sengers, Johanna M. H. Levelt
CHAPTER TITLELyman James Briggs
BOOK EDITORNational Academy of Sciences, Ed.
BOOK TITLEBiographical Memoirs, Vol. 77
PUBLISHERNational Academy Press
CITYWashington, D.C.
Web Access
Available online from National Academy of Sciences

This brief biography of the prolific scientist Lyman James Briggs, written by his grandson, summarizes the important contributions that Briggs made to science and the U.S. government as the director of the U.S. National Bureau of Standards (NBS). Briggs's scientific work included soil and plant research, atomic physics, navigation, aerodynamics, and the instrumentation of stratospheric balloons. He also chaired the top-secret Uranium Committee at U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s behest in 1939, which later evolved into the Manhattan Project. The biography includes: a personal history excerpted from Briggs's own writings when he was 78; a professional history that encompasses his studies, his work as a physicist, his managerial positions in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the NBS; a summary of his later years, in which the author combines information concerning Briggs’s retirement research as well as family anecdotes. The article also contains a list of the multiple honors and distinctions bestowed upon Briggs throughout his career.

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