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University of Texas at Austin

Steven Weinberg:

An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Weinberg, Steven, 1933-2021
Title: Steven Weinberg Papers
Dates: 1933-2021 (bulk 1980-2021)
Extent: 155 document boxes (65.1 linear feet), 1 oversize box (osb), 1 oversize folder (osf), 104 electronic files
Abstract: The papers of American theoretical physicist, professor, and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg consist of research files, notes and calculations, correspondence, typescript drafts (including electronic files), page proofs, lecture notes, lecture slides, royalty statements, and other materials relating to his research, publications, lectures, and teaching.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-54182
Language: English, German, Italian, and Russian
Access: Open for research. Original documents containing personal information, such as social security numbers and educational records, are restricted due to privacy concerns during the lifetime of individuals mentioned in the documents. When possible, redacted photocopies of these materials are provided in place of the original documents. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials. To request access to electronic files, please email Reference.
Use Policies: Ransom Center collections may contain material with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Ransom Center and The University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
Restrictions on Use: Certain restrictions apply to the use of electronic files. Researchers must agree to the Materials Use Policy for Electronic Files before accessing them. Original computer disks and forensic disk images are restricted. Copying electronic files, including screenshots and printouts, is not permitted. Authorization for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Ransom Center's Open Access and Use Policies.


Administrative Information


Preferred Citation: Steven Weinberg Papers (Manuscript Collection MS-54182). Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin.
Acquisition: Gift, 2021 (21-09-012-G)
Processed by: Katherine Mosley, 2023. Born digital materials processed, arranged, and described by Brenna Edwards, 2023
Repository:

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch


Theoretical physicist and professor Steven Weinberg was born on May 3, 1933, in New York, New York, to Eva Israel and Frederick Weinberg. By the age of 15, Weinberg had decided to become a physicist and he entered the Bronx High School of Science, where he became friends with Gerald Feinberg and Sheldon Glashow. After graduating from high school in 1950, Weinberg and Glashow attended Cornell University, earning degrees in 1954. Weinberg then attended the University of Copenhagen's Institute for Theoretical Physics (now the Niels Bohr Institute) and began to do research in physics. He completed his graduate studies at Princeton University, earning his Ph.D. in 1957; his thesis was on the application of renormalization theory to the effects of strong interactions in weak interaction processes.
Weinberg then worked at Columbia University (1957-1959) and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (1959-1960) before joining the faculty of University of California, Berkeley as an assistant professor in 1960, becoming a full professor there in 1964. Weinberg also became a member of the JASON scientific advisory group of government defense consultants in 1960. Weinberg joined the faculty of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1969, and in 1973 he became the Higgins Professor of Physics at Harvard University. He was also a Senior Scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory from 1973 until 1983, at which time he became a Senior Consultant. In 1982, Weinberg joined the physics and astronomy department of The University of Texas at Austin as the Jack S. Josey-Welch Foundation Chair in Science and Regental Professor of Physics, and he founded and was director of the Theory Research Group there.
Focusing on astrophysics in the early 1960s, Weinberg wrote his first book, Gravitation and Cosmology: Principles and Applications of the General Theory of Relativity (1972). During that decade, he worked on current algebra, broken symmetries, and renormalization theory, and in 1967 he proposed the electroweak theory, a unified theory of electromagnetic and weak interactions, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979, shared with Sheldon Glashow and Abdus Salam. Weinberg presented his model—which used the spontaneous symmetry breaking to explain the mass of force carriers, predicted the Higgs boson, and led to development of the full standard mode of elementary particle theory—in his paper "A Model of Leptons" (1967), one of the most cited theoretical papers in high-energy physics. Weinberg wrote hundreds of papers, primarily in the areas of effective field theory, electroweak unification, and symmetry-related topics, as well as seventeen books, including nine for general readers. Among his technical books are those resulting from lectures he developed for the classes he taught, including Cosmology (2008), Foundations of Modern Physics (2021), Lectures on Astrophysics (2019), Lectures on Quantum Mechanics (2012), and three volumes of The Quantum Theory of Fields (1995-2000). His books for popular readers include Dreams of a Final Theory (1993), The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe (1977), and collections of published essays, such as Facing Up: Science and Its Cultural Adversaries (2001) and Lake Views: The World and the Universe (2010). Besides the Nobel Prize, Weinberg was awarded numerous other prizes and honors for his work in elementary particle physics and cosmology, including the National Medal of Science (1991).
Weinberg married law professor Louise Goldwasser on July 6, 1954, and their daughter Elizabeth was born in 1963. Louise Weinberg joined the faculty at the University of Texas School of Law in 1980, and the Weinbergs permanently moved to Austin when Steven Weinberg accepted his position at the University in 1982. In Austin, the Weinbergs were members of the Headliners Club (Weinberg served on the board of governors of the Headliners Foundation from 1994 to 2017), the Philosophical Society of Texas, the Tuesday Club (founding members, 1986), a book group, a poetry group, and other organizations. Steven Weinberg died on July 23, 2021, in Austin, Texas.

Sources:


In addition to material found within the Steven Weinberg Papers, the following sources were used:
"Steven Weinberg". The Royal Society, 2022, https://royalsociety.org/people/steven-weinberg-12503/.
"Steven Weinberg: Biographical". NobelPrize.org, Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023, 2023, https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/1979/weinberg/biographical.

Scope and Contents


The papers of American theoretical physicist, professor, and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg consist of research files, notes and calculations, correspondence, typescript drafts (including electronic files), page proofs, lecture slides, class lecture notes, royalty statements, and other materials relating to his research, publications, lectures, and teaching. The papers date from 1933 to 2021 (bulk 1980-2021), with copies of published versions of works by others dating from 1897, and are arranged in five series: I. Subject Files, 1974-2021; II. Books and Publishing Files, 1963-2021; III. Teaching Files, 1975-2021; IV. Personal Materials, 1933-2021; and V. Louise Weinberg, 1968-2021. The Index of Correspondents in this finding aid contains box and folder locations for all correspondence in the collection. The Index of Manuscript Works by Others contains box and folder locations for all manuscript works by others except for works co-authored by Weinberg, which are described in the Container List.
Series I. Subject Files forms the bulk of the papers, with 124.5 document boxes of files containing preprints, reports, and published versions of journal articles by Weinberg and others; drafts by Weinberg and others; notes; class lecture notes; lecture slides; referee's reports, publication submission information, and correspondence associated with Weinberg's work. The majority of the files reflect Weinberg's interests in particle physics, unification of fundamental interactions, and cosmology. Subject files are related to Weinberg's research, papers, talks, teaching, books, essays, organizations, awards, and general interest topics. Because most of the files date from 1980 on, they represent his later work rather than his early work leading up to his 1967 electroweak theory. Weinberg's file titles have been retained (although acronyms, abbreviations, and symbols have been spelled out) and are indicated by single quotes.
The files have been arranged in alphabetical order by the Ransom Center, but files about the same subject can be scattered throughout the series. For example, the file titled 'Quantum Cosmic Correlation' is filed under the letter Q, but the file titled 'Cosmological Correlations' is filed under the letter C. Most files contain reports, preprints, and published versions of journal articles by other scientists; some of these have markings or annotations by Weinberg, and these are noted in folder descriptions. Enclosure notes or inscriptions written to Weinberg by the author are not noted unless they are extensive, in which case they are included in the Index of Correspondents at the end of this finding aid.
Although Weinberg's early work leading to his electroweak unification theory is not represented, heavily revised typescripts of his four Bampton lectures "On the Art of Science" include discussions of his early discoveries, as do his memoirs (located in Series IV). A file on "The Making of the Standard Model" contains correspondence, typescripts, and other materials relating to Weinberg's historical review at a 2003 CERN symposium as well as his statement about the future. The file on "The Conceptual Basis of the Standard Model" includes a typescript of Weinberg's concluding lecture at a 50th anniversary symposium held at Case Western Reserve University in 2018.
Work at Harvard on properties of the axion in the late 1970s is reflected in a file titled 'Axions' that contains handwritten drafts, typescripts, and correspondence relating to Weinberg's articles "A New Light Boson?" (early title "Instantons Without Axions: Further Comments on the Problem of CP Nonconservation") and the unpublished "A Current-Algebraic Description of the Axion" (co-authored with Michael Peskin), as well as works by others.
In 1979, Weinberg reworked his electroweak unification theory to incorporate renormalization, which led to the development of a theory of quantum gravity, and those topics are represented in the subject files. Weinberg's work from 1980 until his death in 2021 is well represented, including his last published articles, "Massless Particles in Higher Dimensions" and "On the Development of Effective Field Theory". Weinberg's 'Correspondence' files date from 2011 to 2021 and also contain references to and drafts of later works such as "Models of Lepton and Quark Masses".
Some subject files relate to a specific paper published by Weinberg and can include correspondence about its publication or discussions with other physicists. For example, the 'Adiabatic Correspondence' file regarding "Adiabatic Modes in Cosmology" contains pre-publication correspondence about comments and input on Weinberg's work by other scientists, while the "In-In Formalism" file includes correspondence regarding Weinberg's questions about other scientists' work. Correspondence can include enclosures of printouts of LaTeX files of proofs or comments sent as part of the exchange. Correspondence about an article's publication, usually with Physical Review Letters, is often present; for example, the file 'CP and ΔB in Cosmology' holds Weinberg's correspondence about his article "Cosmological Production of Baryons", including his responses to referee's reports and changes made for publication. All correspondence is listed in this guide's Index of Correspondents.
Weinberg usually published solo journal articles but occasionally co-authored works with others, and some subject files relate to those collaborations. For example, the 'Gomis (Joaquim)' files contain Weinberg's correspondence with Gomis as well as typescript drafts of research articles they wrote together. Similarly, the 'D'Hoker (Eric)' file contains not only correspondence, typescripts, notes, and printout data regarding Weinberg and D'Hoker's 1994 article "General Effective Actions", but also referees' reports and correspondence with each other and with Physical Review Letters and Physical Review D about its submission and publication.
Although materials relating to Weinberg's books and teaching are also located in Series II and Series III, subject files often relate to the development of his lecture material in preparation for teaching or publishing. For example, the 'Cosmic Microwave Background Ionizing and Polarization' file includes articles by others and correspondence consulting with others during preparation for Weinberg's PHY 396T Cosmology course. The 'Vafa – Witten Supersymmetry Breaking' file consists of research articles used as references and correspondence with Cumrun Vafa seeking clarification or understanding of topics during the process of writing The Quantum Theory of Fields, Volume II.
Other subject files pertain to Weinberg's essays, talks, projects, and various subjects of interest to Weinberg. For example, Weinberg was involved with the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) particle accelerator, and files relating to that project and its cancellation, as well as to his essays about science funding, "The Crisis of Big Science" (2012) and "The Missions of Astronomy" (2009), and an opinion editorial about funding for 'Manned Space Flight' (2010), are also present. Many files represent Weinberg's interest and writing about the history of science. The state of Israel was also of interest to Weinberg, and a file relates to his 2009 Trinity College debate justifying Israel's actions in Gaza.
Series II. Books and Publishing Files consists of material primarily relating to publication of Weinberg's books, both technical and for general readers, but also regarding proposed books and reprints of his essays. Included are typescripts, page proofs, corrections and updates, advertisements, publishing agreements, royalty statements, reviews, marketing questionnaires, and correspondence, all dating from 1963 to 2021. Because many of Weinberg's books were textbooks that grew out of lecture notes for courses he taught, the files can also include lecture notes, syllabuses, problem sets, and similar class materials. Compilations of published versions of works by Weinberg conclude the series; the numbered articles correlate to Weinberg's lists of his publications that are located in folder 13.8 and 150.10. Additional typescripts and materials relating to Weinberg's books may also be found scattered throughout Weinberg's subject files in Series I and in his teaching files in Series III.
Series III. Teaching Files comprises class lecture notes, problem sets, homework solutions, exams, syllabuses, evaluations, rosters, grade sheets, and handwritten notes dating from 1975 to 2021 and arranged alphabetically by course title. Many of the lecture notes have a table of contents and are numbered by chapters and sections. Additional lecture notes and teaching materials are scattered throughout Weinberg's subject files in Series I and are also located with Series II files for books that were based on the lectures.
Series IV. Personal Materials dates from 1933 to 2021 and includes documents, business cards, membership cards, cultural entertainment ephemera, snapshots and paper copies of photographs, and typescript chronologies and drafts of Weinberg's memoirs, which were written with Louise Weinberg's assistance. Among materials filed with memoirs are the Weinbergs' curricula vitae, a photoduplicate of Weinberg's high school graduation program, correspondence, and a typescript and proofs of Weinberg's 2001 University of Texas commencement speech in which he criticized the lack of legislative funding to make the university a top research institution.
Series V. Louise Weinberg consists of her passport, notes, household receipts, printouts of Steven Weinberg's obituaries, and class materials, all dating from 1968-2021. The class materials include handwritten lecture notes from courses taught by Professor Trautman at Harvard Law School and lecture notes, readings, and syllabuses from her own Admiralty Law teaching at the University of Texas. Correspondence and other materials relating to Louise Weinberg may be found scattered in other series. Business cards, membership cards, her CV, and typescript essays she wrote are located in Series IV, and the published version of her essay "Is It All Right to Read Trollope?" (1993) is located in the 'Rochester 1962' subject file in Series I. Louise Weinberg assisted Steven Weinberg with his memoirs, located in Series IV, and also provided editorial assistance to him on other writings, so her comments and revisions are present on drafts of his works throughout the papers.
An explanation of terms used in the finding aid to describe materials:
  • annotations--marginalia; handwritten notes, usually mathematical notes, calculations, or figures, but can include a citation of where the paper was published or prose notes; located in margins or sometimes on versos
  • correspondence--includes printouts of email
  • lecture notes--class handouts and teaching notes; Weinberg variously called these handouts, class notes, and lecture notes; some served as class textbooks, with later versions being the basis of his published books
  • lecture slides--includes printouts, transparencies, and viewgraphs
  • markings--usually handwritten lines underlining, circling, or otherwise marking particular passages in a text or entries in a list of references; can also be a handwritten "x" or a question mark in a margin
  • notes--usually pages of mathematical notes or calculations
  • preprints—articles or papers not yet published in peer-reviewed journals, sometimes disseminated through an institutional repository or in later years on preprint servers like arXiv; also includes talks, lectures, or conference papers that were later published in conference proceedings or elsewhere
  • published versions--used in lieu of version of record; refers to the peer-reviewed version of a paper that was published in a refereed scholarly journal, either in print or online. Early ones can be the original or photoduplicated printed texts, reprints or offprints, while later ones are usually printouts from electronic journals or electronic platforms
  • reports--technical reports describing and communicating scientific research prior to its publication; distributed internally or wider by an organization (companies, universities, or government laboratories) and usually created using federal funds; reports that were later published are sometimes referred to as preprints
  • review copy typescripts--reviewers' copies of typescripts submitted to a journal; those with review copy stamps on them are included in folder descriptions, but other reports or typescripts have numbers and a date of receipt and are likely also review copies
  • revisions--handwritten corrections or revisions of any extent
  • tearsheets--photoduplicated or original pages removed from periodicals, usually general interest or news articles
  • typescripts--used in lieu of the term working papers; no distinction is made between printouts and typescripts or between photoduplicates and originals except when needed to indicate whether any handwriting present is original or prior to photoduplication
Note on physical processing: Paper clips were replaced with paper sleeves. Staples were removed when they bound together original manuscripts, correspondence, or fragile materials or as needed to prevent damage due to rust or sharp points.

Related Material


The Arno A. Penzias Papers at the Library of Congress contain Steven Weinberg correspondence.
Weinberg-related holdings at The Niels Bohr Library & Archives at the American Institute of Physics include lecture notes from a physics class on Elementary Particles – Weak Interactions taught by Weinberg in March 1959; transcripts and audio recordings of oral history interviews of Weinberg conducted by Alan P. Lightman on 5 and 10 May 1988 (as part of a Cosmology Interview Project series), by Finn Aaserud on 28 June 1991, and by David Zierler on August 20, 2020; a video recording of a conference titled "QFT and QCD: Past, Present, and Future," 18 and 19 March 2005; and similar recordings.

Separated Material


An unlabeled microcassette was transferred to the Ransom Center's Sound Recordings Collection and is cataloged in a separate database.

Index Terms


People

Bahcall, John N.
Bernstein, Jeremy, 1929- .
Deser, S. (Stanley).
D'Hoker, Eric, 1956- .
Dine, Michael.
Duff, M. J.
Fischler, Willy.
Flauger, Raphael.
Georgi, Howard.
Ghirardi, G. C.
Glashow, Sheldon L.
Gomis, Joaquim
Henneaux, Marc.
Holton, Gerald James.
Hooft, G. 't.
Jackiw, Roman W.
Komatsu, Eiichirō.
Matzner, Richard A. (Richard Alfred), 1942- .
Polchinski, Joseph Gerard.
Preskill, John.
Salam, Abdus, 1926-1996.
Silvers, Robert B.
Sokal, Alan D., 1955- .
Susskind, Leonard.
Weinberg, Louise.
Wheeler, John C.
Vafa, Cumrun.
Vilenkin, A. (Alexander).
White, Martin.
Wilczek, Frank.
Witten, E.

Organizations

Cambridge University Press.
Harvard University. Press.
Janklow & Nesbit Associates.
University of Texas at Austin. Department of Physics.

Subjects

Arab-Israeli conflict.
Astrophysics.
Cosmology.
Particles (Nuclear physics).
Physics.
Physicists--United States.
Quantum theory.
Relativity (Physics).
Research--finance.
Science--history.
Science and state--United States.
Standard model (Nuclear physics).

Document Types

Book reviews.
Business cards.
Clippings.
Correspondence.
Electronic records.
Festschriften.
Interviews.
Lecture notes.
Manuscripts.
Membership lists.
Passports.
Royalty statements.
Syllabi.
Textbooks.
Transcripts.
Typescripts.

Container List