November 7, 1915|
Somerville, New Jersey
|Died||April 22, 2005
|Institutions||San Francisco State University
|Alma mater||Carnegie Tech
|Doctoral advisor||J. Robert Oppenheimer|
SETI, science education American Physical Society,
Babson Prize of the Gravity Foundation,
Early life and education
Morrison grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from its public schools. He earned his B.S. in 1936 at the Carnegie Institute of Technology and in 1940 he earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics at the University of California, Berkeley, under the supervision of J. Robert Oppenheimer.
In 1942 he joined the Manhattan Project as group leader and physicist at the laboratories of the University of Chicago and Los Alamos. He was also an eyewitness to the Trinity test, and helped to transport its plutonium core to the test site. In 1999, writer Jeremy Stone alleged that Morrison had been the Soviet spy Perseus (spy), a charge that Morrison strongly and credibly rebutted.
After surveying the destruction left by the use of the atom bomb in Hiroshima, Morrison became a champion of nuclear nonproliferation. He helped found the Federation of American Scientists, wrote for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and helped to found the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies. He was also a vocal critic of the Strategic Defense Initiative.
Morrison joined the physics faculty at Cornell University in 1946 and would move on to MIT in 1964. In 1959, Morrison and Giuseppe Cocconi published a paper proposing the potential of microwaves in the search for interstellar communications, a component of the modern SETI program.
Morrison was also known for his numerous books and television programs. He was supposedly involved with a 1964 BBC-1 television program called 'The Fabric of the Atom'.  He also provided the narration and script for Powers of Ten (1977). With his wife, Phylis, they turned the same material into a coffee table book in 1982. In 1987, PBS aired his six part miniseries, The Ring of Truth: An Inquiry into How We Know What We Know, which he also hosted. In addition, he was a reviewer of books on science for Scientific American starting in 1965. He also appeared in the science documentary film Target...Earth? (1980).
Morrison was a fellow of the American Physical Society and chairman of the Federation of American Scientists from 1973 to 1976. He was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the International Astronomical Union, the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.
- In 1968 he was invited to deliver the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture on Gulliver's Laws: The Physics of Large and Small.
- Jansky Lectureship before the National Radio Astronomy Observatory
- Morrison, Philip, Kosta Tsipis and Jerome Wiesner (February 1994). "The Future of American Defense". Scientific American 270 (2): 20–27. Bibcode:1994SciAm.270...20P. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0194-20.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Philip Morrison|
- Sartori, Leo; Tsipis, Kosta (March 2006). "Obituary: Philip Morrison". Physics Today 59 (3): 83–85. doi:10.1063/1.2195325.
- S.S. Schweber: In the Shadow of the Bomb. Princeton University Press, 2000. Page 132.
- Irwin Goodwin, "New Book Unmasks Scientist X as Spy, But Facts of Case Tell a Different Story" Physics Today, July 1999, Vol. 52, Issue 7, p. 39
- Cocconi, Giuseppi, and Morrison, Philip; Morrison, Philip (1959, September 19). "Searching for Interstellar Communications". Nature 184 (4690): 844–846. Bibcode:1959Natur.184..844C. doi:10.1038/184844a0. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
- Obituary of Philip Morrison from the MIT News Office
- Article Outlining Morrison's Life and Career
- Interview about the Manhattan Project for the WGBH series, War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
- Online web memorial to Phil and Phylis Morrison
- Annotated bibliography for Philip Morrison from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues
- The Character of Physical Law by Richard Feynman, page 95n.
- Charles and Ray Eames (1977). Powers of Ten (short film). Chicago, Il, USA: IBM.
- Powers of Ten
- Philip and Phylis Morrison (1982, revised 1994). Powers of Ten: A Book About the Relative Size of Things in the Universe and the Effect of Adding another Zero. Scientific American Library. ISBN 978-0-7167-6008-5.
- NYT Review
- Rotten Tomatoes Entry for the DVD set (0 reviews when link posted)