Francis Sears

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Francis Weston Sears
Born(1898-10-01)October 1, 1898
DiedNovember 12, 1975(1975-11-12) (aged 77)
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Known forUniversity teaching of physics and co-author of a classic textbook of university physics; Debye-Sears effect in acousto-optics
Spouse(s)Mildred Cornwall
Scientific career
InstitutionsMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Dartmouth College

Francis Weston Sears (October 1, 1898 – November 12, 1975) was an American physicist.[1] He was a professor of physics at MIT for 35 years before moving to Dartmouth College in 1956 [2] and is best known for co-authoring University Physics, an introductory physics textbook, with Mark Zemansky. The book, first published in 1949, is often referred to as "Sears and Zemansky", although Hugh Young became a coauthor in 1973.

In 1932 he collaborated with Peter Debye in the discovery of what is now called the Debye-Sears effect, the diffraction of light by ultrasonic waves.[3][4]

Sears was a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, and was active in the American Association of Physics Teachers, serving as its president in 1956.


  • 1961 — Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers


  • Sears, Francis; Mark Zemansky; et al. (1991). College Physics (7th ed.). Addison Wesley.
  • Sears, Francis (1958). Mechanics, Wave Motion, and Heat (1st ed.). Addison Wesley.
  • Sears, Francis W. (1935). An Introduction to Optics. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
  • Francis W. Sears (1975). Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory, and Statistical Thermodynamics. Addison Wesley. ISBN 020106894X.
  • Sears, Francis W. (1950). An Introduction to Thermodynamics, the Kinetic Theory of Gases and Statistical Mechanics. Addison Wesley.
  • Sears, Francis W. (1950). Mechanics, heat and sound. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Addison Wesley.
  • Sears, Francis W. (1946). Electricity and Magnetism. Reading, Massachusetts. Addison-Wesley

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zemansky, Mark W. (February 1976). "Francis W. Sears". Physics Today. 29 (2): 65. Bibcode:1976PhT....29b..65Z. doi:10.1063/1.3023329. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28.
  2. ^ "Biographical notes", Journal of the Optical Society of America, 66(12): 1446
  3. ^ Descendants of Richard Sears - Eighth Generation
  4. ^ Debye-Sears ultrasonic cell