Raymond Seeger

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Raymond Seeger

Legacy Faculty, 1930-47


Ray Seeger joined the GW Physics Department in 1930. For the next twelve years, before the second world war, while carrying a full teaching responsibility, he published results of his research work with Edward Teller on topics in quantum solid-state physics. During the war, he worked at the Naval Bureau of Ordinance with John von Neumann and John G. Kirkwood on shock waves and fluid dynamics. (Albert Einstein was a consultant for the Bureau at the same time.) Ray recommended acquisition by the Navy of one of the first computers to be used for experimental mathematics and fluid mechanics.

He subsequently became a noted lecturer, organizer, administrator, and author in physics and philosophy.

He published over 200 articles as well as seven books:

  • "Our Physical Heritage,"1938
  • "Research Frontiers in Fluid Dynamics," (coeditor) 1965
  • "Galileo Galilei " 1966
  • "Ernst Mach: Physicist and Philosopher," (coeditor) 1970
  • "Benjamin Franklin: New World Physicist," 1973
  • "Josiah Willard Gibbs: American Mathematical Physicist par excellence," 1974
  • "Philosophical Foundations of Science," (coeditor) 1974
  • "Companions in Zealous Research," unpublished. 1976


  • 1906: Born, Elizabeth, New Jersey, September 20
  • 1926: Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers, B.A. in Physics
  • 1929: Doctorate in theoretical physics (under Leigh Page and R. Bruce Lindsay), Yale University (Honorary D.Sc. degrees from Kent State University and the University of Dubuque.)
  • 1929-1930: Assoc. Prof. and Head, Physics, Presbyterian College, South Carolina
  • 1930-1942: Asst. and Assoc. Prof. of Physics, The George Washington University
  • 1935-1942: Collaborated with Edward Teller in applications of quantum mechanics
  • 1942-1946: On war leave, worked at the Naval Bureau of Ordnance on the description of high explosives. He worked with John von Neumann and John G. Kirkwood on shock-wave phenomena and fluid dynamics. He received the Distinguished Civilian Service Award from the U.S. Navy.
  • 1946-1947: Professorial Lecturer, Physics, The George Washington University
  • 1947-1952: Chief, Mechanics Division, Chief, Aeroballistic Research Department, Naval Ordinance Laboratory, White Oak,
  • 1947-1948: Lecturer, Aeronautical Engineering, The John Hopkins University
  • 1949-1952: Organizer and First Director, Fluid Dynamics and Applied Mechanics Institute, University of Maryland
  • 1952-1970: Special Assistant to the Director, Deputy Assistant Director for the Mathematical, Physical, and Engineering Sciences, and Executive Secretary, National Science Board Committee on Physical Sciences Report, National Science Foundation
  • 1954-1972: Adjunct Professor and Director of the Summer Institute on the History and Philosophy of Science, the American University
  • 1960-1961: Summer Lecture, Education, the Catholic University of America
  • 1961-1962: Visiting scholar, Oxford University
  • 1972-1992: Invited speaker and author
  • 1992: Died, Bethesda, Maryland, February 14