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Alois Francis Kovarik papers

Call Number: MS 13

Scope and Contents

The papers of Alois Francis Kovarik (1880-1965), professor of physics at Yale University, include his research notes, lecture notes, notes taken as an undergraduate and one box of materials relating to an article about Bertram B. Boltwood, a colleague whose papers are also housed in the Yale University Library.

Professor Kovarik was among the first scientists to gauge the age of the Earth through the "radioactivity clock method." In 1930, speaking before the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, he gave his estimate of the minimum age of the Earth to be 1,852,000,000 years, based on his study of the disintigration of uranium into lead. He also studied the ionization of gases and Alpha, Beta and Gamma rays. During World War II, he was one of the nuclear scientists assembled for work on the atomic bomb project.


  • 1902-1951


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Alois F. Kovarik in 1956, and of his estate in 1966 and 1970.


The collection is arranged in two series and one addition: I. Papers, 1914-1931. II. Writings, 1902-1947.


7 Linear Feet (15 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Physicist, professor at Yale University. Correspondence, writings, lecture notes and glass slides relating to Kovarik's work on radioactive materials. Included also are biographical materials gathered by Kovarik in connection with an article on Bertram B. Boltwood and papers issued by the Committee on Standards of Radioactivity (1938-1946) of which Kovarik was a member. Prominent among his correspondents are Niels Bohr, Marie S. Curie, Ernest Pollard and Luville T. Steadman.

Biographical / Historical

Physicist; professor of Physics at Yale University, 1915-1948; member of the Manhattan Project during World War II.

Degrees and positions held by Professor Kovarik include: University of Minnesota, B.A. 1904, M.A. 1907, PH.D. 1909; Victoria University Manchester, SC. D. 1916; Yale University, HON. M.A. 1925/Yale University, Assistant Professor of Physics, 1916-1922, Associate Professor, 1922-1925, Professor, 1925-1948, Professor Emeritus, 1948-1965, Fellow Silliman College, 1933-1948, Associate Fellow, 1948-1965; Charles University, Prague, Dr. Rer. Nat. 1932.
Guide to the Alois Francis Kovarik Papers
Under Revision
compiled and editied by Joann Williamson under the supervision of Francis Radvonovsky
September 1969
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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