Lillian E. Hoddeson | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Lillian E. Hoddeson

Historical Note:

Lillian E. Hoddeson (b. 1940), professor emerita (2010-), has held the positions of visiting scientist (1977-79); senior research physicist (1980-2010); visiting associate professor of history (1989-92); associate professor of history (1993-2000); professor of history (2000-2010); and Thomas Siebel Chair in the History of Science (2007-10) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Professor Hoddeson is a pioneering historian of science, specializing in modern physics.

Hoddeson was born in New York City in 1940 to parents Liselotte (nee Bruck) and Jacob Hartmann. She graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1957 before earning a bachelor of arts from Barnard College in 1961. Hoddeson went on to earn a Ph.D. in physics from Columbia University in 1966, with a dissertation in solid-state physics. She served as instructor in physics (Bronx Community College, 1966-67; assistant professor of physics (Barnard College, Columbia University, 1967-70); science teacher (Robert Louis Stevenson High School, NY, NY, 1970-71); and assistant professor of physics (Rutgers University, 1971-76). She later pursued graduate studies at Princeton University in the history of physics, and held a visiting fellow position there from 1974 to 1975. She has also held positions as a visiting scholar at Niels Bohr Institute (Copenhagen, Denmark, 1976); historian at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Batavia, IL, 1978-); visiting historian of science at Nagoya University (Japan, 1979-80); and visiting historian of science at University of California, Santa Barbara (1980).

Hoddeson's research interests in the history of twentieth-century science and technology include modern physics, electronics, atomic weapons, and big science. As a researcher, her work also engages with memory, creativity, and oral history. Over the course of her career, she has authored a number of significant journal articles as well as books, including Out of the Crystal Maze: Chapters from The History of Solid State Physics (1992), Crystal Fire: the Birth of the Information Age (1997), True Genius: the Life and Science of John Bardeen (2002), Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos during the Oppenheimer Years, 1943â??1945 (1993), Fermilab: Physics, the Frontier, and Megascience (2008), Tunnel Visions: The Rise and Fall of the Superconducting Super Collider (2015), and The Man Who Saw Tomorrow: The Life and Inventions of Stanford R. Ovshinsky (2018). She was the 2012 recipient of the Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics from the American Physical Society (APS). Her book Crystal Fire won the 1999 Sally Hacker Prize from the Society for the History of Technology.

Hoddeson was married (1981-92) to UIUC physicist Gordon Baym, and together they had two children, Michael Hartmann Baym and Carol Liselotte Baym.


â??Hoddeson, Lillian,â?, accessed December 16, 2020,

Wikipedia, s.v.,â??Lillian Hoddeson,â? accessed December 16, 2020,,half%20of%20the%2020th%20century.

Andrea Lynn, â??Lillian Hoddeson Named to History of Science Chair at Illinois,â? Illinois News Bureau, August 6, 2007,

â??Lillian Hoddeson,â? â??Contributors,â? Out of the Crystal Maze, by Lillian Hoddeson, Ernst Braun, Jurgen Teichmann and Spencer Weart (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992).

â??Lillian E. Hoddeson,â? Department of History, UIUC, accessed December 16, 2020,

â??Faculty members, academic professionals retire,â? November 18, 2010, Illinois News Bureau,

â??Fermilab Historian Lillian Hoddeson Wins APS Prize,â? Fermilab Today, accessed December 16, 2020,

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