Oral Histories

Interview of David S. Saxon (1994)

UCLA professor of physics and president of the University of California.
University of California President
UCLA and University of California History
UCLA Administration
UCLA Faculty
Mink, James V. and Treleven, Dale E.
Saxon, David S.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Father migrates to the United States from eastern Europe; childhood and early education in Philadelphia; interest in science and mathematics; undergraduate and graduate work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); conducts research in the MIT Radiation Laboratory; Julian S. Schwinger; Alfredo Baños Jr.; America's wartime research strategy versus Germany's; radar research; accepts a position in the physics department at UCLA; strategy for building up the physics department; students at UCLA compared to students at MIT; refuses to sign loyalty oath and is denied employment at the university; decides not to work at Los Alamos National Laboratory; teaches at the University of Southern California; the loyalty oath is declared unconstitutional; returns to UCLA as an associate professor; the cost of the loyalty oath to UCLA; systematizing graduate student requirements; the closing of the Institute of Numerical Analysis; becomes chair of the physics department; Franklin D. Murphy; Charles E. Young; love of teaching; updates the physics curriculum; serves in the Academic Senate; the American Association of University Professors; tenure and recruitment policies; the planning and construction of Kinsey Hall; research on electromagnetic waves; develops the optical model of the nucleus; becomes dean of the Division of Physical Sciences; becomes vice-chancellor; Foster H. Sherwood; the rise of the professional schools; student unrest in the 1960s; impatience with student protestors; writes Elementary Quantum Mechanics; decision to call the Los Angeles Police Department to quell the May 5, 1970, campus disturbances; attempts to improve the quality of the faculty; shift from the semester to the quarter system; the university's responsibility to encourage minority participation and the development of the ethnic studies centers; coping with budget cuts; becomes provost of the University of California (UC); becomes president of the university; relations with the University of California Board of Regents; Berkeley-UCLA rivalry; institutes a centralized library acquisitions policy; decentralizes campus computing systems; the University of California's relationship with the state government in Sacramento; Charles J. Hitch; Donald C. Swain; Dorothy E. Everett and Beverly R. Liss; reorganizes University Hall; Lowell J. Paige; Baldwin G. Lamson; effect of Proposition 4 (1974) on the structure of the board of regents; Governor Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown; the Political Reform Act of 1974; Proposition 13 (1978);