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Barry Berman papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS2291-UA

Scope and Contents

This collection contains logbooks, notes, proposals, publications/article reprints, memos, and correspondence. Materials date from 1963 to 2010, with the bulk of the material dating between 1966 and 1991. The collection is unprocessed. A preliminary inventory is available. Please see Special Collections staff for assistance.


  • 1963-2010
  • Majority of material found within 1966 - 1991

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Barry Berman (1936-2010), was a Professor of Physics and Columbian Distinguished Professor of the Natural and Mathematical Sciences at the George Washington University. Born in Chicago, Illinois on March 8, 1936, Berman received a B.A. from Harvard in 1957 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in 1959 and 1963, respectively, from the University of Illinois, Urbana in experimental nuclear physics.

He married Ruth Decker in 1964, with whom he had two children, Jill and Jonathan.

From 1963 to 1985, he worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he performed groundbreaking research that set the standard in such fields as channeling radiation and fundamental few-body cross sections. It was for the Experimental Proof of Channeling Radiation that Professor Berman received an award from the Catholic University of America in 1990, and, based on his early experimental work at LLNL, was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1970. He lectured in the Department of Applied Science at the University of California, Davis from 1969 to 1985, and held numerous visiting positions, including guest scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Dr. Berman joined GW’s Physics Department in the fall of 1985 as a Full Professor. At the time, he was already a highly respected and accomplished physicist, having made ground-breaking studies of the atomic nuclei. In 1988 he received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship, and was elected Columbian Distinguished Professor of the Natural and Mathematical Sciences in 1998. He was elected chairman of the Physics Department in 1993, serving six years, and again served in 2007 and 2009 until his passing.

Professor Berman served for two years as a Faculty Senator. He chaired the Senate Committee on Research, and served on that committee for a total of twelve years between 1988 and 2002. Additionally, he chaired the Honors and Academic Convocations Committee from 2002 until 2005.

During his tenure in the Columbian College, Dr. Berman taught several courses at the introductory level, including a popular course on the physics of music. He was an accomplished musician who played and performed on several wind instruments.

He was author or co-author of 244 refereed publications in physics, 430 papers in total. Dr. Berman contributed to a wide range of topics including photonuclear reactions; electron, proton, and pion scattering, especially on few-body nuclei; neutron-induced reactions, nuclear fission, nuclear resonance fluorescence, relativistic heavy-ion reactions and nuclear astrophysics; atomic and solid-state collision and coherent-radiation phenomena, including channeling radiation, transition radiation and coherent bremsstrahlung; applications of nuclear, atomic and radiation physics to problems in lunar geology, radiation shielding, medical diagnostics; and cancer radiotherapy, radiobiology, materials characterization, substance identification, nuclear nonproliferation and radiological and nuclear threat reduction.

He was in his office on the Friday before his death, even with evident physical weakness, enthusiastically meeting his nuclear physics group, and working to the end. He died on July 20, 2010.


4 Linear Feet (4 record cartons)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Materials may be stored off-site, and may require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred by the Department of Physics, March 15, 2010 (2011.021)

Guide to the Barry Berman papers, 1963-2010
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America