“An Unknown Group In An Unknown Place”

That was the unhelpful label on the back of this photograph I ran across accidentally a few weeks ago. I still don’t know what group this is or either when or where the image was taken, but I can’t help noticing Albert Einstein in the middle of the front row.

Oh, and that’s future Rice president William Houston two over to the left. So if pressed, I’d say it’s a bunch of physicists.

Bonus: Houston always kept a lab while he was president. He could get to it by way of the top of the cloister between Lovett Hall and the Physics Building.

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14 Responses to “An Unknown Group In An Unknown Place”

  1. C Kelly says:

    That’s J. Robert Oppenheimer on the front row far left. Judging by his age, this must have been taken in the 1930s. Didn’t Einstein make a tour of the US in 1931? I think he visited Cal Tech, but maybe this is Berkeley.

    • C Kelly says:

      I just made a quick check and Oppenheimer was at Cal Tech from ’27 to ’28. Einstein made his first visit in ’31. Unless this was a conference there, it must be Berkeley.

  2. almadenmike says:

    Google’s Image Search turned up the same photo — http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/specialcollections/coll/pauling/bond/pictures/1931i.027.html — captioned: “Caltech Department of Physics Faculty and Graduate Students with Einstein as a guest. October 1931.
    Source: Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers. Photographs, 1931i.027”

  3. marmer01 says:

    Interesting. Einstein’s wing collar shirt is EXTREMELY old-fashioned by this period. Interesting to see how men’s fashion is evolving just in this picture.

  4. marmer01 says:

    Robert A. Millikan looks like one bad dude. Wouldn’t want to cross him.

  5. Leoguy says:

    I was going to say it might be my bachelor party, but Al was wearing a difference shirt that weekend (in Vegas).

  6. James says:

    Who is the distinguished looking gentleman on the third row center with the polka dot tie. He appears to be ahead of the times because no one else is wearing a tie like that. Interesting also is there is only one woman in the picture.

  7. C Kelly says:

    I took another close look to see the polka dot tie, and noticed that Einstein’s son Hans is probably 4th from the left in the 2nd row. He was an engineering prof at Cal Berkeley. No telling what kind of symposium this was — maybe just a chance to meet the great man because Einstein was quite a celebrity as he made his US tours. There are numerous news reel clips covering them. I wonder if there may be some film of this meeting.

  8. Karl Focke says:

    This is a picture taken during a physics conference at Cal Tech in 1931. Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Tolman, Robert Millikan, Einstein, and Paul Epstein are all in the front row. My father was a PhD student and is in the third row directly above Einstein. You should be able to find this photo on the Cal Tech archives web site.

  9. My grandfather Jesse DuMond is misidentified in this picture. He is fifth from the left in 2nd row, not fourth. Many pictures show him in a jacket with vest and bow tie as he is here.

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