Ref NoDM1310
Alt Ref NoDM1837
TitleSir (Frederick) Charles Frank Papers, 1905-1988
DescriptionThis description is based on the original paper catalogue prepared for the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists (NCUACS): ‘Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Sir (Frederick) Charles Frank Kt, OBE, FRS (1911-1998)’ compiled by Timothy E. Powell and Peter Harper (NCUACS catalogue no. 15/8/89, 287pp). A pdf of the catalogue is attached, (in sections) below. See notes on Related Material for other deposits of Sir Charles Frank’s papers.

Charles Frank was born in Durban, South Africa, in 1911, although the family returned to England very shortly afterwards. He was educated at Thetford Grammar School and Ipswich School and in 1929 entered Lincoln College, Oxford to read chemistry, graduating with a BA, first class honours, in 1932, and receiving his BSc a year later. Frank did DPhil. research on dielectric loss in organic materials at the Oxford Engineering Science Laboratory and then continued his study of dielectric loss at Berlin-Dahlem under P Debye, 1936-1938. On his return to England Frank worked with EK Rideal in the Colloid Science Laboratory, University of Cambridge, but his research there was cut short by the outbreak of war: in June 1940 he joined the Chemical Defence Experimental Station, Porton Down, Wiltshire. In November 1940, Frank was transferred to the Air Ministry's Assistant Directorate of Intelligence (Science) at the request of its Assistant Director, and Frank's friend from Oxford, RV Jones. He spent the rest of the war with the Air Ministry. In 1946 Frank took a post in the University of Bristol Physics Department for research in solid state physics. Through sharing a room with WK Burton and N Cabrera, however, Frank switched to research on crystal dislocation, and his work with Burton and Cabrera was to demonstrate the role dislocations played in the growth of crystals. Apart from crystal defects Frank's wide-ranging research interests at Bristol included the mechanical properties of polymers, the theory of liquid crystals and the mechanics of the interior of the Earth. Frank was appointed Reader in 1951, Melville Wills Professor in 1954 and Henry Overton Wills Professor and Director of the HH Wills Physics Laboratory in 1969. Frank continued his research after formal retirement in 1976. He was elected FRS in 1954 (Bakerian Lecture 1973, Royal Medal 1979) and was knighted in 1977. In 1994 he was awarded the Royal Society's Copley Medal in recognition of his fundamental contribution to the theory of crystal morphology. He died on 5 April 1998. These papers were the gift of Sir Charles Frank's widow, Lady Maia Maita Frank (nee Asche); they were married in 1940, and Lady Frank died on 6 April 2009.

The papers cover almost all aspects of Frank's professional career. His research is documented from the early 1930s and the material covers a wide range of his scientific interests, including dielectric loss, crystal dislocations, properties of polymers, liquid crystals and geophysics. Wartime research is also represented, particularly work on rockets. There are notes, drafts and correspondence relating to Frank's published work, 1935-1988, records of visits and conferences, 1939-1987, and of the University of Bristol Physics Department, 1946-1986. A particular feature of the papers is their documentation of Frank's association with a large number of British, overseas and international organisations, including the Faraday Society, the Institute of Physics, the International Organisation of Crystal Growth, the Pugwash movement, the Royal Society and the Science Research Council. Also represented are local Bristol institutions, including Badminton School, Bristol Municipal Charities, and Queen Elizabeth's Hospital School. There is considerable material relating to Frank's extensive consultancy work for commercial organisations. The best documented is Frank's work for De Beers, for whom he served on the Diamond Research Committee, which oversaw De Beers-funded diamond research in UK universities and which organised the Diamond Research Conferences. There are also records of consultancy work for British Rail, the US General Electric Company and IBM. Finally, there is a substantial scientific correspondence with friends, colleagues and former students, including N Cabrera, JD Eshelby, RV Jones and FRN Nabarro.

List of Contents
DM1310/A: Section A: Biographical
DM1310/B: Section B: University of Bristol
DM1310/C: Section C: Research
DM1310/D: Section D: Publications
DM1310/E: Section E: Lectures and Broadcasts
DM1310/F: Section F: Societies and Organisations
DM1310/G: Section G: Consultancies
DM1310/H: Section H: Visits and Conferences
DM1310/J: Section J: Correspondence
DM1310/K: Section K: References and Appointments
DM1310/L: Section L: Index of Correspondence

For further information on the life and career of Frank see FRN Nabarro and JF Nye, 'Sir (Frederick) Charles Frank, OBE 6 March 1911-5 April 1998', Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 46 (2000), 177-196. A copy of this is available online at the Royal Society Publishing website:

See also: DM1339 (1 box); DM1837 (65 archive boxes); DM2107 (1 envelope) and DM2184 (2 boxes).

Access Points (Library of Congress Subject Headings): Frank, Sir Frederick Charles (1911-1998) Knight, Physicist; Cabrera,Nicholas. (fl 1940s-1980s) Physicist;
Eshelby, John Douglas. (1916-1981) Materials scientist; Jones,Reginald Victor. (1911-1997) Scientist; Nabarro,Frank Reginald Nunes. (1916-2006) Physicist; University of Bristol--Department of Physics; Institute of Physics; International Organisation of Crystal Growth; Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs;
Royal Society; Badminton School--Bristol; Queen Elizabeth's Hospital--Bristol; De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd; Rockets (Aeronautics); Crystal growth; Geophysics
Diamonds--Research; Physics
Related MaterialPapers of a Diamond conference, 1 box, DM1339; DM1837 (65 archive boxes); DM2107 and DM2184.
Extent84 archive boxes













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