Memories of Professor Charles Kittel
I first came to know about him in my post-graduation when I had studied his book entitled "Introduction to Solid State Physics". This was the time when I read about the book author Charles Kittel and that book become one of my best book of physics. The book language and explanation was very simple and in an easy way. I thought I would meet Prof. Charles Kittel if I get the opportunity but today I had read on the internet that he is no more and I didn't stop my tears. Its really sad news for the scientific community and our society. We all will always remember his legacy in science.
When I wrote an email to him regarding the solutions to his classical text book, I got his reply immediately. I really appreciate his kindness.
A great spirit.
A Great Teacher
His textbooks on solid state physics have inspired so many young students, including myself!
My first interaction with solid State physics
Your Thoughts: I cannot forget the contribution of the great legend Charles Kittle in making me what I am and what I learned about Solid state Physics. My first interaction with solid state physics was in 1994, I always followed the book introduction to solid state physics. the expressions, the concepts was amazing. I always refer to the students that book for developing their ideas about crystallography, lattice interactions, solid state reactions and many more. It's a book to read again and agian and each time to find something new and exciting. Deep condolences for him. May he rest in peace after contributing a great in the solid physics.
I was in Professor Kittel's last class of Thermal Physics in 1977-78. We used a rough manuscript of his second edition text of Thermal Physics, Kittel and Kroemer. The class was both his students and his editors (there were many typos in our Xeroxed copies!).
When I barbecue, I think of what Professor Kittel taught us about heat shields for the NASA space missions. It was one of our homework problems. The shields consisted of multiple layers of metal and dielectric. The hot side toward the earth stayed hot, but the heat didn't transfer to the command module. I always cover my grilled steaks with 3 layers of aluminum foil with paper towels between the layers. Don't let the aluminum touch the layer below or above or you will lose the effect of the heat shield!
He was a great man and a truly humble teacher who wanted his students to learn. I was surprised to see that he stuttered when he spoke but that made the words coming from his mouth that much more valuable and profound.
In the 1940s and 1950s, Charles Kittel consulted for DuPont in Wilmington, DE, where my father was an organic chemist. As a young child, I remember his coming to our house for dinner when he was in town. Fifteen years later, I found myself sitting in his Physics 141 course as a grad student at Berkeley. Maybe I secretly wanted to impress him, but I ended up doing very well in that course. But he saw that I was definitely not theoretical material, and encouraged me towards experimental solid state physics, and I ended up doing my thesis with Paul Richards. My current work collaborating on a cosmology experiment with LBNL has brought me to Berkeley several times in the past few years, but unfortunately I never had a chance to thank him for inspiring me to pursue a discipline which has led to a successful scientific career.
Memories of an inspirational scientist
Your Thoughts: I knew Charles Kittel though his textbooks and research papers. As an undergraduate at Imperial I spent many hours pouring over 'Introduction to Solid State Physics'. His style of writing made the subject much more approachable than might otherwise have been. Through my PhD and my research career Kittel's work has been a constant reference for me. I was lucky to meet him once, when we had a special session at the Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, 'Fifty Years Since Kittel's Magnetic Domain Model'. I was delighted that Charles come along. What a true gentleman and inspiring scientist.
Physics 112 Spring 1968
From Dr. Kittel's notes (pre-first edition of Thermal Physics, 1969) and the richness of his lectures on quantum energy and particles, the seeds of my lifelong passion for astrophysics and physics germinated. He stimulated my imagination and set me on a path to think systems. From after class discussions and before class questions, his affinity for describing nature differently from others broadened my perspective and opened my eyes to a fuller meaning of our universe. Thank You again, Dr. Kittel.
Teaching Physics, Solid State Physics, Nano Materials, Writing Books
I was a graduate student in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley from Fall of 1974 until graduation in 1978. I took his world famous "Solid State Physics" courses. Additionally, he was one of my thesis examiners. What a lucky guy I turned out to be. His text book, its clarity of content, thoroughness added to his teaching style gave me encouragement to write a book published by Elsevier. Thanks Professor.
~Dr Sudhangshu Bose