Submitted Successfully!
To reward your contribution, here is a gift for you: A free trial for our video production service.
Thank you for your contribution! You can also upload a video entry or images related to this topic.
Version Summary Created by Modification Content Size Created at Operation
1 handwiki -- 542 2022-12-08 06:15:09

Video Upload Options

Do you have a full video?


Are you sure to Delete?
If you have any further questions, please contact Encyclopedia Editorial Office.
HandWiki. William Allis. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 20 June 2024).
HandWiki. William Allis. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 20, 2024.
HandWiki. "William Allis" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 20, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, December 08). William Allis. In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "William Allis." Encyclopedia. Web. 08 December, 2022.
William Allis
electrical discharges allis-chalmers menton

1. Introduction

William Phelps Allis (November 15, 1901 in Menton, France – March 5, 1999 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) was an American theoretical physicist specializing in electrical discharges in gases.[1] He was the grandson of Edward P. Allis,[2] founder of the E.P. Allis Company, which became Allis-Chalmers.

2. Education

Allis majored in school and received his S.B. in 1923 and S.M. in 1924 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was granted his Docteur ès science (Sc.D.) in physics, in 1925, from the University of Nancy, France . From 1925 to 1929, he was a research associate at MIT. It was there that he met Philip M. Morse. Morse, at the suggestion of Karl T. Compton, made arrangements for postdoctoral studies and research with Arnold Sommerfeld at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich in 1930 and at the University of Cambridge in the spring and summer of 1931. Allis went with Morse to Munich and Cambridge.[2][3][4]

3. Career

Upon his return from Europe, Allis was an instructor in physics at MIT from 1931 to 1934. He joined MIT’s physics department faculty in 1934 and was appointed full professor in 1950, a position he held until he became professor emeritus in 1967.[3]

During World War II he worked at the MIT Radiation Laboratory conducting research on magnetron theory. He then joined the United States Army where he served in the Liaison Office of the Naval Defense Research Committee. He also participated in Operation Alsos. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and was awarded the Legion of Merit in 1945.[3][4][5]

Allis was one of co-founders of the American Physical Society’s Gaseous Electronics Conference, for which he served as chairman from 1949 to 1962. On leave from MIT for two years, 1962–1964, he served as assistant secretary-general for scientific affairs for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).[3][4]

Allis directed Project Ashby, which was to determine the feasibility of building a nuclear fusion engine.[4]

4. Honors

  • 1945 – Awarded the Legion of Merit by the United States Army.[3]
  • 1951 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[6] also Vice President[3]
  • Elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society[3]

5. Books

  • William P. Allis Motions of ions and electrons [MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics. Technical report.] (MIT, 1951)
  • William P. Allis Electron density distribution in a high frequency discharge in the presence of plasma resonance [MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics. Technical report.] (MIT, 1951)
  • William P. Allis High-frequency electrical breakdown of gases [MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics. Technical report] (MIT, 1952)
  • William P. Allis and Melvin A. Herlin Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (McGraw Hill, 1952)
  • W. P. Allis, "Motions of Ions and Electrons" in S. Flugge, editor "Handbuch der Physik" (Springer-Verlag, 1956, Berlin)
  • William P. Allis, editor Nuclear Fusion. (The Second Geneva Series on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy) (Van Nostrand, 1960)
  • William P. Allis, Solomon J. Buchsbaum and Abraham Bers Waves in Anisotropic Plasmas MIT Press, 1962
  • Sanborn C. Brown, editor Electrons, Ions, and Waves: Selected Works of William Phelps Allis (MIT, 1967)
  • George Bekefi Principles of Laser Plasmas (John Wiley, 1976). Contribution by William P. Allis: The Application of Electron Upflux to the Calculation of Excitation Frequencies in Glow Discharges pp235–256.
Further Reading
In this part, we encourage you to list the link of papers wrote by the character, or published reviews/articles about his/her academic contributions. Edit


  1. Bers, Abraham; Haus, Hermann A. (October 1999). "Obituary: William Phelps Allis". Physics Today 52 (10): 106. doi:10.1063/1.882876. Bibcode: 1999PhT....52j.106B. 
  2. Morse, 1967 p. 100
  3. William Allis – MIT News Office
  4. William Allis – American Institute of Physics!12!0&profile=newcustom-icos#focus
  5. Boris T. Pash The Alsos Mission 249 (Award, 1969)
  6. "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
Name: William Allis
Born: Nov 1901
Died: Mar 1999
Menton, France
Title: Theoretical physicist
Affiliation: MIT
Honor: Unknown
Subjects: Others
Contributor MDPI registered users' name will be linked to their SciProfiles pages. To register with us, please refer to :
View Times: 475
Entry Collection: HandWiki
Revision: 1 time (View History)
Update Date: 08 Dec 2022
Video Production Service