Jane Mary Dewey (July 11, 1900 – September 19, 1979) was an American physicist.[1]

Early life and education

Jane Mary Dewey was born in Chicago, the daughter (and sixth child) of philosopher John Dewey and educator Alice Chipman Dewey.[1][2] Her parents named her in honor of Jane Addams, an activist, sociologist and reformer; and Mary Rozet Smith, a philanthropist who was Addams' longtime companion.[1]

She was educated at the Ethical Culture School and then the Spence School, after which she attended Barnard College, graduating in 1922. She moved from New York to New England for graduate studies, earning a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1925.[1]


After graduating from MIT, Dewey worked for two years with Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg as a postdoctoral researcher in Copenhagen. She then moved to Princeton University, where she worked with Karl Taylor Compton with support from a National Research Council fellowship. In 1929, she became a faculty member at the University of Rochester, nominally under the geology department but in fact at the university's Institute of Applied Optics.[3]

Dewey left Rochester for Bryn Mawr College, where she became an assistant professor in 1931.[1][3] That year, she was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society,[4] and she soon took on the position of department chair. However, her marriage — to fellow physicist Alston Clark — broke apart, and her health worsened, forcing her to take medical leave. During her absence, Bryn Mawr replaced her with a male physics professor, and Dewey was unemployed until 1940, when she found a part-time instructor position at Hunter College. She moved to industry, taking a wartime job at the United States Rubber Company and then a staff position at the Ballistic Research Laboratory.[3]

Selected publications


  1. ^ a b c d e "Dewey, Jane Mary (1900-1965) · Jane Addams Digital Edition". digital.janeaddams.ramapo.edu. Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  2. ^ "Dewey, Alice Chipman (1858–1927) | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  3. ^ a b c Stroud, Carlos. "Jane Dewey: Pioneer in Quantum Optics" (PDF). The Institute of Optics.
  4. ^ "APS Fellow Archive". American Physical Society. Retrieved 2020-08-19.