The Foreign Dissertation Collection at CRL contains nearly 800,000 titles, all issued by universities outside of the U.S. and Canada, and is comprised of PhD level dissertations only. The hard copy and microfilm collection occupy more than four miles of shelf space and the microfiche collection of 73,000-plus items fills more than 260 linear feet of drawer space.
The collection holds great historical value due to its breadth and depth. For example, it includes dissertations by 120 scholars who became Nobel laureates, including Albert Einstein, Gustave Hertz, and others. Many of the dissertations are held in only a few overseas libraries. In some cases, such as the dissertation of Werner Arber, 1978 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, CRL holds the only documented copy.
CRL has developed two databases of notable dissertations—one for Nobel laureates and one containing a select group of notable scholars—that have been made accessible through the catalog links below. The dissertations in these databases are circulated in digital form only. The majority of the titles have been scanned; the remaining titles will be scanned upon request. Access to the digital copy for each work is provided through the respective bibliographic record in the CRL catalog. Look for the "e-Resource" link.
LUDWIG KARL VIRCHOW—Notable Scholar Profile
Dissertation title: De Rheumate Praesertim Corneae, Universitate Friderica Guilelma, 1843.
Born in Schivelbein, Pomerania in 1821, Virchow studied and taught Anatomy at Wurzburg from 1849–1856. He joined the University at Berlin as a professor of Anatomic Pathology in 1856. Among his many accomplishments were his "omnis cellula e cellula" theory, which traced the origin of cells. He is credited with founding the medical disciplines of Cellular Pathology, Comparative Pathology, and Social Medicine. He died in 1902 of complications from a hip fracture. A short list of additional achievements:
- First to recognize leukemia
- Contributed to refutation of the concept of spontaneous generation
- Worked with gastrointestinal malignancies and lung cancer
- Denounced theories of the superiority of the European "race"
- Served as a politician and worked to improve health care and sanitary conditions.
NICOLAAS BLOEMBERGEN—Nobel Laureate Profile
Dissertation title: Nuclear Magnetic Relaxation, Rijksuniversiteit de Leiden, 1948
Nicolaas Bloembergen was born at Dordrecht, Netherlands in 1920. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1945 for graduate studies at Harvard University. There he was assigned to work for graduate advisor Edward M. Purcell who, along with graduate students Henry Torrey and Robert Pond, discovered Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Bloembergen subsequently developed the first NMR machine. He won the Nobel prize in Physics in 1981, which he shared with Arthur Schawlow and Kai Siegbahn, awarded for work in laser spectroscopy.
FELIX BLOCH—Nobel Laureate Profile
Dissertation title: Uber die Quantenmechanik de Elektronen in Kristallgittern, Universitat Leipzig, in 1928
Born in Zürich, Switzerland in 1905, Bloch's early studies were in engineering but evolved to physics. Until 1933, he remained in Germany studying with Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, and Enrico Fermi. He left Germany in 1933 and emigrated to the U.S. and Stanford University in 1934. During World War II, Bloch worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory and at Harvard University. After the war, his work centered on nuclear induction and nuclear magnetic resonance, which are the underlying principles of MRI. He and Edward M. Purcell were awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize in Physics.