History of Contemporary Science & Technology

Situated among San Diego’s thriving biological and hi-tech industries on the Torrey Pines mesa, the UC San Diego Library is in a unique position to document these communities and create an important resource for scholarly study in the history of contemporary science and technology.  Such documentation also reflects the social and civic history of San Diego and the state of California. 

The UC San Diego Library has long collected the personal papers and archives of the area’s renowned scientific community.  The papers of biologists Jonas Salk and Leslie Orgel, physicist Leo Szilard, marine scientists Roger Revelle and Walter Munk, chemists James Arnold and Stanley Miller, and Nobel Prize winners Francis Crick, Roger Tsien, Harold Urey, and Maria Goeppert Mayer, for example, create a rich resource for today’s students and future generations of scholarship.

The Library also collects the papers of prominent regional corporate leaders who have applied scientific principles to the solution of big problems.  Most prominent among these holdings is the archival collection of J. Robert Beyster, the founder of SAIC and the visionary who grew it into a top scientific and technology contractor, solving problems in communications, logistics, information technology, and a myriad of other areas. Beyster’s commitment to employee ownership and entrepreneurial excellence is richly documented in the records of the Foundation for Enterprise Development.

Another unique feature of the HCST Collection is the San Diego Technology Archive, a collection of oral interviews conducted with individuals who were critical to the formation and evolution of the companies that form the San Diego region’s high-tech clusters. The SDTA features “genealogy charts” of the companies in various technology sectors, and the linkages among those companies and staff.