Charles P. Slichter '45 is a physics professor first, a Harvard Fellow second. A man dedicated to his profession, his perspective on Corporation matters reflects his academic orientation.
"Most of all I like to be a professor of physics. Most administrative jobs require that you quit the primary job of being a professor. The Corporation job lets me do both."
Slichter, the most recent appointee to the Corporation, does not view his position as a powerful one, although he says that one of the reasons he took the job was that, "Whether for good or for bad, what Harvard does often influences other places."
One of the other places Slichter is concerned about is the University of Illinois at Urbana, where he has taught physics since 1949, after receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard.
Since '49, most of his activities have been related to his field--conducting research in solid-state physics, serving as Morris Loeb lecturer on Physics in 1961, writing his "Principles of Magnetic Resonance," working on department funding and policy, consulting for United Aircraft and various federal agencies, serving on the President's Science Advisory Committee and participating in the activities of several scientific and academic organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, to which he was elected in 1967.
Slichter feels he was chosen to serve on the Corporation because of his knowledge of government funding and of the problems which exist in the natural science fields. "It's useful to have some people who have had some practical experience on the inside."
Slichter is the prototypical physics professor--which means he is far from the worldly business and law types of the Corporation. A Midwesterner, he seems slightly embarrassed when he is asked to talk about himself. When asked about his politics he insisted that Corporation business had nothing to do with politics and that if he had to characterize himself it would be as "fair-minded, intelligent and hard-working," an assessment which other members share.