University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Cécile DeWitt-Morette Papers, 1946, 1983-2015

Descriptive Summary

Creator: DeWitt-Morette, Cécile
Title: Cécile DeWitt-Morette Papers
Dates: 1946, 1983-2015
Abstract: The Cécile DeWitt-Morette Papers (1946, 1983-2015) document her work as a mathematical physicist. Materials include notes, computations, published material, draft pages, student dissertations, and correspondence.
Accession No.: 2006-256; 2011-244; 2015-248
Extent: 8 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English and French.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Cécile DeWitt-Morette is a physicist, known for her work in general relativity, mathematical physics, and Feynman path integrals. Born in France, she received her BS from the University of Caen (1943) and PhD from the University of Paris (1947). Realizing that physics in France had been devastated by WWII, she travelled to England, Ireland, Denmark, and the United States to continue her education and begin her career. While at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, from 1948-1950, she met Bryce DeWitt, whom she married in 1949.

Aiming to stimulate the study of physics in France, in 1951 DeWitt-Morette was the driving force behind the creation of l’École d’été de Physique Théoretique (the Summer School of Theoretical Physics), an annual summer program in the village of Les Houches, in the French Alps. The school proved to be a success, and DeWitt-Morette continued to supervise the program until 1972.

After several years as a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley in the early 1950s, DeWitt-Morette moved with her husband to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1956. She and her husband both began as visiting research professors, but although he was eventually promoted to full professor, DeWitt-Morette was demoted to the position of lecturer in 1967 due to nepotism concerns in the department. In 1971, the couple moved to the University of Texas at Austin to accept tenured positions.

Together, the DeWitts led an important expedition to Mauritania in 1973 to test Einstein’s general relativity theory of gravity during a total solar eclipse. DeWitt-Morette published and edited widely and co-authored two books, Analysis, Manifolds, and Physics (1977 and revisions, with Y. Choquet-Bruhat and M. Dillard) and Functional Integration, Action and Symmetries (2006, with P. Cartier).

DeWitt-Morette’s awards include the Prix du Rayonnement Français (1992), the Marcel Grossman Award (with Bryce DeWitt, 2000), election to the European Academy of Sciences (2002), honorary member of the Société Française de Physique (2002), and the rank of Officer in the French Legion of Honor (2011).


DeWitt, Bryce. “Cécile DeWitt-Morette (1922-).” In Out of the Shadows: Contributions of Twentieth-Century Women to Physics, edited by Nina Byers and Gary Williams, 324-333. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Vertical File, “DeWitt-Morette, Cecile M.,” Briscoe Center for American History.

Scope and Contents

The Cécile DeWitt-Morette Papers (1946, 1983-2015) document her work as a mathematical physicist. Materials include notes, computations, published material, draft pages, student dissertations, and correspondence.

The Professional series (1983-2015) consists of two subseries, Functional Integration and Miscellaneous. The Functional Integration subseries (1983-2001) consists of DeWitt-Morette’s research files for the book on functional integration she co-authored with Pierre Cartier. Included are articles and references dealing with related materials, computations by DeWitt-Morette and her students, and preliminary draft pages of sections of the book. The Miscellaneous subseries (2006-2007) includes emails, computations, and other material. Many of the emails relate to the memoirs of Bryce DeWitt that DeWitt-Morette edited after his death.

The Personal series (1946) consists of two items: the ordre de mission authorizing DeWitt-Morette’s travel to Ireland and the United Kingdom, issued by the French National Education Ministry; and an interview transcript of DeWitt-Morette and Bryce DeWitt.

Materials are in English and French

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.


Access Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
DeWitt-Morette, Cécile
Cartier, P. (Pierre)
DeWitt, Bryce S. (Bryce Seligman), 1923-2004
Subjects (Organizations)
École d’été de physique théorique (Les Houches, Haute-Savoie, France)
University of Texas at Austin. Dept. of Physics.
Integration, Functional.
Mathematical physics.

Related Material

Bryce S. DeWitt Papers

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cécile DeWitt-Morette Papers, 1946, 1983-2015, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Elliot Williams, October 2012.

Detailed Description of the Papers



Les Houches
2015-248/1 (SRH-Math) Historical documentation
“Archives,” correspondence, notes for presentation, descriptions of the school, reports, programs, 1950-1958
“Projet d’une école de physique theorique été 1951,” outline of proposed school, 1951
Notes on lectures given at Les Houches, 1952, circa 1952-1959
Materials given to Anne-Sandrine Paumier about the history of Les Houches, includes brochures, correspondence, article, photograph of C. DeWitt-Morette, 1982, 2003-2013, undated
La Recherche, reprint of article about C. DeWitt-Morette, correspondence, September 2001
Letters (in French), June 1951
Past correspondents with summer school, letters of inquiry about the program, 1959-1965
Correspondence, 1964-2008, undated
Correspondence with publishers, documents regarding publishing school proceedings, 1982-2003
Office National des Universités et Ecoles Françaises, correspondence, financial reports, catalogs of schools in France, 1958-1972
Publicity material
Newsletters, 1953-1956
Informational flyers and programs, 1955-1959
2015-248/2 (SRH-Math) Brochure-related material, correspondence, brochures, reports,clipping, mailing lists, photographs (2 folders), 1955-2007
Brochure, list of participants, 1951-1967, 1966-1967
Brochures, circa 1983, circa 1997
“Liste specialisée,” list of instructors and their institutional affiliation, 1961-1962
Programs, 1962, 2004-2008
2015-248/15 (SRH-Math) Posters and broadsides, 1960-2015
2015-248/2 (SRH-Math) School grounds
Correspondence, architectural plans related to changes, 1983-1985
Architectural plans, notes, 1988
Sculpture by Vincent Barré
Information for a sculpture for the school, 1993
Documents related to the installation of the sculpture on the school grounds, 2003-2005
Projet, 2001
School registration materials, 1979
Les Houches and NATO Advanced Study Institutes program, 1979, 1982-1985
NATO-related emails, 1999, 2012
Agendas, 2007-2009
Rapport d’Activité (Activity Report), 1973
2015-248/9 (SRH-Math) Miscellaneous
Emails, course agendas, 2005-2007, undated
Functional Integration
2R776 Note to Briscoe Center from C. DeWitt-Morette re: 2011-244 accession, August 10, 2011
Notes, articles related to book, from binder [1 of 2], 1986-1994
Notes, articles related to book, from binder [2 of 2], 1986-1994
Notes, draft pages, from binder "1993," circa 1993
Research materials [1 of 8], notes and references, 1983-1993, undated
Research materials [2 of 8], notes and computations, 1994-2003, undated
Research materials [3 of 8], references, 1993-1996, undated
2R777 Research materials [4 of 8], computations and references, undated
Research materials [5 of 8], references, undated
Research materials [6 of 8], draft pages, undated
Research materials [7 of 8], notes and memoranda, 1999, undated
Research materials [8 of 8], notes, worksheets, and references, 1992-2001, undated
2015-248/3 (SRH Math) Manuscript notes: Table of contents, Preface, Calculus of variation, Chen’s calculation, 1970s-1992, undated
Notes: Fixed energy; Bryce’s [DeWitt] notes on fixed energy path integration; Lev Rozansky’s notes in Chern-Simons theory; notes that touch on WKB and functional integration (sent to Steve Weinberg), 1993-1997, undated
A7.4 Isham; coherent states; wavelets, 1985, 1993, n.d.
Analysis, Manifolds and Physics, notes, supporting documentation and calculations, 1979, undated
Pin, notes, correspondence, 1990-1999, undated
“One Spin Group. Two Pin Groups,” notes, research documentation, presentation material, undated
2015-248/4 (SRH Math) Twin Paradox
Notes, thank you card, article, 1968, circa 2014
Notes, emails, edited manuscript by Luis Suazo, 2014
Calculations: includes notebooks, loose notes, binder material, articles
(2 folders) Circa 1930-1940
(2 folders) Circa 1940-1950
Circa 1940s-1950s
Circa 1945-1950
2015-248/5 (SRH Math) 1975-1976
2015-248/6 (SRH Math) 1978, 1982
Calculations and article, 1999, undated
Notes from binder, 2001, undated
Loose sheets, undated
Papers by C. DeWitt-Morette:
“On the Production of Mesons by Energetic Nucleon-Nucleon Collisions,” 1945-1948
“On the Production of ∏ Mesons by Energetic Nucleon-Nucleon Collisions,” circa 1945
Handwritten paper or notes, in Danish and English, circa 1945-1949
2015-248/7 (SRH Math) Pierre Cartier “Archives”
Field Theory, published and unpublished papers, 1946-1952, 1993
“Sur Quelques Questions de Physique,” bound text, 1970-1979
Bound lecture notes taken by R. Barre for P. Cartier course: Introduction aux problèmes mathematiques de la Mecanique Quantique,” Strasbourg, 1971
Conference proceedings of “5-Tage-Kurs” of USP Mathematisierung, Consisting of “Stochastic Differential Equations,” by Cécile Dewitt-Morette and K. D. Elworthy, October 1981
“Large and Small: An Essay on the Foundation of Infinitesimal Calculus,” 1984
2015-248/8 (SRH Math) “Dance of the Universe,” exhibit invitation, information, poster, 1987
Papers, review, lectures by Cartier, 1991-2000
“Physics On and Near Caustics,” chapter photocopy, 1997
Marcel Grossman Award, ceremony booklet, 2000
Course and lectures brochures, course material, 2005-2006
2015-248/8 (SRH Math) Institute for Advanced Study: The Institute Letter newsletter – recollections of C. Dewitt-Morette, page 10, spring 2011
Notes taken by students and P. Cartier, undated
2015-248/10 (SRH Math) Graduate Students
Note: the order of the files as received has been maintained per request of C. Dewitt- Morette. They are divided into two groups, as received in the archives.
Group 1
Note to archivist from C. Dewitt-Morette concerning order, 2015
Laidlaw, M. G. G., recommendations for position, 1980-1983
Jacobson, Theodore, (2 folders) dissertation, correspondence, recommendation, 1983-1992
Friedrichsen, James E., bound thesis, 1998
Elworthy, K. D., conference proceedings, 1978
Foong, See Kit, recommendation, lecture, C. V., papers, 1992-2010
Everett, Hugh, bound dissertation (John Wheeler doctoral student), 1957
Bakas, Yannis, letter to C. Dewitt-Morette, notes, 1989, undated
Doering, Charles R., dissertation, 1985
Bell, M. Elizabeth, thisis, letter, C. V., notes, 2002-2005, n.d.
2015-248/11 (SRH Math) Carlip, Steven J., dissertation, C. V., letter of reference, 1987
Berg, Marcus, papers, 1999
Collins, David, dissertation, letters of reference, 1997-2002
Berg, Marcus, thesis, letter of reference, application, 2001, 2004
Low, Stephen
Notes, C. V., letter of recommendation, report, 1983-1985
Dissertation, 1985
Letter of recommendation, 2014
LaChapelle, John I., C. V., paper, letter of reference, 1996
2015-248/12 (SRH Math) LaChapelle, John I., dissertation, 1997
Laidlaw, Michael, dissertation, notes, paper co-written with C. DeWitt-Morette, 1971
Group 2
Koslowski, Tim, thesis, article, notes, 1990, 2000, undated
Zhang, Tian-Rong, dissertation, letter of reference, correspondence, C. V., 1982-1988, undated
2015-248/13 (SRH Math) Young, Alice, dissertation, letters of reference, correspondence, 1983-1985, 2013
Wurm, Alexander, thesis, dissertation, recommendation, article, C. V., notes, 1995-1997, 2008, undated
Wu-Morrow, Xiao-Rong, dissertation, letter of reference, C. V., 1994-1996, 2003
Wesley, Walter, thesis, 1970
Sammelmann, Gary, (2 folders) dissertation, letter of reference, papers, correspondence, notes, 1984-1992, undated
2015-248/14 (SRH Math) Pirani, I.A.E., thesis (gift to C. DeWitt-Morette and Bryce DeWitt from Winnie Schild), 1951
Nelson, Bruce, dissertation (2 folders), 1978
Sheeks, Benny, dissertation, 1980, 2008
Mostafazadeh, Ali, dissertations, C. V. list of publications, 1994, 2007
Marolf, Donald (supervised by Bryce DeWitt), dissertation, 1992
2015-248/9 (SRH-Math) Correspondence
A-B, 1954-2003
C-I, 1948-2010
J-S, 1954-2001
T-Z, 1959-1973
2R777 Miscellaneous professional material [includes emails regarding publications, computations, and other material], 2006-2007
2015-248/9 (SRH-Math) Clifford Centennial program with signatures of participants, for C. DeWitt-Morette, February 20, 1970
Mark Rubin, letter and recommendations, 1991-1992



2R777 Ordre de mission, January 16, 1946
2015-248/9 (SRH-Math) Cécile DeWitt-Morette and Bryce DeWitt 1995 interview transcript, letter, 2000
Emails, 2009, 2014