Oral History Transcript — Dr. Phillip Mange
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Phillip Mange; March 25, 2003
ABSTRACT: Work in IGY Brussels office (1955-1957); then Washington DC IGY (U.S. National Committee) office. Barcelona conference and Lloyd Berkner (1956); National Academy of Science, program officer (1957-1959); Hugh Odishaw; scientific meetings in Moscow (1958), Leningrad (1970); International Geophysical Year; Fred Singer; Naval Research Laboratory (1959-1993); working with Herb Friedman; UV observation program; Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI); significant publications; political and religious beliefs.
Session I | Session II
Doel:This is Ron Doel. Fae Korsmo is with me and we’re doing a continuing interview with Phil Mange. It is the 24th of March, 2003. We are recording this interview in wild and wonderful Wheaton, Maryland.
Mange:Except that I believe it’s the 25th.
Korsmo:It’s the 25th, yeah.
Doel:I stand corrected. I’m a day behind.
Korsmo:That’s right. Okay, Phil, last time I think we ended with you in Brussels and we’d like to pick up there back in Brussels. And you were in Brussels, was it 1955 to ‘57? Is that right?
Mange:Arrived in Brussels in June of 1955 and I left in June of 1957.
Korsmo:Okay. I know in some of your writings you have talked about the Barcelona conference in 1956.
Korsmo:I wonder if you might comment on it, because I guess there was an attempt by the political people to exert some control.
Mange:Yes. Just a moment. In the material you sent me there is a comment, and I would like you to—I will relate that to another comment. Just a moment.
Korsmo:Is it here?
Mange:Yes — At the end of the comments on [Lloyd V.] Berkner’s book, the book about Berkner,  I wrote the following in the last paragraph: “The strains in the ACIGY session” — and that as at the Barcelona conference — “blew decorum aside and there was wild discussion involving who would speak for, or represent, the various parties.” Finally, Nicolet stood up, and in a loud, impassioned, assertive tone declared at some length that he, as the only full-time Bureau member, would see that all would be treated fairly.” Just like that. “He said that he was ever in the best position to know what must be done. This loud harangue lasted for some minutes and then deliberations began more calmly again. At that time I wondered whether Nicolet was acting simply driven by a little boy’s ego, or whether he felt he had to step in to stop open rebellion. I believe it was mostly the latter. I did not know, nor now remember, the central issues in this dispute, because as always I was required to act as go-for and was not included as even a silent participant in many such meetings.” I refer now to an interview with Nicolet in the WMO Bulletin which is available here. 
Doel:Right. This is one that you had mentioned from October of 1990. We’ll put the citation in the transcript.
Mange:“As for the CSAGI (Comité speciale de l’année géophysique internationale), Lloyd Berkner had now become president of ICSU and intended to take decisions over the heads of the other members of the CSAGI Bureau. This was apparent to the membership in general and voices were raised in Barcelona demanding Berkner’s replacement as vice chairman and member of the Bureau. I was opposed to such a move and tendered my resignation. The outcome was that the IGY Advisory Committee, which comprised members of each of the national committees’ held a special session in which it unanimously adopted resolutions expressing confidence in the Bureau and in myself as Secretary General, a position later endorsed by the CSAGI. So at the beginning of 1957 the membership of the Bureau was [Sydney] Chapman, Berkner, Nicolet, Coulomb and Beloussov and we were able to pick up the reigns again just in time for the start of the IGY.” That’s a Nicolet perspective. I had never discussed it with him afterwards.
Doel:What do you recall of the opposition to Berkner? What were the issues that generated that kind of concern or opposition?
Mange:I think that if you’re an achieving scientist with a record of some stature, you have standing, and you would always like to be consulted. (Now not all luminaries in science — take [P. A. M.] Dirac or my good friend Jim Dungey would take offense at virtually anything, at anything at all. But when you have picked people to be chair of an international organization’ of a national committee or whatever’ then there is sort of an overriding personality present who wants to get things done, always, even with the most cogent reasons. Well, there may be an alternative route, but even with the most cogent reasons you begin to bristle a little inside. I do not think that it was Berkner’s intention ever to foster this. In fact his style was — I saw it in several instances which I can’t relate now, but I remember this was his style — if he had opposition somewhere when he met within a committee with this person who was a strong rock of opposition’ he would be overly and conspicuously genial and say, “My good friend [Colonel Ernest] Herbays” or whoever, and go on talking about various points of view and then present his point of view. He would do that. Yet when it came time to do something which might involve that person, and that person might be a roadblock, then he would find an alternative path and go around him and get the job done. That was Berkner’s style. He did not like to carry on public wars. I’m sure he didn’t think that was useful. And yet he was going to get the job done. He also, just as a matter of size — what do I want to say? Well ask an anthropologist. Marcel Nicolet was short. Berkner was tall. Marcel Nicolet grew up as a little boy sort of in the big world and made his way; Berkner just sort of always was best from Sleepy Eye, Minnesota on out. He always was at the top, he always had ideas, he had vision. And so it was a built-in kind of contest. I won’t call it a conflict. I’ll call it a contest. So Berkner might win, he might even win the war, but there was turmoil behind him. I don’t know. That’s the best I can do.
Korsmo:You also wrote in that same document that at this Barcelona meeting — I think it was maybe page 5 of that document — that an afternoon session was about to begin with Chapman and Nicolet present. Berkner was absent.
Mange:That’s right. Well, look. Earlier there was a lunchtime break and I was circulating around doing whatever. There I observed Berkner in the far back corner. This is like, I don’t know, 125 feet away from the main room through some corridors and whatnot; he was sitting at a desk privately writing. Berkner was always busy, involved in committees or drafting something in collaboration with somebody. This was unusual. And he was sitting there very quietly and writing a document longhand, whatever. So I noted that and the afternoon session was to begin in about a few minutes, and I went back and sat there. When the session was to begin there was the rest of the Bureau on the dais and no Berkner. And Chapman signaled, he says, “Phil, do you know where Lloyd is?” So I went and told him; I said, “Well, he’s —” Chapman said, “Oh, I’d better go and see.” He left. And it was probably, 10 or 15 minutes later while everybody is just waiting, that he comes back with Lloyd. They came back together and sat down and the session began. I think that Berkner was writing up — I suppose he might have been writing out his resignation “for the good of the international effort I will be leaving.” That’s a speculation on my part, and I shouldn’t even say that. This is just an event that was real as I have related it, okay?
Korsmo:But he was aware of the opposition? He was aware of the [Fae do you recall?]
Mange:I think Berkner had his sensors out in all directions. I think he always knew what the issues were, what was going on. That’s why in his great discussion — I made some comment in there. Here is Merle Tuve saying, “Well, the U.S. community is a little bit behind in radio astronomy and I don’t think we should be behind the rest of the world.” Berkner knew what was going on in the rest of the world in radio astronomy. And he said, “We must be there. We must be participants.” And that shows in my notes. The same kind of spirit came across with the introduction of Admiral Day. The data centers were sitting there. They were supposed to get started. They were getting started in some sense. They were actually funded by the sources that the national scientists could generate themselves within their own nations, but no one was looking after them, no one was visiting them, no one was encouraging them. Consider people in a particular discipline — maybe it’s Aurora and Airglow. I’m sure that the people at Cornell were talking to the people in Norway for example. But it was not being coordinated, looked after. So Berkner went, he got Admiral Day, he brought him to Europe, and then had him go back to Lake Nyasa where Day had been conducting ocean and hydrographic surveys in retirement. Day went back down there without ever having met Nicolet. We’ll you say how preposterous! He’s being attracted, recruited possibly, and he’s going to be working right up the street from Nicolet perhaps, he’s got to work with the international office — well, the meeting didn’t happen. And boy that really got to Nicolet. As I told you, I sacrificed myself in the last few months. But the point is that I think that Berkner made up his mind, Day would not be installed unless he forced it. By the way, one person I haven’t mentioned was an associate who Day brought in to help him: Air Vice Marshall Sir John Merer. And just, by the way, Day was completely humble. He would take any route himself to see that the job was done. He was not a peremptory admiral, although he was a stickler for punctuality. On the other hand, Air Vice Marshall John Merer was cut from a different mold; he was very much formal, he took orders, “Yes sir, I’ll do that,” and he was congenial, but you simply knew that there was a certain reserve and “I’ll be dedicated to the task given me.” He was that kind of a person. You just knew he was a different person. Very interesting.
Doel:You mentioned those who opposed Lloyd Berkner. Was it primary American scientists or did that extend to the European community as well?
Mange:I think Americans felt it too, in a way. And [Allan A.] Needell’s book sort of shows that. Now, because personal reactions don’t get written down quite as much as formal transactions it doesn’t show in the book very much except in two places where there is something cited in Needell’s book, as in Merle Tuve’s disagreement over funding sources. Merle Tuve was of a somewhat different personality; but it wasn’t so much a personality problem. He just differed strongly and was very individual as a person in what he did. He didn’t want to be constrained too much by directives from somewhere else — namely the U.S. government. So there was that kind of resentment, but in the world of government and in the world of fostering science with financial support, why if somebody can do something for you, or if somebody can achieve a significant scientific breakthrough, why you appreciate it and you go along with the personality. So there was this ambiguity of feeling in the United States, but also in Europe. In the connections with Europe of course, at that time anyway, in URSI [Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale] for example we had Colonel Herbays, H-e-r-b-a-y-s, who was a longtime standard bearer. There was feeling between Herbays not on Berkner’s part, but for Herbays I think that, you know, this guy, is just running with the ball and we’re not always sure where he is going with it.” And that was the general feeling in Europe I think, outside the country. In the United States you might—well, I have expressed it as much as I know. I don’t know if that helps.
Korsmo:Yeah, it does. So Nicolet was negotiating to hire Mike Baker to fill your place?
Korsmo:Can you talk a little bit about the transition from when you came from Brussels back to the States? Then you were a program officer, right, at the National Academy?
Yeah. Interesting point. I knew I was coming back. I was only supposed to be there for two years. And being — look, I only grew up later on really. I was still floundering around, not knowing where I was going, and I thought, “Well, should I stay another year? Impossible. How could I think of staying another year when my relationships are so broken?” I even broached the idea of staying and talked a little bit with Admiral Day; he said the sensible thing, “Your career demands that you go and be a lot more involved directly with science rather than doing administrative things, Phil,” but what he really meant was, “Phil, you’re out of the picture here. Phil.” He didn’t say it that way, but I understood. So I am looking around and I’m saying to myself, “Oh gee.” The only connection I had really was with the Brussels office of the U.S. Air Force Scientific Office in Europe. It’s like ONR London.
The Air Force now has its office in London too I believe, but at that time it was in Brussels. And there was a LT. Colonel Trakowsky down there. He said, “Phil, AFCRL [Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory] is looking for people like you. Why don’t you come to work for us?” Well, I knew about AFCRL. Wolfgang Pfister was a staffer there who provided the funding to the Penn State Ionosphere Lab where I did my Ph.D. thesis, and I knew about it. So finally I said on a Friday, “Okay, I’ll do that.” But I still had concerns. I didn’t really know what I was saying. [Hugh] Odishaw was arriving on the Sunday plane at the Brussels airport, and I knew this, so I went out and met him. He was surprised to see me. I said, “I’m here to take you into town.” We had met earlier in connection with IGY business. So we started talking, and I told him what I was planning to do. He says, “You don’t want to go there.” I said, “Why not?” He said, “Look,” he says, “There are good people there. That’s not the point,” but he says, “Look. If you are thinking about the long-term and you would not want to go to a place to work that’s subject to upheavals every three years or so. Whenever the commanding officer is changed. The commanding officer determines what the program is there, and it’s not the civilian scientists who lead.” Now I didn’t know at that time who Hugh Odishaw really was and how he had had developed a most intimate awareness of such issues as a principal aide to E. U. Condon earlier in the era when Condon was under such attack. (One of the pieces of information that had floated around in the IGY office when I worked there after I took a job with Hugh was that Hugh Odishaw was in very large measure responsible for shielding the Bureau from all the invective that was directed at Condon at the time, see.) “Look,” he said, “you don’t want to go there. Are you looking for a place, a transition job?” He says, “Can you write?” I said, “Well, I can write — not very fast, but I can, yes,” “If you can write,” he says, “why don’t you come to work for me?” He said, “We can use you in the staff.” I said, “Well, okay.” He said, “It will only be a transition job, a year or two” or something. And I said, “Well, okay.” And that was Sunday and I saw him in the office the next day or two and we talked about it. He said, “Okay. You show up on July 1 and I’ll pay you $7500.” And I said, “Okay, Hugh, I’ll come.” So I motored down from Kalamazoo in Michigan when I got home, and on July 1st I showed up downtown and he says, “Okay, you have a job for $7800.” I said, “Thank you.” He was exceedingly gracious, and after a while he began to get after me. He said, “Phil, you have got to have more opinions.” He says, “You may have been hunkering down over there in Brussels, but you’ve got to start expressing yourself more about what the issues are.” Okay. I can go on about Odishaw if you want.
Doel:What kind of issues did he have in mind?
Mange:Oh, I’ll take a trivial one. There was a movement at one point to start to — you ask Stan Ruttenberg about this sometime. Stan Ruttenberg really understands all this world, because he was head of the Program Office. Let me back up a minute. I’ll answer your question, to the degree I can. He said, “You’re a program officer and you’re responsible for acting as a secretary for these areas and looking after the contracts for them, for Aurora and Air glow, cosmic rays and ionosphere.” Oh, and “You have to run out to the Naval Observatory to talk with [William] Markowitz with his moon position camera,” latitudes and longitudes. And I was labeled the program officer, and Ruttenberg was chief of the Program Office, and another person there was Pem [Pembroke] Hart.
Mange:And there was a third person there, and then there was a whole separate area which had to do with long-playing rockets and outer space. Okay? But the point is, after a while, after I was there a while, or later on I noticed that Stan had listed me as assistant program officer. Not that it made a hoot of difference. Okay. Oh, another one in that office was John Hanessian, who had an early demise as I remember.
Korsmo:What was Hanessian’s role? Was he also a program officer?
Mange:I believe so. That’s the way I remember it. He was responsible for the Antarctic Effect. He had a dashing style and he could dictate effectively as I could not. And he would take his secretary with him in the cab to the airport and be dictating as he went and send drafts back. And as Hugh said — now we get back to Hugh again — as Hugh said, “We can do things here in this office which you can’t do in government. It gives us more flexibility. Now there are some problems with that, but we have more flexibility. We will offer you a travel per diem if you accept a lesser amount; if you want to itemize you can get a greater amount.” That was Academy style. Etcetera, etcetera. And for example at one point — well, shall I go on about Hugh?
Korsmo:Yes, please do.
Mange:Okay. Just a moment here.
Doel:Also just your general impressions of what kind of a person Hugh Odishaw was.
Well, that’s what I’m trying to get at. I wrote some things down and started to — A friend of mine came to see him with me. If you looked at him, you would think he was some kind of, well, earlier throwback to where we came from perhaps. You know, he had wide nostrils and a certain face, and I brought a friend in to meet him because I was so impressed with him. And please, don’t take this wrong; my friend said, I didn’t know he was Jewish. What do you say? In the first place it doesn’t make any difference, but the second thing, what kind of a — where did he get that notion? And later I learned that Hugh’s origins were Coptic Christian Egyptian, his forbears, okay? You could look this up somewhere — he had had some engineering training in electronics or whatever, but he was a literature major at Northwestern. And Condon picked him up, and the lore around the lab was that he became — well, maybe the principle administrative force in the Bureau and Standards at the time when Condon was under attack. Now that’s just secondhand lore to me through the IGY office. The IGY was managed by the National Academy, but with funds from the National Science Foundation. Now the other lore around the lab was that — they picked him up as a “special projects man,” end quote, this is the office lore.
So Hugh came in, sat down and he said, “Okay. Who are the best scientists in the country who know about or are working in the ionospheric area? Who are the best ones who are working in glaciology?” Okay? “What kind of people are they?” And he picked and chose. He said, “Okay, this is our committee. We’ll offer them an invitation.” And he had gotten on with this process a bit and the Science Foundation came down and said, “Now what are you doing?” After all, they were providing the funds. And the NSF comment was, “Well, you can’t do it that way.” And the lore of the office was that Hugh said, “Now look. You see the names on this panel? Do you think there are better people in this country to run this program? Do you think there are better people over here to run this program? What else do you have to say?” See. Okay. Hugh would take the ball and run with it. And he believed in his purposes, and I believe he had integrity. He also had charm. He could charm you. He met my wife and me, took us up to his apartment, by the way, an interesting place. It’s still there, 2929 Connecticut Avenue, but his room number was 512. I looked at him, I said, “That’s 29.” It didn’t impress him. Then he whipped us into his old car and took us down and took us out to dinner, and he loved luncheon meetings. At that time there was an elegant, you know, sort of upscale restaurant — for lunch called Fan and Bill’s, over on lower Connecticut Avenue. And he would say to the IGY office, “Okay, we’re going to go out and we’re going to have a meeting over at Fan and Bill’s,” and we would go there and sometimes we would have a luncheon meeting there to discuss issues. Now, behind the door if something went wrong he was vociferous, he used both four-letter words in abandon. He had brought with him from the National Bureau of Standards a fellow name Ross Peavey.
Korsmo:Oh yeah. His name shows up in the documents.
Mange:Well, Ross was there all the time, and Ross would say, “Now Hugh, look. You say you’re going to go out and you’re going to do this about this guy. Look, Hugh. You can’t do that. Don’t you realize you can’t do that?” It would be that kind of thing. But only Ross would do that. Other people would say, “Well, C’mon, Hugh.” And then the door would open and his secretary Marian — I’ve forgotten her last name.
Korsmo:Marian Oakleaf I think.
Mange:No. There was a Marian Oakleaf. Oh yes. She was a very proper — Oakleaf must be British. She had British poise always, dressed immaculately? No, this was a different Marian. Marian had a daughter by a previous marriage whose name was Ms. Lou. And Marian would stick her head in with a perfectly poker face, she’d say, “Hugh, somebody is out here.” “Oh.” His demeanor would change. I mean you know, he was gracious to us, but suddenly he would always use the right words, “Nothing wrong.” Okay. And just to complete this and that aspect of this story, this went on for a year or so, and he was a master of prose. What I have to say is, I appreciated him and sometimes I would say something to Marian about how great he was, but it was a year later we sat for our — what was it? — Monday morning review session for the week or something, and Arnold Frutkin, who had been brought in by Hugh in the meantime, but who didn’t have a strong background, and was a publicist of note, said, “Well now I have to tell you something. Hugh and Marian are on their honeymoon in Florida right now.” See? So, he raised Ms. Lou. You know, look. But let me go back to the way he ran the office.
Mange:You knew what you were supposed to do and that you had latitude. I told you about John Hanessian going off to the airport — if it was a reasonable thing to do, dictating as he went, okay. On the other hand I saw somebody come into his office one day and Hugh had something lying on his desk. And Hugh was on the phone. He had gotten engaged in something and he looked up and he saw this person looking down, like a salesman reading things upside down.
Mange:He says [bellowing], “What are you doing? Desist. I don’t want to see you ever do that again. This is private, what’s on my desk.” Another time I knew of somebody who made a gaffe. And I have even forgotten what it was, but this person did something that was indiscreet either politically — not a personal thing, but some kind of bad policy statement or whatever — and we all knew that he was on the carpet. Within two days he was gone. When Hugh says you can do things that you can’t do in government, he meant it. He wasn’t going to tolerate any kind of fussing around. And he wanted to believe in the integrity of what people were doing, and he expected people to work. On occasion — Oh, other things. He was meticulous in detail. He would never — let me find this. Let’s see.
Mange:This is a fine — You ready?
Mange:This is a fine memorandum I received from Fae L. Korsmo. Now — it’s really quality from the federal government, you know, it looks nice on the page. But Hugh had standards. This wouldn’t have been good enough for him. It has to be for instance — that when you looked at it, it looked like you were being given a commendation, a special document, every piece of mail. And if there was something a little bit off, boom, send it back. He wanted everything to go out of that office so it looked like the best public relations document you ever saw.
Korsmo:Did he check everything that went out pretty much?
I don’t remember. I really don’t remember. If I was talking, if I was acting as a secretary to my committee of ionospheric researchers, probably not, but there was a lot of other stuff going through there at the time see. Let’s see. What else can I say about him? Probably several things. Just a minute. Where is my — I don’t want to lose my sheet. He was the kind of person he would go into a committee meeting and the group would be arguing, “What shall we do about the future of this or that? Do we need to set up a special committee to pursue this?” Whatever. And then somebody would say, well, but there is a particular interest over here, or a particular interest over there that we have to take account of, and I don’t think we can write this document this way, it’s got to take their view into account. This discussion would go on for maybe half an hour. Finally there would be a lull in the conversation and Hugh would look up and say, “Gentlemen, ladies, did you mean to say this?” Whereas — just out of his mind would come spewing these sentences, “And whereas, therefore, it is decided that we shall do” — beautifully framed.
He had really a fine executive talent in that way. What else? Oh, I wanted to say that he thought ahead. He was a visionary. And there’s a story in here about a time when we went to the 1958 Moscow meeting. There were impending issues, and at one point he almost — with the advice of everybody around him, but he was the motivating guide — he almost took the whole delegation out of Moscow and brought us back home again. It was because — one I don’t even remember the country anymore — it was claimed from that country that some of their delegates to that convention, the CSAGI convention there, had presented themselves at the border and they were not allowed in. He said, “Okay. Be ready to go.” We didn’t discuss it in our hotel rooms. We went out and walked across the plaza or somewhere, talking to each other about what this might mean. But then it was relaxed when it was found that it had not been presented properly. Whoever wanted to come in had not followed the rules which had been prescribed, “Do this to get your visa and do that.” So then it was relaxed. Okay. Just along that — same vein — I would guess maybe a couple of months before this was to happen he sat down and he wrote out a whole list of questions and sent them to the State Department. Then he gathered me up and Pem—maybe Pem, I have forgotten who, several of us — and we went over to hear what the State Department wanted to tell us before we went off to the Moscow CSAGI Conference (1958). But after all, it was still pretty cold as a Cold War, or getting colder, whatever. And State gave us a bland kind of statement: be aware of this and be aware of that, and know this and know that, and then Hugh said, “Well, I sent you these questions.” Well, they didn’t have any response. He said, “All right, gentlemen. Now look. I wrote this. I am going to follow this policy for the first question unless you tell me otherwise. What about this?” and he went down the whole list of questions, maybe there were ten or a dozen of them, okay? So he thought that way.
In other regards, he defended the basic purpose of the organization over and over again as a defense. For example, there was a group of people under Captain Black, B-l-a-c-k, attached to Admiral Byrd’s group. The Byrd entourage. I think Byrd was still alive, and he had a coterie (I’ll call it that — a group of people around him who wanted support for whatever THEY wanted to do. They were shooting at the Navy support given to the IGY. That support, the logistic support in the Antarctic, was under Admiral Dufek, D-u-f-e-k. Well maybe you know all about this. And I knew around the office from what Hugh had said and others, “Look out for those guys over there, we will defend against them — Dufek is working for us, we see nothing wrong with what he is trying to do, he is being helpful, he is cooperative, we like him, we like what he’s doing.” That didn’t mean that Dufek was a diplomat, because I sat in a meeting — in Washington I think — where the Russians had the nastiness to show a film of how our launch vehicles had failed and gone up in a great ball of flaming gas and so forth, and Dufek was in the audience. (That’s the way I remember it.) And he interrupted in a loud deep bellow, “Well, I don’t know why we got to put up with this kind of.” People wanted to crawl under their seats because he’d compounded the problem. That’s all right. Dufek ran things so that he was going to get the job done for us and we appreciated it.
Doel:That’s really interesting, and I wanted to get back to the example you gave a moment ago about the State Department. When you met there, was it with the political desk for the Soviet Union?
Mange:I have no idea anymore. Two people came in and talked with us, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t the lowest people saying, “Hey, this guy Odishaw is coming over.” I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a low-level person or a high-level person.
Doel:Sure. Was this before the Science Office was revitalized within the State —? By ‘58 there already was the revamped Science Advisor Office.
Mange:I can’t tell you. Well look, this particular meeting I am talking [about] is just about a week or two before we went to Moscow.
Mange:In ‘58. So when did we go to Moscow? It was in the summer, wasn’t it?
Korsmo:I think so, yeah.
Doel:And the office would have been in place already.
Mange:When I was in Brussels I went over to see the State Department advisor, the science in advisor in London, in the London Embassy, [Robert S.] Mulliken, and I talked with him. I had a fifteen or twenty minute chat — I was really surprised. He seemed genuinely interested and we discussed what the science was and what we were trying to do. He said, “I must get over there.” He meant it. I mean, I had the feeling he was genuine. And you know he was not somebody who was devious in any way at all. Well, later he won the Nobel Prize as a distinguished chemist. He was at the University of Chicago. But later, several months later he wasn’t there anymore; it had been vacated, and he was not replaced for a long time, for a while. So I can’t tell you about this any more than that, you know, just these personal feelings. And while we were in Moscow there was feeling amongst some of us — not I, but just observing, went along with the gang — about what our relationship was with how the Embassy treated us. Our group said, “Look. Business men came in here and were granted a reception, and now that we’re here we can’t even get a reception to invite other attendees in.”
Mange:And we did have a reception finally, but I don’t remember whether it was just for us as people from the United States or whether it was for people from all the participating groups. I don’t remember. But there was that kind of comment, that kind of feeling, we’re second-class citizens as scientists. Okay?
Doel:When you were in Moscow could you meet with any of the scientists you wanted to or did it tend to be segregated with Western European-American?
No, I’m going to have to tell you something. I don’t know. I cannot distinguish between anymore — some things, that kind of question much — between when I was in Moscow in ‘58 and when I went to St. Petersburg or Leningrad in ‘70. Now I can tell you the difference in the way people dressed, but to answer your question, sure. I know somebody who came up to me — I’m there just as a participant and he says, “Hey, can you tell me what’s going on?” I said, “Oh, what kind of subject are you interested in?” He said, “Oh, well I’d like to get into this particular meeting over here about ionosphere,” or whatever it was. I said well, I understood, but I felt bad that I couldn’t do anything for him. That’s what I was saying. I was saying, “Are you a member of the formal delegation? If you’re not, well you may not be able to get in. I don’t know.” We had the case earlier — Pem Hart could tell you this story in great detail about the naval officer we met on the street. Well, but that doesn’t have anything to do with science. I think it was in ‘58, and I think it was not in Moscow but I think it was in Leningrad. Where would Pushkin have had a bookshop? It would be in Leningrad I think. Okay. Now look. See, that’s how weak I am. I may have read Dostoevsky at some point, but I’ve forgotten everything I ever knew about Russia. Okay.
So I’m walking along in Leningrad, and I said to Pem one night, “You know, there is a store here with a window which is really remarkable. It’s as if it were arranged by some kind of a window dresser for a department store in the United States, and it’s just a small store, but it’s interesting. Elsewhere the store windows look shabby and uninteresting.” So we go to this window or this place, and we’re standing in front of it; he and I are looking at it; it has to do with books and other items, and a voice behind us says, “Well, gentlemen, do you realize you’re standing on sacred ground?” I turn around, there is a Soviet naval officer, apparently a naval captain. We said, “Well, how do you know? What do you mean?” He says, “This, you are standing where Pushkin traded,” got his books or whatever. We said, “Oh, that’s interesting. Where did you learn to speak English?” “Oh,” he says, “I have had my training,” something like that, and we started talking and he knew something about the United States. We said, “How do you know about that?” He said, “Well,” he says, “I read the New York Times every day.” “Oh, you know, he says, I worked for Vice Admiral or Rear Admiral somebody in the Mediterranean command, a U.S. Rear Admiral on a combined group, a combined oversight group at the end of World War II in the Mediterranean.” He says, “And I realize that in the United States sailors can own cars.” He says, “Here I am, in my position I can’t, maybe I can just, maybe I can’t own a car.” We said — so then we started a discussion. Excuse me. Part of this may have been Pembroke Hart’s as he carried it on, because I left at some point. But the point is, the response was, “Well, if you didn’t put so much money in submarines do you suppose you would have more money for cars?” It got into that kind of thing. Then he went away.
Pem could tell you the story. But that had little to do with the conference. What you were struck by was the sloppiness, the poor construction of buildings or the lack of resources there. I remember a meeting being held up for a long time because they couldn’t find a power cord to run a projector or something. And I myself came to the Leningrad meeting in 1970; I was supposed to give a paper on the polar wind. My view graphs were all prepared, but I didn’t have any text. They said, “Well, can’t we get your text?” I said, “Well, if you give me a typewriter, I’ll do text.” So about three in the afternoon I sat down and I started putting out the text. And this was in a room where that meeting was held in an old palace. In fact the central arena of it used to be a race course for horses to practice or trot around inside the building. Okay. Well, as time went on I kept typing and so it got dark. Pretty soon I could hardly see my fingers. There was no light. There was no light because there was no light available. There was no power in the building at night. And finally, just as I was doing the last sentence, feeling my way, here came the guard along — he knew I was there — with a flashlight, and he led me out and put me out on the street.
Doel:That’s really interesting.
Mange:And when I first went there in ‘58 we saw maybe one necktie out of a hundred if you went to some opera or ballet or something. It wasn’t the Bolshoi, but still. And the women, didn’t have stockings, and ice cream was served during the intermission by scooping it out and then weighing it very carefully, thus taking a lot of time before you were served. But when I went back in ‘70, most people for such an event in the evening, maybe two-thirds of them would have neckties and the women were wearing stockings and they looked a little better dressed. That doesn’t help much. It gives you an idea.
Korsmo:What about Odishaw? How did he interact with Berkner and Kaplan?
Masterfully. Kaplan, look. And I say this — you can ask Stan Ruttenberg more about Kaplan. And he was party to — because he was the program chief of this office he was party to more discussions with Odishaw about such things. He knew more about what was going on in terms of science politicking, what should be pushed or not. But the point is that Kaplan was a front man. And I don’t say that to put him down at all, you know? He is known for spectroscopy, but not as an outstanding spectroscopist perhaps, professor, the Vegard-Kaplan-bands. And he was advisor to the Air Force. He had ties to the Air Force at the top and to the Hollywood community. The point is, he knew how to publicize and say the right things. If you had a discussion with him beforehand — he was always part of the team, but he was the guy who would express these things. That’s one thing. As for Berkner, I think Hugh was a Berkner kind of guy. He may have thought, that Lloyd, talking, he’d say, “Lloyd’s going to have a heart attack one of these days,” and he did ultimately.
We worried about Lloyd, but when he said Lloyd he meant Lloyd with affection, with appreciation. He used all of his staff around him in a masterful way. He brought in [Arnold] Frutkin. He was an economist, I believe. But Hugh thought he needed him for public relations or whatever. Hugh went out and got the best speakers to present his annual story to Congress. I wrote this somewhere. People like Walt Orr, I think John Simpson, whoever else. You’ll find it in the Bullis Record or somewhere, you know. And they told stories. And he cultivated Congress. He talked to the Congress staff all the time about, “What can we do for you?” and if they wanted something special. He told us one time, he said, “Look. This is very special. When you make a presentation to Congress you often don’t get the chance to go over it again.” But in this case, “they’ve agreed. They’ll send it back to us and we’ll go over it and clean it up for them.” And sometimes he might say, “We’ve got to get this done tonight, guys.” I was in a car pool with five guys from down here. Stanley Ruttenberg was one of them. And a couple of guys who looked after fiscal matters, Gikas who still lives up here somewhere. Yeah. Tom Gikas. Member of the Greek Orthodox Church on 16th Street, okay? And others. And we all commuted together, about five of us, and in those days you had the fords in the park. “The fords are open? Oh, good. We can take the park route,” “The fords are closed? Oh shucks, we’re in traffic on 16th Street” or whatever, and we would go into town, pick up Marian, and she’d drop off Ms. Lou, and we’d go to the office. And if things were late because we were all putting out documentation, we all stayed; if one had to stay, the rest of us stayed for another hour or two, it was okay, we were in this together.
Doel:How often did that happen?
Mange:Oh, I don’t know, not too often. Once a month maybe.
Mange:He went out and he got educational money. He was interested in education. He always — And he did these wonderful things like put together the seven posters.
Korsmo:Oh, Hugh did that?
Mange:That was Hugh’s idea. And by the way, if you haven’t looked at them lately, I mean I can’t reproduce the artwork, but I did copy off for my own edification the quotations on the posters — just as a cultural point of view.
Korsmo:Wonderful. Yeah, we have the poles at NSF, the vastness and age, memories of elves, silence and desolation. Yeah, yeah.
Mange:Yes, yes. See, and the others are on the other ones. The sun is glorious in its great orange explosion. And I had a full set of them yet as recently as last year, and so did Warren Berning [spelling?]. And I took both of them and I took them over to the NOAA Library. Because the Academy — I called up and somebody said, “Well yes,” and I thought, “Oh phooey, I don’t think they really care.” There was another point. Detlev Bronk, you know, I heard him talk and I don’t know whatever else he had ever said but in this talk, he made cultural allusions to the great thinkers in the classic past, the Greeks or whatever. It was a remarkable talk, see. But somebody, again, the lore was that the Science Foundation had got this bear by the tail, but, Bronk was uncertain as to whether it was good or bad really: To be running this as an optional effort by the Academy. When I say optional effort, understand we’re putting out contracts for groups of people to do things (whether it’s a good idea or not) for the National Academy. But it was Berkner and others who said, “Look, this is going to put the Academy on the map as a valuable and useful institution,” see. That was the spirit.
Doel:As you look back on it, do you think that that view is correct, that it did affect popular perceptions of the Academy and what it could accomplish?
Mange:I think so, but I’m really subjective. I mean my view cannot be thought to be well founded in the context of the times, because I don’t know really what the average citizen thought when he read a newspaper article or something said the Academy. Today for example, when somebody says the Institute of Medicine, that doesn’t mean anything to anybody. I mean, it means something to people who are in science who understand that it’s part of the Academy complex. It’s just, look, these are guys who try to stand apart and they have problems — in terms of conflict of interest now especially. They keep arguing that. But the point is, I think it showed that the Academy could do important things. Now was it Feynman who said, “I went there once,” one or two times, and oh, “They’re just a bunch of Fuddy Duddies” — and the idea was that they are a bunch of Fuddy Duddies sitting around. That was the idea, they don’t account for anything. But the Academy is an important institution in my view. Well, you may or may not agree, but the point is, we no longer have a Congressional Office of — what is it?
Mange:OTA, yeah. And that was, there and had some of that flavor to it, when I was there in the IGY for example they sent the Academy over here some task — having to do with roads and highway construction or something, and they said the only reason the Academy has got it is because there are so many conflicting interests — they don’t think they can get any reasonable decision on what to do, so the Academy has it.
Mange:Now, so that’s one aspect of it, but the other aspect is if the Academy comes out with a point of view it’s been vetted at least, and there has been some attempt to make sure that various points of view are heard, and occasionally when that slips well you hear about it all over the place. So you know, I believe that it did help the Academy. I believe it did put the Academy on the map in a way it might not otherwise have been.
Doel:When you were there did you hear concerns from members of the Academy about the IGY project?
Mange:I didn’t have enough contact with the Academy members themselves. Except early on, there were only two members of the Department of Defense who were members of the Academy, and one was Dick Tousey and the other was Herb Friedman, Space Science Division at NRL. And so what I gleaned about the Academy’s outlook was through them.
Doel:What were your general impressions of the Academy at that time?
Mange:I only know what went on in May are and, well, I can’t say anything that’s very useful about it.
Doel:What was the day-to-day schedule like during those two years when you were in the Academy?
Mange:Well, usually we were getting ready for some kind of presentation on the Hill or we were working on an educational package. As I was saying, Hugh was interested in education. Let me just go on.
Mange:For example, he went out and he got money to write up stories — I call them stories, accounts — of what the IGY program was for the schools. And this was a separate project on the side and we all received a hundred dollars after we’d done our bit, and I was commended for the quality of my exposition. I thought that was wonderful.
Mange:You know, for example he was always fostering the IGY story, and I got trapped in one of those things. The Anne Arundel County Teachers Association, I don’t know, 1500 strong, was meeting somewhere over in Annapolis, and I was asked to go over there and tell them about the IGY. And I walked in there and I found something else that Hugh had fostered — presentation of a major film telling all about the IGY. They put that up first, and then I talked. I had nothing new to say to them. And I was not sufficiently agile at that time. I mean these days — I could deal with it. You know.
Korsmo:So you didn’t know about the films until then?
Mange:I didn’t know that they were going to show the film, see. I just knew I was on the program, so I went over there and I had put together a story about the IGY, and they had already seen it portrayed better than I could ever do it in words, see.
Doel:This is the film production that WGBH in Boston had a hand in producing?
Mange:Well, there were several. I mean, Hugh fostered this film, he fostered a series at WGBH, had ideas about what worked and what didn’t work. The guy was a master. He believed in art. He believed in conveying art. He believed in showing the spirit of the enterprise, and he thought people could get caught up in this and by virtue of that become more interested in science and what science could do for the nation. He was a great evangelist really.
Korsmo:Did he get any flack for that, the educational part? I mean, did any of the people on the technical committees or whatever say, “Hugh, why are you spending all that time on that stuff.
Mange:Oh no, no, no. No, no. We believed in it. I don’t think he would have recruited us if we didn’t believe in it. See? It’s like that.
Mange:Yeah. Am I too long-winded?
Korsmo:No, I like it. I like it. Do you remember when he started — did he start the education projects when you were there in the office?
Mange:I don’t remember. All I know is that these things appeared.
Korsmo:They appeared. Okay. Yeah, yeah.
Mange:He could be very critical. I don’t know whether he liked — Well, I don’t know at one film presentation or another he would say, “They didn’t do it right. They could have used this kind of a display.” Whatever. He had standards. Oh, let me tell you about another thing that happened in the office. Two researchers at Cornell who are probably distinguished and retired now. I have forgotten who they are, their names. They had some kind of a sounding van with equipment that was supposed to go to Huancayo, Peru. It was incoherent backscatter perhaps, and it was put into a van, and the van had to be transported through the Panama Canal, or anyway it had to go shipboard to get down to Peru. I guess it was to Huancayo, which was an ionospheric station which had long been established by the Carnegie Institution here. Scott Forbush was somebody who went there, among others. Merle Tuve would have been involved. And the Cornell group put eye-rings on the corners of this van, and when they lifted them why the whole bottom dropped out and went smash on either the pier or the ship, I’ve forgotten. And Hugh, he knew about this and he vented his displeasure, “Why do we have such young people who are inexperienced?” But they continued to be funded.
Korsmo:So how were you then at the National Academy? Was that two years?
Mange:Well, I was engaged for a year.
Korsmo:For a year.
Mange:And it came around to July of 1959, approaching that, and then we had a certain evaluation. And the other thing is, it was unlike the government. You did not know what you were being paid relative to anybody else. You had your own negotiation with the boss. And by the way in that situation I liked it. That was fine. And Hugh said, “Well Phil, we’re getting along but we still need some help from you.” I said, “I’ve got to go and get a job. I want to go teach at a small college or whatever and I have to negotiate for that.” Hugh said—I can’t remember the conversation exactly, but it became very intense. Only time I ever had such an intense discussion with him. I said, “There’s one thing. If I were to stay on I want to go to the Moscow meeting,” and in my bold attitude I said, “I’m really not going there to see Moscow or the Russians or the USSR. I really want to hear what the scientific discussions are about and I want to go.” We sort of talked past each other. I don’t think he understood what I was saying. When he understood that if I did that, if he gave me that, then I would stay until say the end of the IGY, which ended in December, why then he said, “Oh, well okay, fine. We’ll do it.” He gave me a thousand dollar increase and I was happy. So I ended up with $8800 and I went to Moscow, and I was not important but I learned some things. And I did sit down and write a script of a text of things I’d heard which were described technically. I didn’t have anything to say programmatically or in terms of policy really, but I was a participant in all of that. At that time Frank Press, who later became Academy chief, was there representing seismology as an interest and his wife was there.
Mange:I don’t know her name. She was red-haired at that time. I know that I remember her running off, getting opportunities to get inside schools, because she was interested in education in the USSR. Then I had an occasion at some point or other, some reception in the Cosmos Club perhaps with Herb Friedman where I saw Frank Press. And to my discredit, perhaps I raised the question of the fact that [James] Wyngaarden, as a foreign secretary of the Academy, had not known about the IGY. And I don’t think Press could fathom that idea. That’s one thing. The second thing is, Pem Hart told me, he thought that Frank Press had gone to that meeting and paid little attention to the IGY in all the decades since. Let’s go on with something more useful. But anyway, I had that discussion with Frank, and I don’t think he thinks too well of me.
Doel:I’m curious what you remember from the scientific meetings. Were there things that particularly struck you?
The thing that I remember from the scientific meetings primarily was this, that you always wanted to get more from the Russians and you really didn’t know whether you were getting it or not. In some areas it worked, it some areas it didn’t. The Russians hurt themselves, the Soviets hurt themselves — or maybe their organization hurt them — because they couldn’t capitalize on what they had. They had counters, as Herb Friedman recounts, in a JGR article. I actually have it here. They had counters and they observed the radiation belts before Van Allen got to observe them — or at least Van Allen reduced his data first. And the Van Allen counters were the counters that Herb Friedman had produced and had first designed and he was using them, that kind, and they had a certain composition. One was carbon based and the other I have forgotten what it was, but they were — the kind that Van Allen used were the kind that would recover if they were swamped when they came out again. As a result Van Allen could see that they weren’t just wiped out; they were, they had gone through a very high dosage and the result was the radiation belts were there. Now the Russians missed that because, as Herb Friedman reports, the counters they used would not recover once they were knocked out.
I remember when this idea came out, that indeed — or this discovery was made, was reported of the radiation belts, I said, “Is this a Nobel Prize? I mean this is so remarkable.” Now other things I remember, these were the days when we had whistlers in the ionospheric area for example. And the way to sound, before you could reach space with a rocket. The way to look at the electron density and the distribution out into space was to look at whistlers. The reason you can look at a whistler—maybe you know this — whistlers are naturally generated in a thunderstorm. The electrical discharge sets up broad spectrum of electrical pulses and they are in different frequencies — in the audio range for example. They have different rates, different velocities as they travel, and they are conducted along the magnetic field lines if there’s enough electron concentration distributed along the field line. I think maybe you have to have fifty electrons per cm3. I have forgotten what the numbers are. So LRO Storey, who I think was Canadian, was one of the people involved in all of this.
By getting the dispersion between the various frequencies’ you could conclude what the electron distribution was along the field lines. And now that leads to another little interesting aspect. There were two groups of people in our ionospheric group area who wanted to study whistlers, were already engaged in them. One was Millett Morgan, Professor Millett Morgan at Dartmouth. Another one was RA Hallowell. Morgan was a frugal, down-eastern New Englander type who — wonderful personality, salt-of-the-earth kind of person — who said, “I only need this much bandwidth in my recorders.” Okay? Hallowell said, “Wait a minute.” He didn’t say wait a minute, he says, “You put in a proposal. But we need recorders which go up to 30 kHz” or something, I don’t know, maybe — Millett’s went to 18 khz, I forget. And we funded both of them, and immediately Hallowell discovered that there were chirps and other phenomena — you always find something else—which were interesting and instructive, see. So we had that kind of diversity. Scientifically we were matching auroral arcs by this crude graphic system, “Look up at the sky, guys, and chart what you see and mark it down on a map at a particular time.” Gartlein, an old observational physicist at Cornell, probably wasn’t respected for his analytical capabilities, but he organized this as a volunteer effort — along with all-sky cameras and so forth. And then we matched these charts into the Russian charts so then we could see there was a big ring around the pole, and how the auroral oval was really there and expanded. This was before one could get up and look at the aurora from space with a Dynamic Explorer spacecraft or whatever else. Then there was the question of looking for special cosmic ray events. John Simpson was the architect for a neutron monitor observations.
But there were other people who were very, very active in it. For example, Winckler and Ney, at the University of Minnesota, were doing balloon studies, etc. Also, Martin Pomerantz of Bartol Research, and others. The cosmic ray community agreed that if a special event came along, why the University of Chicago, having a sensor online all the time would pass the word to everybody else. Well one day a big event came along during the IGY, and somehow or other nobody else was notified until 18 hours later. That put everybody on notice. They never trusted the University of Chicago again. You know, interesting events. Let’s see, what else do I know? Well, those are the three areas ionosphere, aurora, cosmic rays, that I remember. The Aurora business. Chris Elvey guided the Alaska effort.
Doel:Did you ever feel there wasn’t enough funding to support the kinds of projects that were proposed for the IGY?
Mange:The following is true. We had put out the notice, that we’ve got this going, if you want to submit proposals why we accept them, we’ll consider them. Okay. And originally there was a stipulation to Congress. “This is a one-time thing. We are only going to ask for so much.” And let’s see. I don’t know where Berkner in that. Maybe there is some comment in the book, I don’t know — and Hugh Odishaw. But as it was going along so beautifully Odishaw and I think Berkner too said, “Look. We have to go back for more. This is too wonderful. We can’t let it go now.” And so then there was a selling, a sales job, salesmanship was needed, diplomatic salesmanship, to encourage Congress to continue to fund it, even though these assurances had been given up front. And that continued of course. It spun off through the years. I don’t know if Bullis’ account really shows how valuable that was. It was spawned all kind of international cooperation. You know better than I.
Korsmo:Going back to Ron’s question for example. In the ionosphere you have these two groups that you funded. Were there more groups that could have been funded that there wasn’t enough money for?
Mange:I know. Your question again. I understand. I don’t know how to answer it, because it seemed to me — Look. The program was already formulated when I arrived. Let me give you — I can give you an example.
Mange:Kinsey Anderson was a cosmic ray researcher who had original ideas and he came on board by application at a late date. He was just a young fellow, and I remember shepherding him into the review of the cosmic ray committee to consider why his experiment should be funded. Now he is a distinguished retired professor. I saw him somewhere in the last several years. And you know, he wanted money.
Mange:And they sat there and they thought about it and they said, “Okay, we’ll give him some money.” And he got his start that way. So you know, it wasn’t just a closed out shop. There were opportunities. If you had an idea, why you could go make your pitch. The Army had an extensive network of ionospheric sounding stations, and I have forgotten the person who was responsible for that but he worked out of Fort Monmouth, as I remember. That would be the Signal Corps Center. And they got money for it. And then later on, after the IGY, why then they were fighting hard to get money, because the Army didn’t see the value of that so much anymore. They didn’t feel that the archival value of the sounding data for cross comparison with whatever the Bureau of Standards, was doing was sufficiently important. I don’t remember the name of the responsible person.
Korsmo:You’ll think of it when you’re not trying.
Doel:Yeah. We’ll be able to add that to the transcript later.
Mange:I won’t be able to think of it I think. I don’t know. I don’t suppose.
Korsmo:I will find out. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, so you got back from Moscow, you wrote up your summary of the Moscow meeting, and then what happened?
Mange:Well, we were doing these educational things and we were preparing, and I had only agreed to stay until —
Mange:No. I was at the Academy for 18 months. I had agreed to stay through February. The IGY ended formally on December 31 from a formal point of view. And Hugh was cutting back staff then. He was supposed to, and he did, and that’s fine. So I looked around, I had four — Do you want me to go on with this?
Mange:I had four possibilities. Maybe I’ve told this.
Doel:You haven’t. I wonder if I could just ask a question before you leave the IGY program.
Doel:When you look back, what seemed to you to be the most unexpected positive outcome from the IGY? What sort of things come to mind?
Mange:Oh, I’m skeptical that — but I’m always skeptical on these things—I was skeptical that the IGY would have much political benefit, but it did in the Antarctic for example — especially. On the other hand with a leader like Odishaw I believe we were on a — I don’t like the word crusade. I believe we were on a mission which was important to convey the excitement of science to the public. And I thought we were doing that. And I still believe it, you know? And of course the other side of it was it was ushering in the space age. You asked me what I remember. I remember lots of things about the space events even though that was a compartmented effort over there, and somewhere I said I knew nothing about it. Well, a little maybe. And I was aware of how important the space effort was to what we were doing. After all, I worked with Nicolet and we used rocket data before I ever got into the IGY effort. We used Herb Friedman’s rocket data for example, and we believed in the future of satellites. By the way, while we are talking about it, the acronym for MOUSE, for Singer’s —
Doel:Fred Singer’s project.
Mange:Fred Singer’s proposed satellite. In one case, in one place I remembered it as Miniature Orbital Unmanned Satellite for Earth, and another one, in another place I see it’s written down, I have written it down Miniature Orbital Undirected? Or I don’t know there may be a different word in there. It seemed to me that — well I don’t know, as I remember it was Unmanned, but I don’t know what Fred would say. I had a communication with Fred in the last couple of months where I rebuffed him. [Unintelligible phrase] want me to ask him. As an aside, he came to me — Well, never mind. There is a history between Fred and me, and I’ve known him since 1954. Anyway.
Doel:What were your impressions of him as a person?
Mange:Now here. You’re Fred and I’m me and we’re having a discussion here, and a reporter comes along who is obviously somebody from the press walking behind me. As that reporter goes that way, why suddenly your attention is going to shift and it is going go back to talking to that fellow. That’s Fred. It doesn’t mean that he’s not astute and it doesn’t mean — Well, the community of established highly respected senior scientists, of which I’ll take Herb Friedman as a quiet member, can hardly stand Fred and they think that Fred Seitz, former chief of the National Academy, has just been taken in by Fred [Singer]. That was a frequent view before Friedman died. I don’t think Fred’s quite that bad. The guy is a burr under the saddle, you can hardly stand him sometimes, and I keep wondering if his longtime undiminished — (was it Austrian) accent.
Doesn’t put people off a little bit? Because look, he’s been here forty — It doesn’t go away. And that’s all right, it doesn’t bother me, but I just wonder if that isn’t a factor somehow. But the point is, what really sticks in their craw is that he has this notion about climate. And the notion about climate is, yes, we’re doing things to the climate, to the atmosphere, but that doesn’t account for the fact that the oceans will be rising and will continue to rise because the melting polar caps, icecaps, they are still melting and it started 20,000 years ago and there is no reason to suppose that what we are doing here has very much effect on that. So well, you should be prudent, you should be careful, you should explore, but the modeling is suspect. He also — never mind. I can go into other aspects. But that’s Fred. And as I said somewhere else — you asked about him — he was the first member of the ONR London, maybe he was in charge of the ONR London Science Office after World War II, and a friend of mine told me, a colleague, perhaps way back, he said, “Look. I think Fred” — and this is not recent, I mean maybe it’s a decade or two back — “I think Fred did more to foster good in the international scientific relations than anybody in that office, ever.” He said he really got around and talked to people. Now there’s a problem with the ONR London Office. My problem with it is this. Working at NRL I was sometimes asked when going on a foreign trip, “Drop in there. Pay your respects. And by the way, if they want you to write a report about what you’ve been up to, they have a hold on you. You must do that.” That’s the idea.
Well, the last trip I went on, I worked for NRL, I made sure that for the part that counted I was on my own money so I didn’t have to do that. But what I — Let’s see, I had a different point. That wasn’t the point I was really going to make. ONR London. Oh, the problem is this. I said to somebody — well, because the question came up in my life, here’s a transition, “Wouldn’t you like to go to work in ONR London on occasion, Phil? Take a year off from NRL.” Because later I had some questions as to what I was going to do, and I inquired and ONR London doesn’t let any contracts for science. So I asked somebody, “What do you do over there?” Now one thing that ONR London does is maintain a very close fraternal, relationship shall we call it, between the British Navy and the U.S. Navy — But if we’re talking about basic science contracts and the like, “what do you do over there?” Well you go around Europe and you learn about what they’re doing here and doing there, and you make reports. I said, “Well, do they give you access? Do you fund them?” “Oh no, we don’t fund at all. They have to go to ONR in Washington to get funded.” “Well, doesn’t that create a problem? They’ll let you in?” “Well, we try to keep it quiet” or something like that. That was what somebody said to me. So yeah, I think there’s a fundamental problem with an office like that—which stems from the fact that — as I was told anyway — they don’t fund projects. Okay, I don’t know, where are we? We stopped somewhere.
Doel:One question I wanted to make sure we covered is how you decided to go to NRL. It sounds like you had alternative offers.
Mange:I had four offers.
The Physics of Fluids was at that time under Francois Frenkiel, and he said, “Phil,” — and he was out at APL I think, and at that time it was in the heart of Silver Spring. And he said, “You know, I can use you.” Whatever. I talked with him. But he just wanted somebody to be a kind of editorial assistant and that was it. Okay. And I don’t know very much about the theory of the physics of fluids, in spite of the fact that maybe I should have known. Another offer I had was from Homer Newell. Homer Newell had left — Let me explain. In October 1 of 1958 NASA was formed, and the Navy agreed to that more space data was lodged at the Naval Research Lab at that time than anywhere else. As Nicolet pointed out to me ‘51, he said, “They’ve got more.” He says, “The Air Force does things, Aberdeen does things, the Signal Corps does things, but there is more space information there.” NRL had a big program and it was expanding, and that expanded. Well in the nucleus of NRL a lot of the individuals who were doing the space research simply picked up — not as a group but individually — and went out and said, “Do you want me in Goddard?” and they said yes, and they became the nucleus of Goddard. Okay. Now one of the people at NRL, one we saw, when we visited there in ‘51 and through the subsequent years, was Homer Newell.
Another was Jack Townsend for example. Homer Newell was a remarkable person because, for example, he had written a book — or put together a book — which listed all the accomplishments that NRL had made in space science over the years up to a certain point. The interesting thing about that book was there was not one original idea from Homer Newell in the entire book. He put it together, it’s a beautiful account. Homer Newell got his Ph.D. in math at Maryland I believe and I don’t think he ever did anything in science as a contributing idea. Okay. Well that’s not to put him down really, because he was diligent, he worked hard and while I was still at the IGY there was circulated a draft I saw of what he proposed that NASA should be. He was there out front with vision, Berkner style if you like. So he had left and become an Associate Administrator at NASA when it was formed in October 1, and here the next February I was looking for a job. And he offered me a job. He said, “Phil, if you come to work for me you will be preparing material which will go directly to the President.” So that was his pitch.
Well, you know, I already knew that I was not going to be great scientist, but I knew that if I was going to do anything very good, very useful, I had to be near science activity and that was too far away. And Frienkiel’s offer seemed the same — Then I had two offers from NRL. One was from Maury Shapiro [spelling?]. I don’t know if you know Maury, but Maury is one of the world’s greatest — I say this with a particular kind of assessment and even appreciation — but he is one of the world’s greatest name droppers I have ever encountered. He will get up and he’ll say, “Well, when I was in Arcetri on a certain date, why Feynman said this, and somebody else said that, and the consensus was this, but we have since thought that maybe it went that way.” Everything he ever said starts out that way. Okay. Well, Maury was running a charged particle experimental effort at the Naval Research Lab — cosmic rays if you like, whatever — and he said, “Why don’t you come to work for me?” And then I had an offer from Herb Friedman, who knew me because I had worked with Nicolet to use some of his data for my thesis, and besides we had rubbed shoulders, at meetings or whatever in the IGY program. He knew me. I was supposed to be a bright boy in the sense that Charlie Barth, working for Joe Kaplan originally was a bright boy, and they even mentioned me in the same bracket. Well, Charlie Barth went on to do great things in Colorado and Phil Mange went on to be a — oh, maybe one who provided a little oil in the machinery behind the scenes. Okay. So Herb Friedman hired me, and I was very pleased because — he gave me a GS-13, which at that time was ten thousand bucks and I got another thousand dollars increase, so suddenly I was going to be able to live.
And I went there as a kind of theorist; I had written a paper on diffusion in the thermosphere, kicked along by Nicolet, and I wrote another one in ‘61 while I was at NRL, but it’s lowbrow theory, not very fancy. I just borrowed stuff out of Chapman and Cowling’s book and then built on it and said some other things, discovered one or two new things, made some mistakes, and there were some contributions which one could talk about a little bit, but they’re not important. While I was there after a little while, several years, Friedman came to me and he said, “Look. We have an experimental program to observe the ultraviolet above the screening atmosphere using rocket observations.” (You have to get up above the screening atmosphere if you want to see anything below 2400 Å, 240 nanometers. Ozone and oxygen screen you out and we wanted to see what was out beyond. There are various reasons — both to look at stars, but especially to look at the Earth’s atmosphere.) And he says — we got this approval and he had a piece of paper, one piece of paper like this which had been sent to him by Eugene Fubini, who was in DOD and became Asst. Secy. Of Defense for Research and Engineering. In effect, the letter said “accommodate these guys for their experiment.” So Friedman said, “Why don’t you take that on, Phil?” So we built some stuff, using simple ion chambers — already available with no automatic gain to sense the far UV at Lyman alpha and farther. These were supposed to go on the Ranger spacecraft. Now the Ranger spacecraft was going to go shooting off to the Moon, with our experiment on the back to look at the Earth as it went away. The mission failed, so we didn’t get anything. And then we went and tried to get ourselves a ride on a high mission probe, which was being built by Lockheed. And they said, “Oh, there’s nothing to it. You just put a window in here and there’s not much stress or whatever, but there will be a charge. $100,000.” We didn’t have $100,000, so we didn’t do that. But then waving this letter around again we went to the Air Force and they said, “Well yeah, we can fly you on pods.” Now the original Atlas was something hung from an A-frame, ICBM, and it had moved beyond that version to the kind where you pressurize it with either fuel or air and then you’d erect it vertically like this and then you would at least fuel it then, and they would hang a pod on the side of it about this big around and about that long — or you could put instrumentation in it with its own telemetry.
Doel:About 2 feet by 6 feet or so? Looking at your hands here.
Mange:Yeah, maybe 2 1/2 feet by about 5 feet. There are pictures available.
Mange:And they would launch this to Kwajalein or wherever, out of Vandenberg, and after the powered flight, they’d kick the pod off, and then it went on its own trajectory, which was somewhat different. But it had its own telemetry and you could look up. Well, we flew experiments that I was responsible for having built. The electronic guys did it and I calibrated the sensors and so forth, and never got anything useful out of it, but mostly because I didn’t know enough and the electronics broke down. After a while then we were given four rides on the OGOs, OGOs 1, 2, 3 and 4, Orbiting Geophysical Observatories run by NASA. In the meantime other people in our division were on the OSOs, Orbiting Solar Observatories, and we got on OSO 5 as well with our experiment. By then we had learned enough to do better electronics. You’d learn how to solder properly and so forth. And it went through test phases. So the instruments worked, but the first observatories didn’t. The first two were lost, the third one was lost after an OGO went out to a high elliptical orbit and came back, almost completed the orbit and then it was lost. That was under George Ludwig, who came out and continued to be an important researcher. He came out of Van Allen’s shop. And the other, the OGO 4, was placed in a polar orbit, more constrained — not elliptical. And there we got — I say “we” because by that time Bob Meier had joined me, and he is the real force in this. We got something like two dozen papers out of the results that came from that. We learned how. And there was also some result from the OSO. And so as this went along, I was responsible and made it work in some sense. And then one day Herb Friedman came to me in 1967.
Mange:“You know,” he said, “my Associate Superintendent has been transferred to another part of the laboratory” — Jacob Dinger, a very good meteorologist — and he says, “We’ve got a new Director of Research, Allen Berman, here,” and he says, “We’re going to need more communication between our division, what we’re doing and what we are — and the management here. Will you come and be the Associate Superintendent?” And he says, “Dinger used to drop by about one hour each day and sign papers at the end of the day.” “Well,” I said, “okay,” and I resisted promotion from 14 to 15 because I knew that if I got promoted then I’d be comfortable and I wouldn’t want to keep doing research. But the point is, I didn’t do research anyway, and finally I caved in and got the promotion.
Doel:Was it a hard decision at the time?
Mange:Oh, I felt bad about it because I thought I ought to be a researcher, I ought to be able to do some physics, and I wasn’t doing physics. And then I had to accept the idea that if I was going to be of any much use I was just going to make the organization work a little better. That’s the best I could do. Well the relationship with Herb Friedman evolved into one where all the material that came from within the laboratory came to my desk first.
Doel:Is that right?
Mange:Anything from outside laboratory or which was special to him went to him, but all the material even to him from within the lab came to my desk first, and then I would deal with it. “Well, Dr. Friedman, he’ll have to do it,” so I’d send it on, or if I dealt with it I’d tell him what happened after I dealt with it. And finally that was a very close relationship after fifteen years of that — I don’t know if Berman liked that or not, but that’s the way it worked. And on my retirement — well, Herb Friedman retired first. Then I puttered on — that’s another story — for about nine years in one way or another, and the result was finally that I retired. And at the time Tim Coffe told my wife that Herb Friedman had said if I hadn’t been there he would have left. Which was the award I guess that I got — which gives me some satisfaction. Okay. But I didn’t do any research really after that. I was front man for the organization, I briefed at ONR, I briefed the program, I brief the fiscal aspects of it, I handled personnel questions, I got an accolade from the personnel department because we fired somebody. (It took four days of hearings, and it even brought in the head of the laboratory and the — never mind. But we did it, see.) This was in the days before — you could fire somebody a little more readily. In those days, this person came back with an attorney and claimed he had been mistreated, or not paid attention to, while what he was really doing was just malingering. He wasn’t doing anything. We put him on 90-day notice and then we made it stick, but in the four days of hearings it took a great out of us. I had Al Berman on the stand, (they did), for two hours and they said outrageous things to him. After he came out he said, “I hope I helped you, Phil.” See? Anyway, but in those days the hearing examiner was a woman who let anything go. But after the hearing was finished, then she judged that we had won on every point. See? So anything could go into the record but it was outrageous. That’s the way it was in those times, and maybe it’s different now, I don’t know. So anyway, I did that, and I can tell you how I tripped up at various points, various places, but I don’t know if you want to hear about all that, the rest of my life.
Doel:I’m curious about a number of things. And I still wanted to talk about the earlier period. When you had a chance after a few years to look back on IGY, were there any frustrations, things that you wished had been accomplished in IGY that you came to realize hadn’t worked or things that you wish had worked better?
Mange:Well, I think the only thing that was bothersome was that the IGY or the space program that grew out of it got a black eye because the U.S. didn’t perform very well at first with Vanguard. And the inside story there is that, well, it wasn’t bad performance. The pressures were too — Never mind. You know better than I if you look into that. John Hagen was a responsible guy and they did what they could before ultimate success — Meanwhile, Huntsville, Redstone Arsenal, and von Braun. von Braun really was ready and took advantage, which is appropriate. That’s fine.
Mange:No. That was the big — that was the only thing that bothered me at all. I think the IGY was really wonderful. I don’t see any negatives in it really. I mean there were things that went wrong that didn’t work for one reason or another, but even those things were minor.
Korsmo:Did you keep contact with people after you went to NRL, say for example Odishaw? Did you keep contact with him?
Mange:I saw Odishaw several times at various meetings afterwards and he moved on then to the University of Arizona, and if you look up in the Internet you’ll find that. He continued to be involved with the Space Science Board I believe and other things. That was an agency a part of the National Academy NRC complex, very important, for charting the future, what should be done. Along that line I would say — and I served on some ad hoc committees representing our program and our interests as to what we could do in connection with solar or atmospheric or environmental or space environment questions in one way or another, so I met people like that. The only point about Odishaw was that I met him once and we took a cab across town together. We talked about our families, and he worried about his daughter, and I don’t know what’s become of her. She was doing very well in the theatrical world and he said — he wondered about her later life because he said. “They tend to take advantage of women in those positions and use them up.” He did have social concern, really, and when he died I wrote his widow, Marian, and I never got a response from it. It’s okay. But I did tell her that we had had this discussion. No, I don’t remember. He was just a remarkable executive talent, and he always would have done well — he used to talk about one time when some corporate recruiter had talked to him and he had considered it, but he decided he wasn’t going to do that.
Doel:When you look back on your publications —
Mange:I think the IGY was a great effort, and I don’t see many negatives in it.
Doel:Were you involved at all in any of the subsequent programs that were modeled after the IGY?
Mange:Well, with Herb Friedman I did some things for the IQSY, something —
Doel:International Quiet SunYears, yeah.
Mange:Sun, yeah. And some contributions. I went to a space program at Blacksburg and gave a major paper but never wrote it up. That’s the kind of guy I was, for one reason or another. As I remember it, Homer Newell was involved in that, was a part of it. I gave a paper too on “Hydrogen and Helium Emissions” in 1972 for a B.M. McCormick symposium in Orleans, and then there was my Leningrad paper in 1970 on “The Exosphere and Geocorona” in a CSAGI Symposium (Reidel).
Herb Friedman came back from a meeting and he said, “Phil, I put you in to give a paper on the polar wind in Leningrad and there were some arguments going on about the polar wind, and how to describe it by alternative theory.” And so I gave a talk, because I couldn’t really understand who was going to win. The two kinds of theory, one was macroscopic and the other was I’ll of Boltzmann type distributions, discussions of the statistics of the polar wind and how it got started spewing out from the Earth’s poles. They had to come together at some point. It depended on the boundary conditions, but that’s all I — I couldn’t sort it out — Neither could either side. They were arguing about each other, and they were worthy people. But we had some data, so I went around and gathered up some data and said, “This is a paper about the phenomenology of the polar winds.” So I did things like that, but the major point is I kept in touch with the science because Nicolet and I were writing back and forth across the Atlantic. Anytime something impinged on my area he’d write me, but he’d also write all his other grad students who came on and did great things, did really great things, but I kept in touch with him in that way.
I should say that at NRL I had this body of data from some of our space missions, and a fellow wanderer, came in who had gotten his Ph.D. under Tom Donahue at Pittsburgh, Robert R. Meier, —e-i-e-r, who is still there, he’s one of the really fine theorists. He’s a Fellow of the AGU and he’s a Fellow of the Physical Society, he came and said, “Phil, you’ve got all this data?” and then I said, “Yeah, I’ve got all these data here.” And he said, “I know how to use them; I know radiative transfer theory.” He started in, and has made something of it in a wonderful way since, he’s fostered all kinds of effort there. My — well, I have regret. That’s great. I don’t have any regret with the NRL experience. So anyway, this went along for a while and then Herb Friedman — I’d better just wind this up in some sense — so I was sort of cheerleader for the Space Science Division program. And then Herb Friedman retired. What was I to do? Well, for a year and a half — Herb Friedman had a very interesting style. He said, “You should be put in for Division Superintendent.” That’s what they called the chiefs there. (Friedman never liked the title, by the way. He thought it sounded too much like the janitor. He said so. “Superintendent. The janitor?”) But I said, “Look. I do not have a distinguished record. A few papers.” He said, “Yeah, but,” he says, “they are going to get somebody who can direct things, order things to happen.” And he said, “You understand. You foster research so it will work itself out, and let people follow their own scientific direction.” And Herb Friedman believed that basic research means largely undirected research — so long as it’s really creative. And you know there is always a tendency in a military laboratory, even that wonderful NRL place, to start to squeeze and shift emphasis to application, however that is manifested. So he said, “You should put your bid in.” “Well, I’ll put it in, but it doesn’t mean a thing.” But then Friedman turned around and he told the administration apparently behind the scenes — I learned this — that Talbot Chubb should be the Division Superintendent.
Well Talbot Chubb was his right hand man, and a wonderful encyclopedic mind. I don’t know of anybody who gets inside of a problem pursued by people working for him better than Talbot. A really, really remarkable mind, and we all respected him. On the other hand his attitude toward administering something was, “Well, I’ll do this, oh you just take care of that, I’ll take care of the rest,” without any — what do I want to say? — coherent, I’ll say coherent plan of adjustment or priority between one personality and another. Herb Friedman retired, I was Associate Superintendent, I had signing authority, and nothing happened. Nobody said, “Hey, you’re really responsible.” I could still sign. And here is Talbot really upstairs thinking he was going to be the Division Superintendent. Things went along for about six weeks or so, and he did a couple of things which seemed—were going to bring trouble. They were like shooting yourself in the foot. They were outrageous in some sense, administratively, and suddenly then down came a statement from the Director of Research, Al Berman, which said — I think it was something like one sentence, “The Associate Superintendent is the Acting Superintendent.” That’s it. So that meant I was in charge. But I quickly called the branch heads together, I said, “You all know what you are doing. You are better scientists than I. I’ll be front man. Let’s go.” But I never had vision. If you asked me what to do with regard to solar research — I’d say, “Well, let’s see. What are we doing now? I think we can do this in the next three years. That’s the best I can come up with.” I did not paint pictures. Okay. I knew that. Result, time ran for a year and a half, almost to the day, eighteen months, and then Herb Gursky was installed. And I’m proud that during my period there, while I was working for Herb and for that year and a half, I never had a personnel problem that went to, that had to be resolved outside the Division.
We took care of things. Okay. Subsequently that has happened. Okay. On the other hand I respect Herb Gursky’s — He came with an X-ray background, he worked with Giacconi who just got the Nobel Prize. Herb Gursky has about ninety papers, or had them when he came, maybe he has more now, as coauthor of X-ray high-energy astronomy from space, and it’s for that that Giacconi got his award which was shared. The point is that all but one (I think) paper by Herb Gursky was co-authored in some sense. But he’s a smart mind, he’s savvy, and I worked for him for a year and tried to be an extension of his personality. Of course all the stuff flowed to him and it should have but after the year he felt that I hadn’t done what he wanted me to do. And I said, “Okay. I understand.” So he said, “Phil, I’ve got to hire somebody as an Associate Superintendent who has more engineering orientation” or something, “so why don’t you write up the position description for that.” I said, “Okay.” And he said, “You find something for yourself too.” So I wrote them up, I said would be assistant — so we have an Associate Superintendent; I’m Assistant Superintendent. (Backup or whatever), I wrote something up. In the meantime he would say to me, “Phil, why don’t you apply for this position over here or that one over there?” I said, “I don’t fit, and they won’t pick me up. I know where I fit. They’re not going to pick me up.” But I ran around town and talked to people and got a perspective, which was fine.
Then one day I turned in these three position descriptions — the Superintendent, the Associate and the Assistant. And he said, “You can’t be called an Assistant Superintendent.” I said, “Herb, give me another name. It’s up to you.” So finally he groaned, he signed it off and sent it up to the Director of Research, who was then Tim Coffe, who has now retired within the last couple of years. Well Tim knew me because he was running things while I was the front man for the year and a half. He called me over to his office and he said, “What’s this, Phil?” I said, “Well, I was asked to write this stuff up. I did.” And he said, “I don’t understand.” He said, “I’ll tell you, why don’t you come to work for me?” I said, “Okay. Let’s see.” I sat there about 20 seconds and said, “I’ll do that, Tim. I’ll do it.” I had done things for him before — So I went back, within the half hour I went back to Herb Gursky and I said, “Herb, I’ve agreed to work for Tim Coffe.” He says, “You what?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “What are you going to do for him?” I said, “I don’t know. Whatever he wants me to do. But it relates to the whole lab in some sense, and if he gives me a project I’ll do it.” Herb said, “You can’t take on something like that. You go back there and you tell Tim you’re not going to take it unless he’s more specific.” I said, “Herb, I’ve accepted.”
Korsmo:Good for you.
Mange:So I did this for Tim for a while, and he wanted me to go ONR. And then I learned my lesson. I didn’t do well. I went to ONR where the idea was to identify areas in their research program that were space-related. Because ONR at that time, and even now I think, has areas which cover certain areas of science, but the space kinds of things tend to be done at NRL and they don’t pay attention. They’re not really aware of the space-related possibilities, see. Okay. Well, I arrived there, and was to report to a deputy chief, a Navy Captain Brown, who was an insignificant-looking person (He knew it, but he could fly jet fighters and in Vietnam he’d taken out a bridge and then he got respect as he told me.) But he was there, and I was supposed to report to him. Meanwhile, I was assigned a secretary in the basement. I’d make a correction in something I’d given her to type and I would send six more things to correct when she brought it back. I mean it was impossible. She was six floors down and made new errors all over again. Now, this was at the time when the Mac came out with a computer in a case you could carry.
Mange:And I had a dot matrix printer to print the text output from disc (capacity 7 pages). I sat there and went through their program and it took me too much time, like some months, I wrote it up as recommended options: Well, you could do this or you could do that, and how about putting so much money in here. For example, the Navy has got to be interested in the phosphorescence and the light that comes up from the sea. They are indications of sea environment, perhaps useful to submariners. And you can survey this from space. There is the possibility to fly an ocean color indicator or whatever. And I made these suggestions; always I wrote, “Consider. Consider.” And I was working through Capt. Brown. So then they said, “Well, present what you have.” And I had it typed up, whatever, on this dot matrix printer thus it was a poor presentation. In Hugh Odishaw’s world you would never provide a piece of paper that looked like that. See? Okay. And I went in to have a session with Fred Saalfeld, who has since retired in 2002.
Doel:And just to be clear, this is now the late —?
Mange:This is ONR.
Doel:This is early 1990s that we are talking about or late ‘80s? It’s in that ballpark though.
Mange:I have been retired for going on nine and a half years and I was —
Doel:You retired as consultant from the office of Director of Research at NRL in ‘93.
Mange:Yeah, well when I left the Space Science Division as Associate Superintendent I became consultant to the Director of Research see.
Mange:And it was in that era of nine years —
Doel:That you were involved in ONR.
Mange:That I was involved, and one of the first things I did—so go back nine and nine is eighteen so it would be in 1985 or soon thereafter.
I went over to ONR, and I knew some people over there, and they said this came up, “Mange, come over here and make these kinds of recommendations.” And the chief of the oceanographic area said, “Well, I think it’s a dumb idea, but let him do it,” or something like this. It was this kind of thing, which was fine. But anyway, I went in to present my draft see Fred Saalfeld and I hadn’t gotten past the first section of it, which had to do with meteorology or whatever, and he said, “This is impossible. You can’t show the Admiral this.” I said, “I didn’t realize that this was supposed to be briefing material for the Admiral now.” And he says, “You say “consider.” He said, “What’s the recommendation?” I said, “You want it written in positive form? I will “recommend that.” And he looked at it, and it was going badly, and Brown, the Captain, came in later. He was late. And he said, “I could see it was going badly.” Saalfeld said, “Take it away.” So that’s what came of that. But I went home over the weekend and rewrote every recommendation in the document to show how they could spend a couple million dollars to good purpose. It had gotten down to two. It was higher than that originally. So I wrote “Do this, do that.” Then I got it back from Fred later. He said, “This is too complicated for me to look at. It’s too involved,” or something like that. So it was thrown away, in effect. Okay.
So I didn’t do well at all. I didn’t understand the environment. I should have — Okay. Herb Gursky, to his credit, called me back after this in the next year and said, “Let’s try to get something out of this.” And since I had made some suggestions which related to the Space Science Division, where the Space Science Division could do things, and where there were lacks or needs, Herb and I went over to ONR and we made a pitch. We received $600,000 or $500,000. We got something out of it, see. But look, it was a poor performance on my part. And Tim used me in other ways. After a while I became the point of contact for the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) — not because I believed that it could be achieved but because I believed that every segment of the program which NRL was taking on — study this, do that — could be defended. It was not only defensible but worthy of spending some money to see what you could do for that particular kind of technology. And the Strategic Defense Initiative had a lot of aspects of it which were really interesting, whether they had to do with programming or something else — We had one proposal which I thought would fail, and it did, it was washed out, the idea was to observe from deep space to discover whether you could see something rising out through the ionosphere. Okay. So I did that for a while. Another interesting thing. At NRL there is a Space Science Division and then there’s also a Center for Space Technology — where they build spacecraft. It’s the only in-house laboratory in the Department of Defense, the only in-house lab where they do everything from scratch.
You can build the sensors, you can build the spacecraft, you can test it, they’ve got everything down there. A really remarkable place. And they have built nearly a hundred satellites of one kind or another as prototypes or proving vehicles for various missions. I could give you specific examples, but you can go there and look at their display museum which is interesting. Let me describe the LACE satellite they were building at one time — just to illustrate an SDI effort I was involved in, sat in on, encouraged and tried to promote — offline but as a representative of the laboratory generally, for support from the Strategic Defense office. (Now called Ballistic Missile Defense, BMD) LACE stands for low-powered Atmospheric Compensation Experiment, LACE. Let me explain what it is, because it’s fascinating. If you send up a laser beam through the atmosphere but not so powerful that it begins to make the atmosphere specially excited and bloom or you’re trying to assess absorption, re-emission, or scattering of the beam. It would be interesting to know whether the beam actually penetrates through the atmosphere and if it gets through — would it be distorted with the wave fronts changed. After all, there is turbulence in the atmosphere and interference. So MIT had developed the capability of taking a mirror and making piezoelectric adjustment of its surface to reconfigure the mirror as necessary in order to compensate for distortion changes in the wave front and to restore the original waves front. The LACE satellite, built at NRL while I was there and included the following: On a boom ahead of it, maybe 150 feet, something like that, there was an array of corner reflectors — little ones, maybe 200 of them, 250, I don’t remember, presumably, the MIT people would send up a perfectly plane wave front as it started out. It would go up, come back from the corner reflectors, and then MIT would see what the distortion was, would correct for it, and send it back up through the same atmospheric channel. By that time the satellite would have been moved over 150 feet and on the bottom of the satellite then you had — they didn’t measure phase.
There were some 200 intensity sensors, which although would measure the intensity over dynamic ranges of 105, (five magnitudes) and over extended spectral ranges taking account of angular aspect. NRL relocated some of its optical division people, Ph.D.s, and technicians, and set up a laboratory at its Chesapeake Bay Division and ran calibrations for six months to get all this figured out. After spacecraft launch it was discovered that the reflected beam intensity was low by a factor of 4. We at NRL knew we were doing right, and that forced the MIT team to realize they weren’t putting out as much power as they thought. Okay. But that got straightened out, and the cause was understood. During LACE development a more important defense interest arose and that was to assess the UV environment affected by missiles. Is there something around a space vehicle in the UV? Maybe, they wanted to look at the UV background. And of course a compromised imaging UV experiment was added. It had a mirror that wasn’t always oriented ideally, and these data were taken too. Okay. So the data were taken in, and then they were received, and it was trumpeted that this was a great success. On the other hand, nobody had seen an analysis of the extra UV data.
Well, it was proposed that LACE be given a special award — SDI in those days picked one experiment on occasion as supremely successful. Accordingly, I was called up by an advising SDI contractor of great influence. He said, “Phil, what about the UV data. This is the proposal for a LACE award.” I said, “Look,” I said, “It’s worked beautifully, and as for the UV, the data are in the bank. They have to be worked with, but they’re in the bank.” He said, “Okay.” Well, LACE and NRL got the award, but guess what? Nobody ever got useful information from the data in the bank. And that happened because the individual in charge couldn’t deal with it effectively. That person wouldn’t let people into his area to help. There were several people who could have worked with him, but the person above him, a Ph.D. condoned the lockout, allowed it, and would just put on a bland “we’re doing all right” attitude. And I knew about that supervising individual earlier, because some years earlier this individual had been responsible for data output from a Solarad solar mission and Herb Bridge, a professor at MIT, had an experiment on it. And before any of Bridge’s data ever came out—and it was funded at millions of dollars a year for a while — they cut the funding. I knew about this, I knew this person, and finally in exasperation I — stupid me — sat down and wrote a memorandum, during LACA data proceedings, one page saying, “Look. You’ve got to move this guy temporarily. You’ve got to do that,” and I put it on paper. Well, then I went to the Associate Superintendent of the Center for Space Technology who took it, and of course he flagged it around so that everybody got angry at me and I lost my effectiveness—I was persona non grata. But I did get the award for the lab, see. Okay. So that’s what Phil Mange did.
I should have known from other experiences that you don’t write things down when you’re trying to go behind the scene. Or maybe you can’t do anything useful when you’re offline. I wasn’t in a line management position. By the way, this raises another question. In the Air Force — it’s interesting — for a big project I learned, (and I suppose it’s still true, I don’t know), they assign an officer to report directly to the project manager head, and this officer’s sole, primary responsibility, let’s put it that way, is to be aware of and comment on and make suggestions about the environmental interaction of whatever that project is. So in space efforts or whatever, presumably there is somebody who sits there and talks to the chief and says, “Hey, have you thought about this?” See? Which leads me to another little story and then I’ll stop this whirl, this business. I went to a meeting of one of our people, who would sit in on reviews of what ought to be studied in terms of the infrared or ultraviolet environment in connection with missile launches or whatever. I subbed one time for him.
This person was the kind of person who would go, would hear things and come back, but we didn’t know if anything had ever happened. He was a perfectly competent scientist. That’s not the point, see. So I went and I sat there, and the individual chairing the meetings within the Department of Defense said, “Okay. Now we’ve got all this information about the infrared background. What about the UV background effect when you have a missile launch?” And there were several opinions expressed that there was no need to look into it. Well why was that? The guy sitting next to me says, “Hey, we know the physics. There’s no need to look at it. That’s it. We know from the infrared. We know what the physics of the excitation is.” So that was left and there was a coffee break. I turned around and I said to him, “How can you know that?” — because our world was UV. I mean, my observational interest, I knew some things. I said, “How can you know what the result is until you’ve gone to look? I don’t think you can do that. You must experiment. You must put up a rocket and see what happens.” He said, “Do you know who I am?” I said, “Do you know who I am?” Well it turned out the guy I was talking to was John Jameson, who was the original spy in the sky chief. That’s a funny story. When they finally did look for UV effects, there were UV effects, and there was some surprise. Okay.
Mange:I’ve got lots of sea stories. I don’t know much physics. This goes in the American Institute of Physics? Come on now. I don’t know if that should go in there. [laughs]
Doel:I know we have been talking for a long time today. I had just a few more questions that I wanted to —
Mange:Oh yeah. Let’s be specific. Let’s get to your questions.
Doel:When you think about your publications, what do you think were the most significant?
Mange:Well, there were three.
Doel:Which ones were they?
Mange:Well, the first idea that diffusion is important. In the atmosphere the question is what happens to the oxygen. It is dissociated from O2 into O by action of the Sun as you go up, but there is a certain time taken for that, the reaction time.
Mange:At the same time you have molecular diffusion going on, and the molecular diffusion if you follow that, is expressed in the fact that a heavier molecule falls off with height more rapidly than a light molecule. The so-called scale height, the one over e decrement as a function of height, is more severe for a heavier molecule, and if the molecules aren’t colliding sufficiently against each other, so they are mixed as they say, well then they tend to separate out. Also, you have photo-dissociation or the action of the Sun on the chemical kitchen, or on the constituents. You have the other molecular diffusion effect and turbulence working, and you have to sort that out. Well, Nicolet was already on this track, and he and I wrote some things and I expanded on it a little bit. Another thing, if you think about it, it turns out that hydrogen, and to a limited extent helium, are the only molecules which escape from the atmosphere. There is a continuing hydrogen flow so we have an aura around the Earth of hydrogen as an atmosphere flowing away from the Earth at all times, and if you think about this flow out, you can write down the continuity equation. It’s driven by diffusion, a gradient at the bottom end, and it turns out that there is a limit to the flow. There is an absolute limit as to what the flow is and as to how it can be driven. I reported this, and it’s been cited a number of times by other people, notably — well, I won’t go on. One person in particular who brags about it as his own has apparently made some of my colleagues furious.
Doel:And who is that?
Mange:Well, it’s Don Hunten, who is something of a character, a very knowledgeable guy, and made Bob Meier, Tom Donahue and other people angry because they knew I had written it down. I had put it in papers. So that was one thing. Another thing I discovered simply a result of the conversation with a scientist, Paul Kellogg, who came down from Minnesota and talked to Herb Friedman in his office. He said, “Look,” he says, “if you’ve got heavy ions up there”—now we’re talking about ions in the atmosphere, O-two-plus, NO-plus, which are abundant, then there is an electric field. After all, their distribution is balanced between the positive ions and the electron cloud above it, and so that determines the distribution. You have that and now you stick light ions in there, something lighter like O-plus say, well then that’s going to alter the expected that distribution. The field affects it. Well, I went home and wrote a simple note about that, and it was a surprise to most everybody. They hadn’t thought about it. And those are probably the only things that I did that were useful. Working with Nicolet I wrote an overall comprehensive theory paper about diffusion while I was in Brussels, and it turned out that a lot of it was wrong. Years later I met Prölss in Germany and he says, “We’ve look at that old paper which is wrong,” he said, “Do you know this, Phil?” And I was using a characteristic time for something that might happen, and depending on the boundary conditions sometimes you didn’t find the change in the time you would infer from τ = H2 over D. Then later at NRL, I actually wrote a little note once about observations of some UV data for Herb Friedman, put his name on it with mine and he sent it in and it was immediately bounced because I didn’t understand radiative transfer; well enough. And he said, “Phil do you know, I said, “Yes. Now I see.” And then D. C. Bates, the famous theorist, wrote a paper about the hydrogen departure flow from the atmosphere and I sat down and I felt that I already really knew just about everything in that paper. Too slow, not savvy enough. So, that’s my life.
Doel:You mentioned a bit about the politics discussed in your family as you were growing up. Do you find your politics changed over time?
Mange:Oh yeah. Yeah. There’s something wrong with me. I got more liberal as I got older. It’s supposed to go the other way. Yeah. Sure. I also — I’m also engaged in my church discussion now, questions of science and religion. It used to be a big problem for me. Now I’m relaxed about it.
Doel:Of course you’ve also been [unintelligible phrase].
Mange:I moved. My mind has moved along. I read Polkinghorne and some of these people, and there’s a wonderful book put together by — is it Pennock (MIT Press) I don’t have it in my library. I lent to the pastor. About these issues and how a conservative Christian can deal with the issues raised by the supposed, (I was never a literalist in the extreme sense), but the early stories in the Bible; how you relate belief to whatever. Yeah, I moved.
Doel:Yeah. When you look back over your life, were there any particular beliefs, religious convictions that you feel had a great deal of influence over you, that influenced your career and your work?
Mange:Beliefs. Well, I was a dualist if you like, in that, in the sense that I’m not really a dualist; I think whatever you — Look. I believe absolutely — and I wrote a paper about this subject, which I didn’t bring along, about 1976. Let me back up a little. Bob Van Dyken in our group had studied at Argonne. He was a Ph.D. chemist, and he was in charge of the university chemistry program for the AEC in the olden days. Okay. And he got a call from King College Bristol Tennessee near the Tennessee-Virginia boundaries, saying, “Come on down and talk to us about religion and science.” He said, “Phil, I can’t go. You do it.” So that made me sit down, and over a week or two or three, I pounded out what I thought, and I related it to what we were doing in our lab, and I related it to questions of scientific integrity and whatever. And when it got too tough, I thought — I didn’t want to upset people’s faith unnecessarily so I went down there and gave most of it. One paragraph or two I left out. And I showed it to the president of the college. He said, “Can I have a copy?” I said, “Sure,” but I said, “I didn’t do “this” — I’m not trying to upset people. I’m trying to make them think deeply. See?” So I said a number of things in there that Genesis is God’s picture book and whatever. But my point was always that — let me back up. I had the following view. I have to back up a little further. In grad school I encountered had a one-hour course from Professor Richard Raymond, who went back to Rand Corporation, an infrared professor who had us read Philipp Frank’s book about the nature of science. Also the famous work by Kuhn…
Mange:Paradigms and so forth.
Mange:You know, and that was there but that wasn’t the issue. He had us go back and read this book by Philip Frank. I annotated it and one of my colleagues stole it and never returned it to me even though I asked him for it many times. It was underlined and — Anyway. The book however centered on this. The Vienna circle, which you know about, was a logical positivist circle and they believed that if you didn’t sense it, it wasn’t real, it wasn’t important, you didn’t pay attention to it. Well, what I said was, “I believe that, that that’s what defines what science is.” The validity for science for me is whatever you — and I’m not talking about the creative element of it, how you got there, but the validity of what you get finally is simply that, it has to be related to reality — I’ll call it reality — has to be related to sense observations. Okay? And then that’s what science is. Now I also believe that there is other truth available as well, and you don’t get at it that way. And I believe that the two ultimately have to come together. I don’t want to be a dualist. And they will come together. Okay. So as time goes on you will never get the perfect match, but you can see ahead. And there are people who right now make me quite satisfied with that. Let’s just leave it that way. Does that help? On the other hand I haven’t converted anybody to the faith as far as I know. People say, “Well, how have you done guy?” Not well enough.
Korsmo:Yeah. I think that’s —
Mange:I said too much.
Korsmo:No, you didn’t.
Doel:This has been wonderful, and I want to thank you very, very much for this long session, and this should be on the tape. The tape transcript will not be released to others without your formal review of the tape and your express approval.
Mange:I don’t know if all this should go anywhere [correct word?].
Doel:Thank you again so much.
Allan A. Neesell
Volume 39 (October 1990), 235.
Harold Bullis, The Political Legacy of the International Geophysical Year. Subcom. On National Security Policy and Scientific Developments, Core On Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives — Washington, D.C. — US GPO, 1973.
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