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Oral History Interview — Dr. Jean Claude Pecker

French


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Interview with Dr. Jean Claude Pecker
By Spencer Weart
In Paris, France
September 13, 1976

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Jean Claude Pecker; September 13, 1976

ABSTRACT: Background and education to baccalauréat in June 1940. Anti-semitism and move to Grenoble, studies there under Fortrat; wartime difficulties. Passage through Ecole Normale Supérieure and comments on French educational hierarchy. Contacts with Bernard Lyot, Evry Schatzman, Marcel Minnaert; first steps in astrophysics, work on nuclear structure. Use of Bengt Strömgren's method in thesis on model non-gray atmospheres, 1951. Social climate of astrophysics in Holland, Copenhagen, Boulder, CO (where visited with Walter O. Roberts, Richard N. Thomas) and Paris. At Clermont-Ferrand, 1952-1955. Work on non-local thermodynamic equilibrium models, 1957. Director of Nice Observatory, situation there ca. 1962; problems of funding and organization in France. Move to Collège de France. Work on interstellar dust and cosmology since 1961; Paris colloquium on redshifts, 1976; politics of nonconventional cosmologies. Also prominently mentioned are: Anatole Abragam, M. Brelot, Fayet, Alfred Kastler, André Lallemand, Donald Howard Menzel, Henri Mineur, Louis Néel; and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France).

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