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Oral History Transcript — Dr. Richard Tousey

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Interview with Dr. Richard Tousey
By David DeVorkin
At the Naval Research Lab
January 8, 1982

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Richard Tousey; January 8, 1982

ABSTRACT: Surveys Tousey's (b. May 18, 1908) family background and early interests before discussing his beginning interest in UV studies at Harvard during his graduate education (PhD, 1933, physics) and as an instructor there (1934-6). His pre-war years at Tufts University (1936-41) are briefly discussed before entering into the principal part of the interview concerning Tousey's work at NRL (1941- ), first as Head of the Instrument Section (1942-45) and then as Head of the Micron Waves Branch (1945-58). The interview provides a thorough discussion of Tousey's activities in this latter position, focusing on NRL's reorganization, and subsequent scientific research program as V-2s became available for upper atmospheric and solar studies. Tousey's own research is a central feature of the discussion, including his work in solar UV spectroscopy, in the innovative design of spectrographs for use in rockets, as well as other optical work, and in the use of photographic and photoelectric data recording techniques. Tousey also provides critical insight into the organizational and personal working relationships within NRL, as well as the research activities of other NRL scientists.

Transcript

Session I | Session II | Session III

DeVorkin:

As I mentioned, I would like to go back and talk a little bit about a few of the areas of war work that we didn't cover in the first session. That includes vision problems, night vision, night myopia, dark adaptation, and the visibility of near infrared light sources in connection with the security from visual detection of sources used with near infrared military systems. This is paraphrasing what you had on your vita. Let's start with vision problems. Were these problems associated with group expertise that you had here? What was your mandate?

Tousey:

This was started when the Physical Optics Division was very small, possibly no more than five or six people. Dr. Hulburt had been interested in visibility problems for some years, particularly visibility through haze and other atmospheric conditions, particularly from the naval point of view, and had written a number of papers on the subject. I think he hadn't done anything specifically on the properties of the eye for seeing things, but was very much interested in them. One of the early things that came up was the use of red goggles to permit looking at the scenery and at the same time to allow the eye to become dark-adapted, which was a new idea. I think the idea actually came from Dr. Miles, when he was Professor of psychology at Yale. Later he worked in the Navy sub-base at New London for a while. Anyway, that idea came down to us and we examined the use of red goggles for dark-adaptation. That was one thing. The second thing that I was involved in, which I think I probably mentioned the last time was the use of telescopes for looking for stars in the daytime sky.

DeVorkin:

That's right.

Tousey:

Yes, I think that's covered. That was the second subject concerned with physiological optics.

DeVorkin:

What was your own role in this research? Did you do experimental research?

Tousey:

Yes, we did experimental research on the visibility of point sources. I had done this in connection with looking for stars. I think I have written a paper or two on the visibility of point sources against a field of high brightness, such as the daytime sky, in connection with determining the value of a telescopic system for making stars more visible in the daytime. It wasn't clear how to connect the magnification and other properties of an optical system with the threshold stellar magnitude that you could see with that device. So, I set up some laboratory experiments to investigate this; and it worked out very well. I think that's written up.

DeVorkin:

Were these experiments with Naval personnel?

Tousey:

No, it was mostly just myself, and later, I think we did use some other personnel. But our work differs from the work of others in that we didn't go in for testing large numbers of individuals. Richard Blackwell, at the University of Michigan, had a project for the NDRD; he set up testing arrangements for seeing objects against different backgrounds. He had a great big project. But we preferred to just do our own experiments with a few people. I think Dr. Hulburt was often an observer himself. And Henry Knoll, who is now at Bausch and Lomb Optical Company, was assigned to us. Then he was a J. G., probably, in the Navy. I guess he had been a graduate at the Institute of Optics in Rochester; and that sort of led him back to Bausch and Lomb. That's why he's there. He was one of our observers. We also had two or three Ph. D. Navy enlisted men who are now well known, or formerly were, and they were involved in the program. David Beard, who is now professor at the University of Kansas, was one of them. Charles Oxley — I have an idea he is now dead — became professor at the University of Rochester eventually; then there was somebody named Pruett. He's up at Bryn Mawr, I think. There was a fourth one who was just an ordinary technician. They had different backgrounds, but they got along together very well. We made use of them during the war.

DeVorkin:

So, in general, the research problems, specific problems, were given to you by Dr. Hulburt?

Tousey:

Well, I should back up. There was a committee, which is still in existence, now as part of the NRC, which was formed back in about 1943.

DeVorkin:

Is that the Armed Forces Committee on Vision?

Tousey:

Yes, it was then called the Army-Navy NDRC Committee on Vision. Selig Hecht, the famous physiological optics man from Columbia, was a member; and it was always a great pleasure to attend the meetings and work with him. I was a member. Dr. Hulburt was one of the charter members, and I came in a few months after that. I guess I'm still some kind of a member, as a matter of fact, but I don't go to meetings. (laughs).

DeVorkin:

That's what it indicates on your vita, that you're still a member.

Tousey:

Oh yes, I’m still a member.

DeVorkin:

And so they would decide on research problems.

Tousey:

Well, they didn't decide, but they discussed various research problems; and we jumped in where we thought we could make a contribution. Sometimes we were asked to consider specific problems, as we still are. I think this is the way we got into what I call night myopia. Martin Koomen, whom you have met, and who was involved in the coronagraph project, rather early became involved in the night myopia project. This project didn't come to any practical use. And I still think it is a field that is not properly recognized by the ophthalmologists, and maybe the optometrists. (laughs). What it boils down to is the eyes of many persons are afflicted with spherical aberration to an extent that they don't get very sharp images of stars in the night-time sky when their pupils are wide open. Under those conditions, if they add about one diopter, on the average, negative lenses in front of their eyes, their eyes form sharper images, and therefore the light is concentrated. They can see much fainter objects, such as stars, particularly for point sources of light.

DeVorkin:

Did you talk to ophthalmologists about this?

Tousey:

Oh yes, yes.

DeVorkin:

People here on the base?

Tousey:

No, people in the Vision Committee.

DeVorkin:

Okay.

Tousey:

Like all M.D.’s, they were very reluctant to be convinced by a physicist. (laughs).

DeVorkin:

This was based on your experimentation?

Tousey:

Yes. I carried around with me for years a pair of negative one-diopter spectacles. I knew Walter Roberts very well, after having been at Climax. I can remember later when we were involved in this project, coming back at night from an excursion to Climax with Walter and stopping to look at the stars. I passed him my one-diopter negatives. He was actually amazed, and he was extremely enthusiastic about what he could see with those. He had never seen the stars like that before. (laughs). I don't know whether he bought himself a pair of one-diopter negative spectacles or not. Anyway, it works with many people; but with others it doesn't work very well. So, I thought that this should be recognized by the naval forces, because many of them could see better at night, which they had to do, at least in those days.

DeVorkin:

Sure. This visit at Climax, we already talked about that; didn't we?

Tousey:

This was another visit when we looked at the stars. I often stopped in to see Walter, and went over to Climax with him for the day.

DeVorkin:

But you knew him before?

Tousey:

Not before that first visit of 1943, I guess.

DeVorkin:

And the infrared military systems project?

Tousey:

That was a large project. That was started by Brian O'Brien at the University of Rochester, using one system, and at the RCA Princeton labs by Morton using another system name. Zemansky was up there too and was involved. The British were also involved in developing various image converters that would increase the brightness of the night time scene and make it possible to see objects that were too dim to detect at night with the unaided eye.

DeVorkin:

What was the wavelength range?

Tousey:

Oh, this was the very near infrared, just beyond the visual cutoff, out to the end of the photo-sensitivity of the cathodes, which were Sl or S2. S2 was the type name at that time, the Caesium cathode of the 1950's. I don't know what they go by now.

DeVorkin:

But this was during the war?

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

They were classified?

Tousey:

Yes, they were all classified. The British had an electrostatically focussed image tube that was about an inch in diameter. You may know them. A very simple one with a 1000-volt battery pack made of little wafers, just one after the other in the form of a pile.

DeVorkin:

Is this material now available to the public?

Tousey:

Yes. (Pause)

DeVorkin:

Well, other than the specifics, I am interested in the group dynamics in terms of what kind of people you worked with. Did any of them go into studying infrared sources after the war, and possibly even into infrared astronomy; names like Frank Low, people like that?

Tousey:

Well, Bill Baum did, He was not involved in the infrared visibility projects, as far as I can remember; but he did go into electronic amplification for viewing stellar sources from the very beginning, at the Lowell Observatory, I think. Henry Knoll, I think, did not. My colleague and formerly, for a while, head of the division, John Sanderson, who is still living over in Alexandria, was involved. There was a great deal of work going on here in the division, and he was in charge of the division during most of that time. But it was mostly in the far infrared; that is, we had a large project in looking for submarines, using the far infrared.

DeVorkin:

This is aerial?

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Reconnaissance and things like that..

Tousey:

From blimps, actually. This was done from a blimp.

DeVorkin:

Let me ask you about just your experience. Was this your first detailed experience with photoelectric sensors?

Tousey:

Yes, I guess it was.

DeVorkin:

What was your feeling about their use? Did you find them strange?

Tousey:

No, we didn't, but I think it's fair to say that, particularly Dr. Sanderson, and I to a less extent, were conservative in our views of the potential of infrared detectors. There were others at NRL, and at other places who were more optimistic in thinking that they could push the sensitivity and wavelength response farther into the infrared than we thought possible. And, of course, there was a tremendous amount of money poured into the infrared. As a result of this conservative point of view, we did not get very much of that money. Other people got much more of it, and therefore, other people are the ones who succeeded in pushing it; but it took a great many years for the work to progress significantly. Progress in solid-state theory was involved, too, to push the wavelength response into the infrared.

DeVorkin:

Yes, I'm bringing this up now because people here did consider the use of photoelectric sensors on V-2s to study spectra selectively. They were not infrared photoelectric sensors, of course, but it wasn't continued in the early years.

Tousey:

Well, I guess we have to distinguish between infrared sensitive detectors and the ultraviolet sensitive ones. Dr. Friedmann was particularly interested in Geiger-Mueller point counters; and his work from V-2 rockets, which started only some months or a year after the photographic work, I think, was always centered around the use of photoelectric detectors, as he had been brought up with them at Hopkins. The Geiger counter and the Geiger-Mueller counter were important in his thesis written at Hopkins; but anyway, he always did everything with photoelectric detectors. So there was always this schism between us, if you like, I confining everything I did to photographic methods, and he, just about everything to photoelectric. That made it easy to keep out of each other's hair, so to speak. Interesting?

DeVorkin:

It is. I was curious, though, that you did design laboratory photoelectric scanning monochromators, by the late ‘40's or early ‘50's. Was this work related at all to space interests?

Tousey:

Oh yes. Yes, we needed to improve the reflectance and other properties of surfaces for extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, because you have to do everything with reflecting surfaces. To do this, we had to set up extreme ultraviolet laboratory instrumentation. And this was almost a direct follow-on of my work for my doctor's degree at Harvard, which was an ultraviolet monochrometer, if you like, but with photographic detection. But we immediately set it up with photoelectric detection at that time. I don't quite remember how that came about, but it was perfectly obvious that, if you could use a fluorescent material to make a photographic film work, you could use a fluorescent material on the face of a photomultiplier to make it work; so it was a direct consequence of this that led me to set that up in the laboratory. We contracted for the equipment. It was in collaboration with two others who were interested. Baird Atomic — I guess it was called Baird Associates in those days, were keen to go ahead with that. And collaboratively with them, we designed the first extreme ultraviolet photoelectric monochrometer. And they built three of them; one for us, one for the Shell Oil Company in St. Louis, and the third for Innes at Vanderbilt University.

DeVorkin:

Any possibility at that time that you considered flying photoelectric sensors rather than photographic film?

Tousey:

No. I thought about it, and I concluded, I think correctly, that photographic film was superior in the aspects of the solar spectrum that interested me; that is, wavelengths, and moderately accurate intensities. Photographic film was superior to photoelectric detection. And also, there was Dr. Friedman's group that was working on photoelectric techniques, so it made it very simple to divide that way. I still think, by the way, that photoelectric devices are not yet able to match photographic for information gathering. And the last Kodak annual report says the same thing.

DeVorkin:

Really? Kodak?

Tousey:

Yes. I had a copy of it around here, because the fight still goes on at NASA. They won't spend money on photographic work anymore. Brueckner is angry about this; and he agrees with me that photographic detection still has great potential, more potential than photoelectric for certain kinds of work.

DeVorkin:

A central issue — is that, at least here, after your June V-2 firing that ended up in a 50-foot pit, a group here began to design a small spectrometer, using three photocells that could possibly be flown. And they did this specifically because you didn't know whether retrieval would be possible in the future, of film. I would like to know what your involvement was in that project. I know it wasn't continued.

Tousey:

Who was it? Do you remember?

DeVorkin:

This was the "Sweeping Photocell Method," NRL Report No. 2, page 146, Greenough. Oberly and Rockwood.

Tousey:

Oh, those were our competitors — not competitors, that isn’t the right word. The original group consisted in Dr. Hulbert’s Division, of myself and Baum, and Francis Johnson, and J.D. Purcell, not at the very beginning, but very soon afterward. Well, you can sort of trace the split from the beginning. Ernie Krause was the one who got the whole thing going in the first place, the V-2 project. His group was soon organized. I forget just when Homer Newell came in. And somewhat later, Townsend. But in that first period of 1946, I thought that Ernie Krause was kind of mad at himself for letting Dr. Hulburt get in (laughs) because we had far more experience in optics than the people he got. Of the ones that he got, the top man there was Eric Durand whom I knew very well, and I liked him very much. He has died now; I think he had a Hopkins doctor's degree. He came, and Dr. C.V. Strain came in with experience in the infrared, the Bureau of Ships infra-red project. He was sort of half attached to the Optics Division in the war time far infrared project that I was telling you about, the blimp project. He came in and jumped into it. Oberly and Greenough: Oberly was a physicist, and Greenough was a young man — I don't remember much about him. Is there another name there?

DeVorkin:

Rockwood.

Tousey:

Oh, Rockwood. He was a sort of an engineer physicist, a bachelor's degree man, no particular optics background. Those are the people that Krause assigned to the project. And I told you those who were assigned, let us say, by Dr. Hulburt to the project. So we were, to a degree, in competition with each other although we were collaborating with each other.

DeVorkin:

Who was the judge between the two groups? In other words, who would?

Tousey:

That's a good question. Ernie Krause is not the type that would let anyone boss him (laughs). I don't want to seem egotistical in this, but I think I was the one who was on top of everything; and Dr. Hulburt would come to my assistance, if necessary. It was more up my alley than anybody else’s.

DeVorkin:

The decisions then had to be made within your two groups?

Tousey:

We made them jointly, yes.

DeVorkin:

Not with any higher authority?

Tousey:

No, not really.

DeVorkin:

Who was officially that higher authority?

Tousey:

I suppose Krause was the top authority on the V-2 project, yes. But then he was so aggressively competent, if I may use those two words, that not long — I don't know whether it was a year or two after that, after the rocket project began — that he was taken off onto the Pacific testing projects that were started here. And I don't know how those started. They were top secret Q clearance. And I was not involved in them, but Dr. Hulburt was. And he knew what was going on.

DeVorkin:

Dr. Krause was willing to drop the V-2 project for that, certainly?

Tousey:

Yes. I guess that's when Newell took over.

DeVorkin:

Did your relationships and the aggressive competitiveness, as you identified it last time, change any when Newell came in, in Krause's position? Did they improve, or deteriorate?

Tousey:

Well, things were improving anyway, possibly more so when others left. Durand left in a year or two to go to the Air Force sponsored laboratory in Chicago — Midway laboratories; and he became director, I think, or very close to director there. Strain was moved to other projects here. I guess he went with Krause in the Pacific testing. Oberly disappeared. I don't know where he went. Rockwood went with Durando. Greenough, I don't know where he went.

DeVorkin:

Now, the interesting question is: they did build this small photoelectric instrument?

Tousey:

That was their project, I had forgotten it completely. I probably knew about it, but they never flew it, as far as I know.

DeVorkin:

I'd be interested to know if there was ever any question as to why it didn't fly. They simply said that because your June and October tests, it was shown to be possible to retrieve film.

Tousey:

Well, I guess that's the reason. Somebody decided that it wasn't worth it.

DeVorkin:

I'd like to know who that was, if there is any possibility.

Tousey:

Well, unfortunately, Durand is no longer living. Rockwood is no longer living. Strain might know. He's around. I guess he's still living, around here in Virginia, retired. He just might; he’d be the one most likely to know what happened to that, of those I can think of.

DeVorkin:

So there was no specific instance where both of your groups had to make a decision to go over to photoelectric work, or to stay with photographic? Were you always committed to photographic? Or after the June disappointment, did you begin thinking that some form of photoelectric recording, plus telemetry, might be the way you would have to proceed. And if so, did you feel that maybe you wanted to get out of the whole business?

Tousey:

No. I think the October recovery came along so soon that we didn't have to worry about it. We were probably still digging in the crater about then, hoping to find the darned thing, and thinking that it might have developable solar images. Why not? So I think that Krause or somebody must have had this photoelectric backup plan. Friedman may remember about that, but I think he came in a bit later.

DeVorkin:

Yes; and this was still ‘46?

Tousey:

His first flight was ‘49, I think.

DeVorkin:

Yes; I'm not sure myself, but we certainly can find that out. That's a very interesting early period, as you can well imagine.

Tousey:

Yes, it is. Incidentally, there was much jostling as to who would be the senior author on things, and who would give the paper, and so forth.

DeVorkin:

Yes, I'm curious.

Tousey:

I won. I gave the first paper, I think, the one I told you about, at the Astronomical Society meeting in Cambridge. That was December of ‘46; and so I won (laughs).

DeVorkin:

How did that jostling take place, because some of the articles, the first October 10th article, was alphabetical in authorship. Some were not alphabetical. But, were you saying the jostling for the first person to report it at a meeting?

Tousey:

Yes. Then we went to alphabetical as a way around this problem. Actually, Charlie Strain wrote a paper of his own for "Sky and Telescope" without our knowing it. This was kept secret from us (laughs).

DeVorkin:

From the entire group?

Tousey:

From the entire Optics Division group, yes.

DeVorkin:

Well, don't things have to be cleared here?

Tousey:

Yes, but you can get around the clearance. You can circulate things from another division. Another division can send its stuff through for clearance without the first division, let us say, knowing it.

DeVorkin:

That's always fun.

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

What kind of ruckus did that cause?

Tousey:

Oh, none particularly. I was probably kind of annoyed, and looked for mistakes in it; but I don't think anything came of it either. (laughs).

DeVorkin:

Did he at least give credit to his colleagues?

Tousey:

I think he did well enough. I probably have a copy of it around somewhere. This was in "Sky and Telescope," Volume 6, No. 4; February, 1947. This is the picture of the V-2 with the telemetry wires. I don't know what flight that was. He says it was that flight, and maybe it was.

DeVorkin:

Yes: "Solar Spectroscopy at High Altitudes."

Tousey:

Oh yes. Here's the way he put it: "Upper atmosphere program is under the general direction of E.H. Krause. While the research on solar spectroscopy specifically has been carried out to date under the cooperative direction of R. Tousey and the author." I had forgotten that Charlie Strain was in charge of it cooperatively. That's the way he put it and that's all right. That's exactly the way it was.

DeVorkin:

Okay (laugh).

Tousey:

But Eric Durand was the optics man, and Charlie Strain was more of the general combination of physicist and engineer. This is a nice paper, actually. There are a lot of good pictures in it.

DeVorkin:

It is. It has good visuals. Now that is a marvelous picture on the back. Which flight is that? That's the October flight, and this is the wing, or?

Tousey:

No, this is the body of the V-2.

DeVorkin:

All destroyed and crumpled up.

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Did you take that picture?

Tousey:

No. I wasn't down on that flight. And there is a picture of Charlie Strain in here, perhaps. No, there isn't, but I have one of him. This is the installation in the tail fin.

DeVorkin:

In the tail fin. I've seen a number of those in the NRL reports. There is some very good documentation there; and there they sort of show the anatomy of the V-2 very clearly.

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Very good. I'll get that article. No problem there.

Tousey:

I might say that I seem to be the one who stayed with it from the beginning until now, let us say. The others all got out or died. I guess they got out first.

DeVorkin:

Why did they leave?

Tousey:

Charlie Strain left the project because he wasn't brought up to be interested in this especially. Extreme ultraviolet wasn't part of his career, let us say. It was just an add-on, and so he moved over to something else. He did very well. He climbed the ladder here, and became a superintendent of one of the divisions for a number of years, from which he retired. Durand was also a ladder climber, and he went to Midway and climbed that ladder as high as he could. And then Krause, who liked Durand and recognized his ability, got him to go to Lockheed; that's where they went first as a group. They made a great splash out there, because Krause got up on his hind legs, so to speak, and thumbed his nose at Lockheed. And this made the headlines of the Los Angeles papers, and the whole group pulled out, because Lockheed wouldn't give them what they wanted.

DeVorkin:

Really? When was this?

Tousey:

Oh, this was probably in the sixties, I guess, after the war. Then they went to Aeronutronics, which was just starting at Ford Motor; and they were there for quite a while. Some of the original group still work at Aeronutronics.

DeVorkin:

This was in rocketry, or in instrumentation?

Tousey:

In all sorts of space military instrumentation. And then they pulled out of there and started their own company (laughs). I've forgotten what that was called. Maybe their own company came in between. I'm not sure of the order. And finally, he went to the big, Air Force-sponsored Aerospace Corporation. That's where he is now.

DeVorkin:

That's in El Segundo, California?

Tousey:

I'm not sure where it is, but he's in the armament branch of it, not the research laboratory branch. I think he's head. A fellow who was at Harvard for a while was head.

DeVorkin:

I think that would give us enough on him to track him down. From our talking about your infrared work, we got involved in the photoelectric questions; but do you feel that we have covered that adequately?

Tousey:

Probably, just about.

DeVorkin:

It was a much larger study, I understand.

Tousey:

We became involved in testing the various infrared viewing systems that were made by RCA Princeton, and also the phosphor type that Brian O’Brien and his Austrian phosphor physicist had developed at the Institute of Optics. That was quite a large project of the Institute of Optics, a phosphor that would convert infrared to visible, which it isn't supposed to do. He is a well-known man there. His son is well known. His father has died. Anyway, we had them here, and had a large testing program to check out whether they were satisfactory or not. We also were involved with the possibility of illuminating the naval scene with infrared searchlights for the Bureau of Ships. There were a number of contractors, of course, engineering companies. And this led us into the question of the extent to which the human eye could see an infrared light source. I think we did some interesting work on that, and we developed instrumentation to test infrared filters from the point of view of the security from visual detection at night. And so we were involved in the sensitivity of the eye to infrared sources; this, too, was connected with the night myopia project, in a way, because in addition to spherical aberration there was also the chromatic aberration of the eye, which is supposed to be pretty well corrected, but in the infrared and the ultraviolet it is not corrected, so that the eye can detect an infrared source better than you would think, if you look straight at it. But it has to be pretty much foveal vision, because it's the cone detectors that see the infrared, and are sensitive to it, and the rods are not. The cones are almost entirely missing, except in the fovea. I should have said that Dr. Hulburt, before I came here, was interested in the possibility of using ultraviolet below the solar cutoff for Naval signaling purposes. This was also very highly classified, and I wasn't told about it, and I think it had all pretty much been thrown out by the time I came. It is not very practical, because ultraviolet doesn’t pass through haze very well. It involved the use of fluorescent type detectors. I think Hulburt made some binoculars with fluorescent screen detectors, the idea being that a ship over there somewhere might have an ultraviolet source emitting radiation of wavelengths short of 3000A, that is, below the solar cutoff, and could signal to another ship in daytime with great security.

DeVorkin:

You mean atmosphere cutoff?

Tousey:

No, I really meant the solar cutoff, yes, the solar cutoff at 3,000 angstroms, so it would be short of 3,000.

DeVorkin:

Right. That's very interesting.

Tousey:

So he was pushing things in that direction, too, before I came, I guess.

DeVorkin:

Okay. Let's move on then, back to the V-2 era. And we have already covered pretty much that it was Dr. Hulburt who was in the initial meeting with Krause and Milton Rosen and others, where various projects were discussed after the war. But during this time, what was your outlook for your own activity after the war, before you heard about the V-2s?

Tousey:

Forty-six?

DeVorkin:

This could even be late forty-five, early forty-six.

Tousey:

I think we still had a number of these infrared signaling and vision, night vision projects going on. We hadn't cleaned those up. I think those were still active, as nearly as I can remember. I’m pretty sure that was it. I can't remember anything else that came between.

DeVorkin:

Well, that means that there was no driving research interest that you had at that point. Is that fair to say?

Tousey:

Yes, pretty much so. Bill Baum had just gotten here, but he wasn't working on that yet.

Tousey:

That's right. When he came I didn't know what to do with him. I guess I mentioned that I gave him the job of sorting out a lot of lenses and cataloging them.

DeVorkin:

Had you known about the V-2s, that they were going to be tested at White Sands that we were going to have them before Dr. Hulburt indicated the results of this meeting?

Tousey:

I don't believe so. When did the war end anyway, 1944?

DeVorkin:

1945.

Tousey:

1945, in the spring?

DeVorkin:

I believe the original meeting with Krause and Milton Rosen, and people like that, I don't have a specific date for yet; but I think it occurred in late ‘45, like November or December of ‘45.

Tousey:

I think that's right. I'm puzzled, because I was trying to fit it into the time when a number of scientists from this country went to Germany to look things over. I don't remember what the project name was; I only remember that I was put through all the briefing and so forth on the chance that I would be going. I can remember that it was the spring; because I can remember that we went somewhere in the Northwest to some meeting for briefing, and it was a perfect spring day.

DeVorkin:

Oh, yes. You certainly would have gone earlier in ‘45, because Germany was gone.

Tousey:

All right, yes.

DeVorkin:

But there was a possibility that you would have gone?

Tousey:

Yes, and I didn't. I don't know why. I guess they had their own reasons, and I didn't much care one way or the other, as a matter of fact. But Dr. Hulburt did go; I don't know exactly when he went; and this was a very confused period, of course. There was also a lot of captured German equipment coming in including a great deal of infrared equipment, types that we had not seen. As you probably know, one reason why the Germans got licked was that they gambled badly within their air force and their navy; or else they weren't in communication with each other. The navy went in for infrared detection systems. They dropped the ball on radar, and they gambled in favor of infrared systems; and they had some very highly-developed infrared systems and optical systems that we had not seen, and were really fascinating to examine. We had a great collection of those here, and were looking at them and playing with them. I think that was probably the intermediate project that I was trying to think of, what we were doing before the V-2s came along. It must have been looking at the captured equipment.

DeVorkin:

Very interesting, yes. Now, after they came along, and through Dr. Hulburt and you, you were given the chance to begin designing an ultraviolet spectrograph. We already covered some of that. He suggested the use of a simple spectrograph already sitting around.

Tousey:

Yes. It was probably in February of 1946, I should think. And he said, "go ahead."

DeVorkin:

That was it.

Tousey:

Yes. That was it, "see what you can do."

DeVorkin:

I would like to know a little more about how the design of that original spectrograph came about. Was it a decision very early on in February that it wouldn't be built here, that it would have to be built somewhere else?

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Did you discuss the possibility with several outside sources, or just with Baird?

Tousey:

With Baird only.

DeVorkin:

Do you have any record of the design specifications?

Tousey:

No, we didn't write any design specifications (laughs).

DeVorkin:

None were written down?

Tousey:

This is not according to rules, of course, but we didn't.

DeVorkin:

How did it all work, yes?

Tousey:

Well, I think it was my proposal that we use a concave diffraction grating. I'm certain that it was, because I had that kind of background. Yes, this followed on from Dr. Hulburt's original proposal. This was when we were talking about it together, actually, following the conclusion of some meeting he had been at with Krause, when he came back and suggested that we fly this quartz spectrograph. And I said: "Well, why not fly a reflecting system and see if we can get down to Lyman alpha of hydrogen while we're at it, since we're going to be up that high." That was a new thought to him, although it didn't need to be, because he had worked in the extreme ultraviolet for his own thesis at Hopkins. I think he used a grating spectrograph at the time.

DeVorkin:

Why did he suggest quartz? There was one sitting around?

Tousey:

He knew this was around, and he thought that would be an easy, quick thing to do. And I thought we could build a concave grating system, and so he said: "go ahead." I can't remember when Frank Johnson came — it seems to me that Bill Baum was the one who was here and wasn't doing anything particular and (laughs so I enlisted his collaboration in the project. Bill Baum probably remembers it better than I do, since it was perhaps his first project down here. But then, Krause assigned Durand, Oberly and all those people, in what order I don't remember. In any case, we came up with this general design. I think I was the one who came up with the idea of the little bead for a wide-angle device.

DeVorkin:

The lithium fluoride bead.

Tousey:

Yes, a small sphere. At first we thought it could be easily made of quartz. This was probably, in a way, a result of my playing around with lenses to produce artificial star like images to look at for vision purposes. I realized that a sphere would have a very wide field of view and still make some kind of point image.

DeVorkin:

Yes. Did you sit around in impromptu hallway seminars working this out?

Tousey:

I guess so. We must have. I don't remember any particular meetings. But soon we firmed up the basic specifications, the beads and the grating. And I think I had the idea of putting two on, so we would use both sides of the grating.

DeVorkin:

Two beads, yes.

Tousey:

Two beads. And then we decided we would have to get it made outside in order to meet the time schedule. You never could make it in time here, through the shop.

DeVorkin:

This is a decision that you and Dr. Krause made?

Tousey:

I, and Krause was involved in it, and I think he probably placed the contract but I don't really know whether we placed the contract or they did. I knew Walter Baird very well, and felt that he would be the one to do it. I cannot give you any very good reason, except that I knew him very well, and knew he had a small excellent company and that he was aware of the V-2 project and was enthusiastic about it.

DeVorkin:

Yes. So there was a formal contractual agreement?

Tousey:

Oh yes, there was a formal contract, but it was probably almost open-ended, so to speak. What happened was that Bill Baum went up to Cambridge and lived there for a month or two, and worked with them on the design. So the details were worked out collaboratively between Bill Baum and the engineers at Baird. Oh yes, and where to get the grating was another question.

DeVorkin:

Here's something that might help. This is from NRL Report No. 1: your acknowledgements.[1]

Tousey:

Good. I was going to mention it, R.W. Wood; right. Eric Durand wanted to go over to Hopkins.

DeVorkin:

To get the gratings?

Tousey:

Well, partly; I think he was pushing for R.W. Wood, because it is possible his thesis work was under R. W. Wood. Anyway, it was at Hopkins; and I had never met R.W. Wood. I don't believe I had. We did go over and talked it over with Wood. But I don't remember that he gave us anything but encouragement, I don't know that he gave us any particularly great ideas. I think we were ahead. John Strong was in charge of the ruling engine. He had just gone to Hopkins. We tried to get him to come to work at NRL, actually, but he chose Hopkins, so he was fairly new there. And we placed the contract with him. He was sure he could rule them. We set up a big project on grating ruling and testing; and I think he ruled forty or fifty diffraction gratings. If you want to find out more, Strong would be delighted to talk about it.

DeVorkin:

Are these the ones that are made by Strong?

Tousey:

Those are two of them. Yes.

DeVorkin:

Those are two in that Kodak box there. Okay, those are original Strong gratings, marvelous.

Tousey:

Wilbur Perry, I think, was the one who was the top technician, and this other fellow, whose name escapes me, was there too.

DeVorkin:

So you and your group worked up design specifications. Baird Atomic was detailed.

Tousey:

Yes, and built them.

DeVorkin:

Bill Baum went up there; and he was the contact man to make sure they were built right.

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Did you have directions from General Electric? Who was your contact to know what your outside scale dimensions were for the V-2?

Tousey:

Oh, others in Krause's group. I don't know.

DeVorkin:

Yes. Did you have contact with Milton Rosen at that time?

Tousey:

I knew Milton, but he was more involved in propulsion. I think Krause's top scientist-type was Gilbert Purlow, probably, at that time; but he was interested in cosmic ray experiments,

DeVorkin:

Right.

Tousey:

I think that C.V. Strain, E. Durand, J.J. Oberly, Rockwood and Greenough were the ones who kept track, made sure that things fitted into the V-2 properly, and took care of most of that side of it.

DeVorkin:

So you had no contact then with G. E. or with the White Sands people; and that is probably why you didn't go out there too much?

Tousey:

Yes, I think that's true. It was part of Krause's operation and it was all taken care of. We had plenty to do back at NRL with the instrumentation. I think Bill Baum went out and represented us. I should back up and say that Bill must have gone into uniform when he was still a graduate student at Caltech; and Caltech was involved in the WAC Corporal project.

DeVorkin:

That's right.

Tousey:

I can't remember whether that was after or before he came here; but his thesis project, when he got out of uniform and went back to Caltech, was to build a small refractive spectrograph with calcium fluoride optics. He built this for a WAC Corporal; and he flew it, but unfortunately the WAC Corporal failed completely and blew up; and he lost his instrument completely, so he lost his thesis.

DeVorkin:

That's right, but I don't know whether that happened before or after. But that sounds just like what happened to Jesse Greenstein.

Tousey:

Yes, pretty much. So his thesis actually was on the transmission of ultraviolet through the atmosphere, the absorption spectrum of the atmosphere, absorption spectrum in the two to three thousand angstrom range, based on a laboratory experiment outdoors at Caltech. Larry Dunkleman whom you may have run into, who was also one in my group, went out there and helped him with it. Dunkleman moved from here to Goddard. He's on other things nowadays. I think he's mostly retired now, but not completely. He's well known about town. I think Baum came back here after that, for a while; I can't remember the exact timing of all this.

DeVorkin:

Let me ask you about some of the procedures. When the first spectrograph was built at Baird, did it come back to NRL for testing?

Tousey:

I think it must have. It must have come back here for adjustment and testing. Yes, I'm sure it did, because parts of it were built here, actually. The cassette made of the armor-piercing projectile steel was machined here.

DeVorkin:

Was there a reason for that?

Tousey:

It was something that our machine shop could do relatively quickly. And the optical shop of the Naval gun factory made the beads.

DeVorkin:

That's right. That's in your acknowledgements.

Tousey:

We had quite a time getting good lithium fluoride. Stock Barger at MIT was early in his recognition of its transparency, the shorter wavelength cutoff of lithium fluoride than of calcium fluoride. And Kramers of Harshaw provided lithium fluoride too. Mr. Devlin, who was the superintendent of the gun factory, was helpful. He had a really topnotch optical shop there all during the war. It had been organized during World War I, because there wasn't any source of optical quality glass for optics anywhere except in Germany. I'm not sure when Mr. Devlin came in, but he was there and well known when I came to the laboratory. He was always very cooperative in making us anything we wanted, sub rosae. An aside in that connection is that they had set up a terribly bureaucratic system that we had to go through, about three or four different people to get anything done, if you started an order here. But Mr. Devlin was great. He’d undertake it right away and finished it, even though the order would not get to him for three or four months (laugh).

DeVorkin:

Oh, no.

Tousey:

And long before that, we would have gotten what we wanted.

DeVorkin:

That's Mr. A.J. Devlin?

Tousey:

Yes. So, he said, sure, he thought he could make spheres, and he did. I don't know how he did it, but he did it.

DeVorkin:

But you don't know the process?

Tousey:

No. I think it was classical polishing and grinding procedures.

DeVorkin:

Fascinating. Yes. Okay, the design.

Tousey:

I don't know who made the little holders for the beads. I can't remember, but the beads were the tricky thing to get.

DeVorkin:

Now, the contract with Baird was originally for something like three of these.

Tousey:

I believe so; then we contracted for some more.

DeVorkin:

Yes, three or four more, or something like that?

Tousey:

Something like that.

DeVorkin:

Your June test was the first firing that was buried; how did it come about that you decided to move the spectrograph to the tail? Do you know who first suggested that?

Tousey:

No, I don't know where that suggestion came from. It might have come from one of the German crew, It might have come from anywhere in the V-2 project; but as far as I know, it didn't originate at NRL, because I think I would have heard that it did, if it had. It came to us as a suggestion that maybe, if we mounted it there, we could retrieve it, so we went ahead and mounted it in the fin. And Charlie Strain was instrumental in arranging all that mounting business, together with people from the shop here.

DeVorkin:

Let's talk about the interests of the military making the space available for scientific instrumentation. Was there any interest in the Amy for the type of instruments that would be flown? Did they want to see the atmosphere better understood? And were there suggestions to try to determine militarily useful scientific experiments, because it sounded as though they were being very generous here with their firing schedule and with modifications and things like that.

Tousey:

I don't have a very good feeling for that. Shortly after the project was underway, the V-2 rocket panel was formed, and I was not on the panel.

DeVorkin:

In the beginning.

Tousey:

Yes, and the experimentation and the assignment of rockets were worked over by that panel pretty much. Newell's book probably has something.[2]

DeVorkin:

Yes, I'm working from that; but in the book it's about the same as I get in most places; the Army simply made the space available, was happy to make the space available.

Tousey:

That's the way it was.

DeVorkin:

And I'm just asking why, if you may know, or have some ideas?

Tousey:

I think they reserved some of the flights — I don't know what they wanted to do — for themselves. They put some experiments in. I don't know what the arrangement was. It may be that they had some tri-service agreement, for all I know, but I don't know what it was.

DeVorkin:

Who do you think would be the best person for me to talk to?

Tousey:

I think Nowell would, or Krause. They would be much conversant with that than I. And there are various military people whose names I have forgotten.

DeVorkin:

Toftoy; would he still be around?

Tousey:

I don’t know if he would still be around. There's a man named Puzinski; at that time he was a major in the Marine Corps, and was an officer who was assigned to us and living at White Sands, who was our man. He was very capable. As you probably know, we couldn’t use long distance telephone in those days.

DeVorkin:

No. I didn't know that.

Tousey:

It was almost impossible. The Navy and the armed services were extremely conservative. I never made a long distance call from here in the first years that I was here. You had to get the director's signature (laugh). And then during the war they clamped down on long distance calls over at the Navy Department. Larry Dunkleman can tell you all this because he was up there. He used to go out in the hall and use his own money to make long distance calls for the naval projects.

DeVorkin:

Just to save the frustration.

Tousey:

Yes. So Krause set up an amateur radio link between White Sands and NRL, and that's how we communicated for the first some months.

DeVorkin:

Well. That's not a bad idea.

Tousey:

Yes, it's not a bad idea, if you can't do it some better way.

DeVorkin:

During the times of the launches when you were here, was there communication by this amateur radio link?

Tousey:

I wasn't a party to it; I don't know, but I suppose there was. They may have. I don't know how long that lasted before they got telephone service.

DeVorkin:

Did you know the day and the hour of the launches?

Tousey:

I don’t know; I forget. But probably not, because they were always subject to slips. I don’t remember.

DeVorkin:

Yes, but it must have been something of a nerve-racking or tense time.

Tousey:

Well, it was worse when you were down there. If you were up here, you didn't worry about it very much.

DeVorkin:

I see. You had other things to do?

Tousey:

Oh yes. Probably at that time we were very busy trying to figure out how we were to develop this 25-foot-long roll of film. That was a big project in itself.

DeVorkin:

That's right. The way it was designed, I didn't know it was that long.

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

It was designed to begin taking pictures as soon as it launched? You had pictures starting at one kilometer, then eight, ten kilometers.

Tousey:

Yes, I guess it was then.

DeVorkin:

Was there an automatic sequence in the camera that passed the film?

Tousey:

There was an automatic sequence in the instrument. It was not controlled from the ground; no control from the ground for many, many years.

DeVorkin:

Yes. There was some sort of telemetry that told people that the camera was working.

Tousey:

Oh yes. Yes, there was telemetry back that said what it did, but no ground control telling it to do this or that. I don't believe that came in until about 1970.

DeVorkin:

Your 10th of October 1946 flight, which was really the successful flight that got everyone very excited, produced photographs up to 88 kilometers; but the rocket itself went higher. And it’s been reported by Krause and others that there was a malfunction somewhere. Do you recall anything about this?

Tousey:

I guess I don't. I've forgotten that completely. Which one was that, the first flight, or October 10?

DeVorkin:

That was October 10. That was the first successful flight.

Tousey:

I suppose that was from the telemetry then, probably. I don't remember.

DeVorkin:

It just simply said that that was the highest that the photographs were obtained, no higher. The rocket went higher.

Tousey:

I guess that's the case. It must be.

DeVorkin:

The rocket went higher; that's all. They didn't say why. Now, we're moving up to the end of 1946 to the AAS meeting, December in Cambridge, where you announced your results. I'm a little unsure as to what went on here. There was an article by you as the first author; then Strain, Johnson and Oberly, 1947.

Tousey:

That's 1947? Well, that's a later one.

DeVorkin:

Yes, that certainly wasn't the one that you reported on.

Tousey:

No.

DeVorkin:

Was it the October that you reported on in AAS?

Tousey:

Yes. But I don't know whether I have an abstract here. It should be here. Weren't those abstracts published in those days?

DeVorkin:

It was Tousey, Strain, Johnson and Oberly, 1947.[3] Baum might have left by then. Is that possible?

Tousey:

It's possible. (cross talk)

DeVorkin:

This is the Astronomical Journal?

Tousey:

Yes, this is the abstract of the Cambridge meeting, a copy of it. A. J. 52. June ‘46 to July ‘47, page 158, number 1162. The Solar Ultraviolet, V-2 Rocket. I think it's the first flight. For some reason, we weren't running to extremely multiple authors in those days.

DeVorkin:

That might be it, yes,

Tousey:

And Frank Johnson was slightly senior to Bill Baum. I don't know when he came, but he was put on this; so there were I, Strain, on the other side; Johnson, who I guess was my second person at that time, at least; and Oberly who was Strain's second person; that's the way it seems the chips fell. Bill Baum's Master's degree was from Caltech in ‘45. He had been a graduate assistant, Caltech, ‘43; Navy Liaison physicist, ‘44 to ‘45; graduate assistant, physics, ‘46 to ‘47; project engineer, JPL, ‘47 to ‘48; temporary instructor in optics, ‘48; physicist, Naval Research Laboratory, ‘46.

DeVorkin:

That's very concentrated for a lot of different positions. I think it's very hard to tell.

Tousey:

It's hard to tell, yes.

DeVorkin:

Oh, I can always ask him. That will be certainly easy enough.

Tousey:

And Frank Johnson obtained his Bachelor of Science, Alberta in ‘40; Master at UCLA in ‘42; I had forgotten that. Physicist, NRL, ‘46 on; so they came about the same time. I would have said that Frank Johnson came later than Baum; and I think, by just a very few months. When he came Dr. Hulburt received him, because Frank's professor in Alberta was a friend of Dr. Hulbert’s and told Frank to look in here; and Dr. Hulburt said: "What would you like to do?" and Frank said, "Well, anything you like." And he had some experience in extreme ultraviolet spectroscopy back in Alberta. So Dr. Hulburt said: "Well, go to work for Tousey." (laughs). It was that informal. And so he must have been assigned to the project right away, I guess. Evidently, it was before the October flight, because he wouldn't have had his name on the paper otherwise.

DeVorkin:

Right.

Tousey:

That's the letter. Yes, it's on the letter to the Editor: Baum, Johnson, Oberly, Rockwood, Strain and Tousey.[4]

DeVorkin:

That's right.

Tousey:

Durand, that's the thing; Durand came in later. Yes, he came after the beginning, and he's on the second paper.

DeVorkin:

He's on the paper where you have that very high quality spectrum.[5]

Tousey:

This one, just a little later.

DeVorkin:

Yes, it's Durand, Oberly and Tousey. Now, this is the March 7, 1947 flight, where you were lucky to have the roll of the V-2 in such a way that it was perpendicular to the dispersion of the instrument.

Tousey:

Oh yes.

DeVorkin:

There was no way to control that, of course. And so, this was the first really high-quality spectrum that allowed for the determination of many, many lines. What I would like to determine is: first of all, you've recollected in a number of your review papers that your December, 1946 talk at the AAS made everyone very, very excited over what you were doing, in particular, Henry Norris Russell. I would like to have your recollections as they are of Dr. Russell's reactions, and other reactions, by Menzel or Shapley, and people like that; and then ask you about this spectrum here.

Tousey:

You might ask Charlotte Sitterly, if you see her out there in Colorado, what she remembers about it. I think she was at the meeting.

DeVorkin:

Right. Had you known her before?

Tousey:

No, I didn't know her then, even. I didn't know her, probably until just about that time. I don't know.

DeVorkin:

Were you introduced by Dr. Russell, possibly?

Tousey:

I don't think so. I didn't know Dr. Russell, either, except by name. But he made some flattering comments. My wife may remember them. She was there. I don't remember exactly what the comments were.

DeVorkin:

Did he ask you about line identifications?

Tousey:

Hmm, I don't remember that he did. I don't remember any specific questions at the end of that meeting. I can remember that it seemed as though there was a general hubbub of people talking to each other after they finished the usual round of applause. And Shapley asked immediately if he could borrow the slides, since he was going to Japan, I think it was. So I said, sure. And Menzel was very enthusiastic about it too. And he said, "I’d like to put you in for the annual prize they gave every Christmas meeting of the AAAS. So I wrote something up, and with his assistance, we put it together and submitted it to the AAAS, but it didn't make it.

DeVorkin:

It didn't get the prize?

Tousey:

No, it didn't get the prize; but that's an interesting commentary in connection with Menzel. He was highly enthusiastic about it.

DeVorkin:

Yes. You later heard from Boyce, the physicist, that Russell was very excited and was studying your spectra back at Princeton.

Tousey:

Did I hear it from Boyce?

DeVorkin:

This is another recollection. Do you want me to find it for you? I can easily do that.

Tousey:

Yes, if you have it somewhere.

DeVorkin:

Sure. The Astrophysical Journal, 1967, your recollections.

Tousey:

Yes, I had forgotten this; and this was something that Joe Boyce told me much later; namely, 1967, or so, I don't remember when he told me that, but much later. But Charlotte Sitterly would know about this, too, because she was up there. Was she at the Bureau of Standards then?

DeVorkin:

Oh yes, by then she was.

Tousey:

But she was still in close contact with Russell. I don't know just who it was but Durand or I made contact with Charlotte Sitterly first at the Bureau of Standards after we got the spectrum back. She might remember all that. She has a pretty good memory. Anyway, she probably (this is just a speculation) said: "Oh, you must send a copy of this to Henry Norris Russell." Or else, he may have asked me for a copy at that meeting; but I don't remember. I don't remember just how he happened to get the print that Joe Boyce saw him studying. (laughs).

DeVorkin:

Yes. Well, it's possible that this paper that appeared in 1947, June 1, the Physical Review paper,[6] that he was studying that one. Although that's quite long, so it's hard to say. Do you have your correspondence from that period? Are there official files here?

Tousey:

I don't know. That's a question. I may have. Do you want me to look for some?

DeVorkin:

I would appreciate it.

Tousey:

We’d better look.

DeVorkin:

After this session, we could see. We could take a look and see what exists.

Tousey:

It would be hard to find, I suspect.

DeVorkin:

Well, we could see what kind of organization there is.

Tousey:

There may be.

DeVorkin:

Was this really your first contact with astronomers?

Tousey:

I think so.

DeVorkin:

Had you been reading any astronomical literature before this time?

Tousey:

No, I didn't pay any attention to astronomical literature.

DeVorkin:

So, in 1942, when Edlen found the very high temperature of the corona, you didn't know about that at the time?

Tousey:

No, I didn't know about it.

DeVorkin:

When did you start reading astronomical literature, after this time?

Tousey:

After that.

DeVorkin:

Yes, what did you read, the ApJ, primarily?

Tousey:

I don't believe I read very much (laugh). Any solar papers that came out, and that's about it. I guess I probably told you I was exposed briefly to astronomy at Harvard when I was a graduate student, when my roommate, H.M. James, dragged me to some of Plaskett's lectures on astrophysics, and I went for only two or three times. It didn't interest me. (laughs).

DeVorkin:

What didn't interest you? What was it?

Tousey:

Well, I was busy, and it wasn't up my alley. I wanted to get my degree out I guess.

DeVorkin:

You noted that the two objectives of V-2 war work; and this is in NRL Report No. 3, page 7, that you wrote with Durand, called: "Astrophysics and Atmospheric Composition" : You noted that the two objectives of the V-2 ultraviolet work were: 1) studying the composition of the sun and physical processes there; and 2) "Composition of the Earth's Upper Atmosphere.” But were those your real interests, or was it really making a machine work under those crazy conditions?

Tousey:

I think those were our primary objectives.

DeVorkin:

The scientific objectives.

Tousey:

And it happened that they fitted in with the military applications. That was nice; and we didn't limit ourselves to subjects or questions which were really directly and immediately connected to military projects; but we always have and still do try to find justification for everything we are interested in, and occasionally do things that are justified, but which are not our primary interest.

DeVorkin:

Did you have to justify these purposes?

Tousey:

Not in those days, no. That was later.

DeVorkin:

When did that happen? You know, over a period of years?

Tousey:

It seems as though it's gotten more important and more troublesome every year. It's a monotonic curve, positive slope; or should I say, negative slope? (laugh).

DeVorkin:

Would you say that your interest was also with experimental techniques in any way? I mean, were you just more comfortable with them?

Tousey:

Oh, yes, they were interesting in themselves, and most of those got written up and published in the Journal of the Optical Society of America. They were connected with physical optics if you want to call it that. They are not theoretical, but they were experimental physics. So I guess I have always been more interested in — when it comes right down to the line — experimental physics than in theoretical physics, although I did well enough in theoretical physics when I was a graduate student; well enough so that Slater offered to be my advisor on something.

DeVorkin:

But to me, it is still interesting that you continued on, you persevered under these adverse conditions; whereas, astronomers who would have been much more interested in the sun, gave up immediately.

Tousey:

Well, they were established and had their faculty positions; and their livelihood depended on teaching and research at universities, if you want to look at it in a dollar cents way. That's the way they felt they would get ahead most rapidly, if you want to be sanguine about it. And I was very happy here, and had my try at teaching for five years, and research at a university, and decided this was very much better. (laughs). So I had no intention at any time of really leaving here to go into something else; whereas, these other people who were on the project did feel that they could or should. Frank Johnson had to go out and get a doctor's degree, which he got in meteorology, and Baum finished up in ultraviolet. Durand had his degree. Strain was settled here. I don't know about Oberly and the others. They didn't get doctors' degrees. I don't know whether that explains it or not, if it hits the nail on the head or not.

DeVorkin:

I think so. I think that's a very good statement. You mentioned that there was the military applications aspect in a way. Was it more with knowing about the nature of the radiation of the sun, or was it getting to know more about the earth's upper atmosphere? Is there anything you feel you can say about that?

Tousey:

I think I have always considered them of equal relevance to life on the earth, and military operations. Obviously, what you get for radiation on the earth depends on those two things. (laughs) Equally, if you want, you can't compare them numerically in importance.

DeVorkin:

But did you have any contact with people who were interested in ballistics at that time, who wanted to know the structure of the atmosphere precisely, to be able to predict ballistic paths?

Tousey:

Not ballistics, no; but ionospheric structure was the one; the passage of radiation through the atmosphere, yes. It was very closely connected with the ionospheric theories and applications of ionospheric research. Because that is part of atmospheric absorption, I should have included the ionosphere in this, as well as the ozonosphere. Actually, I think Friedman's solar work was more closely tied to the ionosphere, because it reached shorter solar wavelengths much sooner than the spectroscopic work did.

DeVorkin:

Right. Talking more about astronomers, did you meet people like Goldberg or Spitzer at that time?

Tousey:

Yes, I don't remember when I first met Goldberg, and Aller. Goldberg and Aller were together pretty much. Yes, I remember very well meeting Spitzer. Who was the head of the National Science Foundation in the beginning for many years?

DeVorkin:

Waterman.

Tousey:

Waterman, yes, he had just come, or was he at Princeton then?

DeVorkin:

Spitzer?

Tousey:

Waterman.

DeVorkin:

I'm not sure.

Tousey:

No, he was at ONR; that's it. Yes.

DeVorkin:

Yes.

Tousey:

Spitzer was at Princeton. He wanted to horn in on it.

DeVorkin:

On?

Tousey:

The V-2 spectroscopic project.

DeVorkin:

Spitzer did?

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Ah, fascinating. (laugh)

Tousey:

Ah, Lyman.

DeVorkin:

Yes.

Tousey:

Was a good friend just the same.

DeVorkin:

That's why he was named Lyman; wasn’t it?

Tousey:

I don't know; it might be (laugh). I never happened to ask him that. Anyway, they worked it through Krause. Lyman came from Princeton, ‘37; Ph.D. in astrophysics.

DeVorkin:

Right. He was under Russell.

Tousey:

Yes, and then he went to Yale for a while. Maybe that's where Waterman came from. It seems as though it is.

DeVorkin:

But in any event, they came together somehow?

Tousey:

Yes, we had a meeting up at ONR, called by Waterman, I guess. Krause and I went, and Lyman Spitzer was there. And Spitzer (laughs) — I’ll tell you the way I remember it — tried his best to convince us to amalgamate the whole project through ONR, Waterman, and have it under Princeton, under Spitzer (laughs). I think that's the way it was. Alan Waterman, here we have it, A.B., Princeton, 1913; M.A. and Ph.D., Physics, Princeton. Instructor of Physics, Cincinnati, and Yale, ‘19 to ‘23, so I'm right about that, and even later up to ‘48.

DeVorkin:

So he was at Yale; that's where they met.

Tousey:

That's where he was. Vice-Chairman, Division D, NDRC. Chief Scientist, Planning Division, Office of Research and Inventions, 1946. That was the predecessor of ONR.

DeVorkin:

The Office of Research and Inventions.

Tousey:

Yes. And then Deputy Chief and Chief Scientist, Office of Naval Research, 1947 on. So he was in a sort of a command position, in a way — this unpleasant relation that has always existed, in a way — we have always felt that ONR was trying to run our things. And this was a good case. Krause obviously didn't really want to have the project go up to be under Princeton; but was playing his cards close to his chest, and being nice. But I said what I thought. I can remember the various proposals that Lyman made of an experimental nature. I don't remember what they were, but that I shot them all down, and showed that we had thought about all those things, and pretty much killed the whole thing as a result. That was the end of it.

DeVorkin:

Are any of these in writing?

Tousey:

No, not that I know of.

DeVorkin:

Okay; so he had thought up a number of things to do. Was that really why he wanted to be involved, because he thought he had ideas that other people didn't?

Tousey:

Yes, I think he thought they could do it better at Princeton than we could do it here in the Navy.

DeVorkin:

From the scientific side, or from the technological side?

Tousey:

Both, probably. Lyman is a great empire builder, and he had really not started building an empire then, so it may have been one of the first things he thought out to do in empire building, for all I know.

DeVorkin:

When he was at Yale, there was an interest in bringing Goldberg to Yale to form some sort of a space astronomy group. Now, this would have been just before that, because he had already come to Princeton. I didn't get it right, though; he came to Princeton in ‘47?

Tousey:

Let's see.

DeVorkin:

I'm wondering if this was after the October 10th flight?

Tousey:

I don't know. Spitzer: B.A., ‘35; Yale, ‘39 to ‘4l; Astronomy and Physics, ‘41-’42; Scientist, special studies group; Research Associate in Astrophysics, Yale, ‘44-’46; Associate Professor, ‘46-’47; Professor of Astronomy and Chairman, ‘47 on. So it was —

DeVorkin:

That was Princeton.

Tousey:

Princeton, right.

DeVorkin:

So, when did he move to Princeton?

Tousey:

Sometime in ‘47.

DeVorkin:

So it was after your October flights, after your first successes, okay. Would you mind if I ask Dr. Spitzer about his recollections of this?

Tousey:

No, no.

DeVorkin:

That would be all right?

Tousey:

Sure.

DeVorkin:

Okay, fine. I've already interviewed him, but we didn't talk too much about space astronomy. I interviewed him for his Russell contacts, primarily.

Tousey:

Oh, yes.

DeVorkin:

Did you have any continued contact with Dr. Spitzer after that?

Tousey:

No, not for a good long time. I can't remember when it —

DeVorkin:

How was the decision made not to go with Princeton?

Tousey:

I suppose Waterman did. Waterman probably dropped it at that.

DeVorkin:

You mean, it wasn't followed up?

Tousey:

I don't know. I never heard any more about it, that I remember.

DeVorkin:

In your paper on the 1947, March 7th flight, you noted that Donald Menzel offered an explanation of the phenomena that you saw, based upon solar activity that he noted about an hour before your flight. I'm wondering: were you coordinating observations somehow with Harvard? Or was he just taking continuous records, and then went back?

Tousey:

The latter, I think, is correct. I don't believe we were coordinating at that time.

DeVorkin:

Okay, because it didn't sound like it would be possible, with all of the setbacks and everything.

Tousey:

I don't think so.

DeVorkin:

All right. What were your contacts with Jesse Greenstein, if any?

Tousey:

Just about none.

DeVorkin:

Okay. He was working mainly out of APL?

Tousey:

Was he at APL?

DeVorkin:

He was never there, but through the rocket panel, they gave him a berth on a V-2. He built his equipment and it was tested at APL, and it went up.

Tousey:

I didn't know that.

DeVorkin:

I don't think he had any position there at all, himself. Okay.

Tousey:

Yes, we haven't talked about the APL side yet.

DeVorkin:

When did you first come into contact with the APL people, and what kind of competition did you find yourself in with them?

Tousey:

This is Van Allen; he was at APL, I think.

DeVorkin:

Yes, completely, even during the war.

Tousey:

He was not particularly interested in solar spectroscopy. Well, J.J. Hopfield was there. He was an old timer in the extreme ultraviolet. And when he was in California somewhere, he wrote many good papers on spectroscopy. What he was doing at APL, I don't know, but apparently Van Allen recognized this. You'd have to ask Jim how he got into it, and proposed to Hopfield that they build a spectrograph — that they try it; and Hopfield decided that he would like to. He and Clearman — I don't know very much about Clearman— quite independently built a spectrograph for the V-2 also; and they had a somewhat more sophisticated instrument in one respect. I don't remember what the instrument was like, except that it had a one-axis guiding device, I think.

DeVorkin:

Sun Follower?

Tousey:

A one-axis thing that helped somewhat. It was quite a different instrument. They flew it. I don't remember what the date of their successful flight was, but they got a very good spectrum, somewhat after us. It is in one of these papers somewhere.

DeVorkin:

I have a list here from the Newell book in the 1950's. Here is an APL solar radiation that could have been 24th October, 1946. And the next one didn't have any solar radiation, for APL through ‘47. APL solar radiation, April, ‘47. Solar radiation, APL, April, ‘47.

Tousey:

Probably it was one of those.

DeVorkin:

Yes, later on. Okay.

Tousey:

I think they got their paper out, a good paper, before we did. Do you have a reference to it?

DeVorkin:

No, I don't. I'd be interested to know. Is Hopfield still around?

Tousey:

No, Hopfield is gone.

DeVorkin:

What is it you are reading from now, "Space Science Reviews?"

Tousey:

That one: "Hopfield and Clearman." Phys. Rev. 73, page 877, 1948. I probably have some statement of when they did that here in my review article, the "Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrum of the Sun."[7]

DeVorkin:

Yes. This is a good article.

Tousey:

I don't give the date of that flight. This was soon followed by another photograph by the APL. They got a nice spectrum. I don't remember, without looking it up, what wavelength range it covered.

DeVorkin:

That's all right. That reference will be enough. I know that I have that review article.

Tousey:

And Jim Van Allen got into it, too; and with Hopfield built a photoelectric scanning monochrometer, I think that's right, specifically for determination of the vertical distribution of ozone, using the sun's spectrum, and flew it. About that time, things sort of collapsed at APL. I don't know for what reason, but Van Allen went to Iowa, and I guess Hopfield was out of a job. Anyway, he asked us if we could use him, and Shirley Silverman was involved in this too, because he was at APL. He's no longer alive.

DeVorkin:

What happened there? Do you know why it fell out?

Tousey:

I don't know. I suppose there was some change in direction at the end of the war.

DeVorkin:

This was already ‘50 when Van Allen left. He might have left a few years later.

Tousey:

I think that final flight of the ozone monochrometer was about in that time. There is some obscure publication of the results, but Jim never got around to write it up for regular publication, though it was a good piece of work. We hired Hopfield, and he came to work for us and worked for us two years, until he died of a heart attack. But he was involved at White Sands. He was in the V2 project with us, or maybe it was the Aerobee project by then. No, it was still the V2. I knew him very well, and of course, his oldest son is an eminent person now, a member of the National Academy and at Princeton, I guess, a professor; or else he's at the Institute for Advanced Studies. I forget which. John Hopfield.

DeVorkin:

Yes. So you really didn't have any of this aggressive competition?

Tousey:

No, it was pretty much independent. We wondered why it had been so independent, but that's just the way it was. Even though they were funded by the Navy, I think APL was not at all close to NRL; at least, my part of NRL, quite separate. Neither did they seem close through the Hopkins route. They were a kind of annex.

DeVorkin:

In the late ‘40's, as you continued flying experiments, you flew on six flights, four that were successful, a calcium sulphate manganese-activated phosphor, that was Watanabe, Purcell and yourself. You mentioned there that due to insufficient exposure time for the regular film emulsions in the spectrograph, you weren't getting down to the extreme ultraviolet, down to Lyman alpha as you hoped; and you had that 2100 angstrom cut-off. Were you also, as you were developing these phosphors, getting more and more interested in pointing controls?

Tousey:

Yes, we were. We built one of the first for a V-2 rocket, actually, and flew it. This was a tremendous effort. Here it is.

DeVorkin:

"The Sun Follower," yes, That's in Electronics.[8] How did this develop?

Tousey:

Well, the Air Force instituted a project at the University of Colorado fairly early in the game; and this was out of Air Force Cambridge when it was in South Boston. I cannot remember the name of the man who was in back of it, but he was the prime mover of the Air Force on the V-2 panel. His approach was to build a pointing control that would point an instrument at the sun; and his excuse for doing this, believe it or not, his original excuse, I can remember very well. It was to get a color photograph of the sun's corona outside the earth's atmosphere. And we thought that was the most absurd thing to be trying to do, absolutely absurd. (laughs)

DeVorkin:

Who was doing this, Clark?

Tousey:

No, this was the man in charge of the Air Force project for the development of the solar pointing device for, I think it was originally, the V-2 rocket. And then it immediately went over to an Aerobee rocket.

DeVorkin:

Did he know he’d need a mask and a baffle and everything?

Tousey:

I don't think he knew anything (laughs). I don't know. He may have had in mind something else; because very soon thereafter, as soon as they got it underway, they decided the thing now to do was to point a spectrograph at the sun, and get an improved extreme ultraviolet spectrum. I wish I could remember his name. It doesn't really matter. But Pietenpohl, who was professor of physics at Colorado, was the one in charge of this. And we're not going to get through today, I can see that, because it's rather complex the way the whole thing developed in those days. And I guess this is almost at the end of the V-2 period, though; because everything was transferring over to Aerobee rockets. That's the way the Colorado project started. Pietenpohl was in charge; he gathered together a number of graduate students and others there, and they did succeed in building the first bi-axial pointing control.

DeVorkin:

That was all for Aerobee?

Tousey:

Eventually; I think it started in the V-2 period, but I am not absolutely sure. Anyway, it soon transferred into the Aerobee period, So, maybe you want to out off at that.

DeVorkin:

No, that's all right.

Tousey:

That's all right? Then, the NRL sun follower may have been — I can't remember — so to speak, an attempt to get ahead of Van Allen, who had a one-axis sun follower.

DeVorkin:

This is Harry Clark's, yes?

Tousey:

Yes. Harry Clark and I said to Dr. Hulburt: "Why don't we make a two-axis sun follower?" And Harry Clark was head of the infrared project in our division, and was the one who conducted the work from blimps.

DeVorkin:

Blimps, yes.

Tousey:

He was very expert at electronics; and he said, sure, he could build one; and he did build one. That's it. And it was fairly advanced. The entire V-2 nose section was mounted on a big ring bearing for the rotation. And there was an elevation axis; and the spectrograph went out the side. So it was a very complex thing; and used a solar sensor that was really quite an advanced idea at the time.

DeVorkin:

Figure 4, yes. It was installed and fired?

Tousey:

Yes, and it also had a parachute in it. The parachute came from Wright Field in Dayton, and they said, "Sure, it was bound to work." They had a great deal of experience with parachutes. And it worked on the ground. That was another development, to get some kind of shaped charges around to blow the thing off and test it on the ground, and see if the doors came off and the parachute came out. We flew it; and this was the V-2 that was headed for "Truth and Consequences," the town or village in New Mexico, so they cut the engine, destroyed the rocket, and from the photographs taken from one of the big tracking telescopes that the Army had by then, you could just barely see the nose coming off, and maybe the parachute coming around. But we searched and searched, and we never were able to find any remains from that flight.

DeVorkin:

That's a pity. There was a spectrograph in there, and everything.

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Now, this was not one of your original spectrographs? This must have been a different one?

Tousey:

I've forgotten. I don't know.

DeVorkin:

It's hard to see, but there is just a profile there. This has a lens here. (Looking at illustration in Electronics.) It says modified spectrograph, yes,

Tousey:

I suppose it was modified somehow. It probably had a slit. It was launched on April 19, 1948. I can’t remember what the modifications of that instrument were any more. I guess it wasn't that critical. So that was our sun follower, and we never had the money or the courage to try it again, And it was about the end of the period of the V2s. I guess they went a little while after that; yes, several more years. The Aerobee took over.

DeVorkin:

You gave a nice historical report in your collected papers on why you used a phosphor. This was the first direct evidence of extreme ultraviolet and x-ray radiation from the sun. Was your purpose in taking those phosphors up simply to confirm that x-ray radiation existed?

Tousey:

Yes. And get some kind of measure of the intensity, not only of x-rays, but also of Lyman alpha. When did we first fly that?

DeVorkin:

There were six attempts with four successes.

Tousey:

November, ‘48, beryllium filter doubtful; lithium fluoride; calcium fluoride. So, November, ‘48; February, ‘49; this even comes ahead of Friedman's flight; doesn't it? His was ‘49. Oh yes, this is covered in here (NRL Report 3733) pretty well, I think. At that time, we felt that the chance of getting a spectrum down to Lyman alpha was not too good, owing to the lack of a pointing control, although the V-2 pointing system was supposed to do the solar pointing.

DeVorkin:

The V2 Sun Follower, yes.

Tousey:

After the failure of the first flight of the V2 Sun Follower and loss of the equipment, we felt discouraged about putting so much into it again, and Harry Clark had other things to do. So this phosphor detector was just an extra idea. We didn't build the sun follower again, and we took up this phosphor method, which was a quick and dirty way, so to speak, of perhaps observing Lyman alpha emission from the sun above the atmosphere. And as I mentioned in here, it followed Burnight's attempt to pick up x-rays. Oh yes, I should tell you about that — his attempt to pick up x-rays from the sun.

DeVorkin:

This was Burnight?

Tousey:

Yes. Burnight. I think it was mostly Burnight. But that in itself is an interesting story. It was published in the Physical Review. The reference is in here.

DeVorkin:

Yes, in your paper.[9]

Tousey:

He had the idea of using thin beryllium filters. I'm sure lots of people did, including Friedman, because it is perfectly obvious that thin beryllium will transmit x-rays. That's been known for years and years. It was Burnight's idea to put a thin beryllium filter in front of a Schumann plate and fly it. He got the Schumann plates from the Bureau of Standards. He put the whole thing together, and this was one of Krause's projects, I guess. We were not involved in it. Krause kept this for himself, I guess, Burnight was off on his own. Anyway, he flew these Schumann plates and filters and got positive results. But nobody believed his results, particularly Friedman.

DeVorkin:

Really?

Tousey:

Yes. And they weren't terribly clear-cut. They seemed to be okay, but people found it hard to believe them. So, I guess my idea was that we might as well have a try, for Lyman alpha with the thermo luminescent phosphor, and maybe it would respond to x-rays as well as to extreme ultraviolet. And we found that it did, and we flew it. So we made up this contraption that had different filters on it.

DeVorkin:

Was it well known that the calcium sulphate-manganese-activated phosphor would be sensitive below 1300 angstroms, or was that something you had to discover?

Tousey:

No, that goes back to Theodore Lyman. That's in the other reference. And Lyman got the idea from an earlier source. (E. Wiedemann and G.C. Schmidt, Wied. Ann. 54, 604 (1895). It's in my review paper. Anyway, it goes back to the turn of the century.

DeVorkin:

Right. So you knew that that was the phosphor you wanted to use.

Tousey:

Yes, I knew that that was the one that was responsive, because Lyman had shown this and written a paper on it too. So, after talking to Professor Lyman, I proposed using it. Kenichi Watanabe came about that time, and became highly involved in the whole project. It was he, more than anyone else, who carried it through. After finishing that project he left and went to AFCRL in South Boston, where he stayed for quite a long time. And then he went back to Hawaii. There he provided the impetus for leading Hawaii into spectroscopic research, And I think he had a hand in getting McAllister out there and started in solar spectroscopy in Hawaii. But, unfortunately, Watanabe died some ten or fifteen years ago. He was a native of Hawaii and was teaching there when World War II began. He had already gotten a doctor's degree under John Strong on measurements of ozone from infrared spectroscopy when Strong was at Caltech. But because of his Japanese descent he was interned during the war. That affected his whole life afterward, of course. So, when he was released from internment, he came to this country; that is, the Mainland, and was at Wabash College. After a year, someone suggested to Watanabe that he might find a position at NRL, and we hired him. He worked for us for two or three years. This, I think, was his principal project. He worked at the same time on a theoretical project to reduce ozone measurements that we had made from ground simultaneously with the measurements on the early V-2 rocket flights. We made the ground measurements with a Dobson spectrophotometer from Sacramento Peak. This was before the Sac Peak Observatory was built. The measurement of ozone was another main project associated with the solar work from the V-2s. I took the Dobson spectrophotometer up to Sac Peak and measured the total ozone. I also tried to get measurements of vertical distribution of ozone by using the Umkehr effect method.

DeVorkin:

This was during V-2 flights?

Tousey:

Yes, during 1947 and ‘48. Anyway, Watanabe's first job was to reduce the Umkehr data to try to get the vertical distribution, a difficult calculation, which he did and the results were published.[10] His primary job, however, was to work with the thermo luminescent phosphor, and he did just about all of the development of the methods for using this phosphor for radiation detection in the extreme ultraviolet and x-rays.

DeVorkin:

Yes. So, when the V2s went up, carrying the phosphors, you were at Sac Peak with this instrumentation for ozone measurements?

Tousey:

Yes, for calibration of the ozone observations from the V2.

DeVorkin:

Had you had the idea of using the phosphor beforehand, or was this only after the lack of acceptance of the results of the beryllium test?

Tousey:

After Burnight's work, I think.

DeVorkin:

Now, you built a number of canisters to put these phosphors in, and everything. Are any of these canisters left?

Tousey:

I'm afraid not. Burnight finally wrote it up. Incidentally, I think Friedman has always been slightly doubtful that Burnight really discovered solar x-rays, but I was pretty much convinced that he did.

DeVorkin:

In other words, you gave credit to Burnight.

Tousey:

Yes, and as soon as Friedman re-measured x-ray radiation from the sun photoelectrically, there seemed to be no particular reason why one shouldn't accept Burnight’s discovery.

DeVorkin:

Friedman's technique was completely different though?

Tousey:

Yes. Friedman made use of Geiger-Mueller counters, very excellent work, no question about it. But Burnight's work wasn't so bad. Burnight finally published the work somewhere, but it's in an obscure place.

DeVorkin:

It's enough. I'm sure I can retrieve it.

Tousey:

It's a long article.[11]

DeVorkin:

Okay.

Tousey:

Incidentally, Burnight left the whole project, and left NRL as soon as he got a doctor's degree. My secretary used to be the secretary of Burnight and also of Jack Clark, who became director of Goddard. Burnight and Jack Clark were working together for awhile on Navy projects. I don't think that Jack Clark was ever involved in the rocket project at NRL. He was running around in aircraft, measuring atmospheric electricity of some sort. Anyway, that was the connection. I inherited their secretary when both of them left.

DeVorkin:

During some of your papers in ‘48, ‘49, and also in the phosphor paper, you acknowledge F.S. Johnson and J.D. Purcell, who, as you said, prepared the spectrographs for flight, and that they were working in the micron waves section, Optics Division. Could you define what that section is, micron wave section, what that means?

Tousey:

Yes. That was my "thumbing my nose" at the requirement to produce names for all administrative groups, such as sections. I don't remember what all the sections in the division were called, but we had to reorganize at that time.

DeVorkin:

When was this about, after the war, or ‘49?

Tousey:

Yes, just after the war. I had been the head of the Instruments Section. Then it was changed to the Instruments Branch. Then, they didn't like that. They thought "Instruments Branch” was a bad name to have for a branch, and I had to think up a better name. I was working both in the visible region through the physiological optic work in the extreme ultraviolet, and somewhat in the infrared. So I said, "I guess I'll call it the Micron Waves Branch; I’ll lay claim to everything within an order of magnitude each way from one micron (laugh)." That took me down to about 1000 angstroms, I guess. It did cover the range that I was involved in fairly well. And as I knew it would, it led to confusion with a microwave branch in another division.

DeVorkin:

That's marvelous. In preparing the spectrographs for flight, that meant Baum and Johnson made sure that the equipment was working as it came from Baird, or what?

Tousey:

I guess we watched over it all and then at NRL we did all the focusing and preparation for flight.

DeVorkin:

Yes, all the alignment and focusing?

Tousey:

Alignment and focusing, and calibration procedures.

DeVorkin:

When did you begin to think about seriously modifying the original design? I know that the spectrograph you pointed out to me that was flown on the Viking, and some of the ones planned for the others, were quite different. They are more rectangular, not spherical, to fit snugly into spherical cones. Is this something we should talk about, about the V-2 era; or should we wait until we are finished with the V-2s?

Tousey:

I think it follows the V-2 era pretty much. It's a different chapter. I think we knew that both the Viking and the Aerobee were available, but the Viking went higher; so we opted for the Viking. And then the Viking project turned into the Vanguard project, so that pretty much put an end to our using a research rocket; similarly for the Rocket Sonde group, which was by then under Townsend, I guess. So, both he and we had to change over to Aerobee rockets.

DeVorkin:

Yes. Wasn't the Viking somewhat curtailed by the Korean War, or something like that?

Tousey:

No, I don't think so. The Viking was modified into the Vanguard launch project.

DeVorkin:

In the early ‘50's. Yes. I think that was already, a little later. Anyway, the important thing is that there was no major change of design during the V-2 era, at this point.

Tousey:

That's true. We didn't modify that instrument, except, apparently the one that went into the sun-follower.

DeVorkin:

That's right; okay.

Tousey:

That instrument stayed pretty much as it was; but we did fly in addition this thermo luminescent experiment.

DeVorkin:

Right, which looked to be very interesting.

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Well, then as the last question, formal question, anyway, could you provide me an evaluation of the scientific work that you did with the V-2s, sort of a recollection, an overall feeling for the progress that you made?

Tousey:

Yes, I think so. We got a reasonably good spectrum, much improved over the very first. Our analysis work, however, was always behind, in fact, it always has been. That's why Mrs. Sitterly is now involved in our getting out a paper on some of the old spectra of the 60's. I think our final paper on analysis of the solar spectrum from the V-2 era is this one: Durand, Oberly and Tousey, ApJ 1949, Volume 109. Yes.[12] That is a line list of Identifications. And this is how Mrs. Sitterly entered. She provided prepublication copies of her manuscripts on extreme ultraviolet multiple table work that she was engaged in at the time.

DeVorkin:

Was she stimulated to do this by the need to identify the lines you were finding, or was this something else?

Tousey:

You had best ask her, but I think it was a combination of Henry Norris Russell's interest in the shorter wavelengths, and the needs of spectroscopists, generally. Maybe it was an extension of her original solar work and an anticipation of what would be needed. It probably resulted at first from that, and the extreme ultraviolet spectroscopic work done in various laboratories all over the world. But I don't believe much was done in the X U V at that time at the Bureau of Standards; more was being done by Edlen at Lund, and by Joe Boyce while at Princeton, followed by Shenstone.

DeVorkin:

So then, your primary product, scientific product, was an identified line list, identifying the atomic terms, energy levels, and that sort of thing.

Tousey:

Yes, and this is it. Her multiplet numbers are here.

DeVorkin:

Right.

Tousey:

As to the value of the scientific work done in the V-2 era, I should mention also that our solar spectra were used for determining the vertical distribution of ozone in the earth's atmosphere; this had never before been accomplished, although it was attempted from balloons. And a third achievement was the determination of the intensity distribution in the solar spectrum below 2900A, imprecise though this was.

Tousey:

At the Applied Physics Lab solar work from the V-2 rockets somewhat the same as ours was done by Hopfield and Clearman. They produced an excellent paper on the lines in the solar ultraviolet, better than ours in some ways.[13]

DeVorkin:

Why so?

Tousey:

I think they had more lines in their spectra and that's the only respect.

DeVorkin:

You said they had more lines?

Tousey:

They had more lines. Ours was the first. Then they came along with one that was better; and we had one that was not quite as much better. And they got their paper out before we got this one out by a few months, as it happened. It must have been in preparation at the same time as our paper.

DeVorkin:

That's all right. I can certainly retrieve that. I notice the next paper you have in here, dated 8 August 1955, which is a typescript, is: "Spectrograph Experiments in Rockets," and that you identify in paragraph description exactly what happened, first; and the second one was V-2 No. 12 October 10th; the third was December 5th of ‘46, so on and so f orth. What was this for? It looks like a manuscript.[14] Was it a talk?

Tousey:

I don't know,

DeVorkin:

That’s not in the collected papers that you lent me.

Tousey:

They didn't include everything.

DeVorkin:

That’s right. They didn't.

Tousey:

Oh, here’s another reference to the sun.

DeVorkin:

Upper atmosphere research report 20, "Light Weight Azimuth-Correcting." Harry Clark, December 7, 1953, NRL Report 4267. Okay, this is another report on the Sun Follower, yes.

Tousey:

Here's another place where it appears.

DeVorkin:

His work on the sun follower?

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Reticles in Electrical 0ptical Devices; Pergamon Press. Lucien Biberman, ed. He shows his error sensor. It's called the Clark reticle. He discusses it. That's good to know. That's a valuable reference.

Tousey:

Yes, I think it is.

DeVorkin:

Now here, these look more like Aerobee rockets.

Tousey:

That's right. Clark went on and adapted this control. He continued — I had forgotten this entirely — to a one-axis control for an Aerobee, but not using the same reticle; he built another type of control to take out the azimuth error.

DeVorkin:

Yes, this is the Report No. 20, yes.[15]

Tousey:

Yes. And so our instrument, in order to gather the sunlight, had to have a wide field in elevation only, not in azimuth too.

DeVorkin:

Hmm. Well, that helps a little bit.

Tousey:

That helps a LOT!

DeVorkin:

Yes (laugh). And this was already when you were into the Aerobee era?

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

Yes, fascinating. It is a very well documented report there.

Tousey:

Harry Clark was one of the hardest-working people I have ever known.

DeVorkin:

This is all since 1950. I may want to xerox this whole thing some time. That would be very, very useful.

Tousey:

This is another I wrote, "Solar Work at High Altitudes From Rockets."[16]

DeVorkin:

You recall that Kinpu asked you to write that, then, I take it.

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

These look like beautiful diagrams. What are these? Oh, they're for the article.

Tousey:

I guess so, yes. Different people's ideas on widening the field of view. Oh yes, here are the ones I was looking for. These are in a French publication, and I think there were several issues,[17] on atmospheric research. I think Professor Varsy of the Sorbonne was the one who solicited these articles. He followed our experiments very closely in this.

DeVorkin:

That's marvelous.

Tousey:

This was the dawn firing that got the ozone distribution.

DeVorkin:

June 14, 1949 on the Aerobee with the bead spectrograph, and a slit.

Tousey:

That's right.

DeVorkin:

Right. This is that more sophisticated one you're talking about, the servo-operated, corrugated mirror and slit, which was the APL experiment, July 27, 1947.

Tousey:

First, they had a diffuser slit spectrograph, and that didn't work. And then they used this thing, which I had forgotten about. And the Viking, apparently, first was in ‘52; I had forgotten. Oh yes, the one-axis sun follower was for that. Then we flew it later in the Aerobees, I guess. There is another one of these, I know, another one left. Now, this continues a bit.

DeVorkin:

That's really very valuable information, including the shortest wavelength, the resolution that was obtained; the results.

Tousey:

Yes, that's a handy-dandy listing.

DeVorkin:

Very nice. This came from a French report: "Commission to Study the Relations For Solar Terrestrial Phenomena. 1957." I think I’d better xerox these things. When do you think I might borrow?

Tousey:

Any time. I can xerox it. We can xerox it in here if the machine is running.

DeVorkin:

Okay; so as far as your own personal evaluation of your V-2 research, you'd say it was in the production of the far UV solar spectrum?

Tousey:

We also got good measurements of the vertical distribution of ozone. But the third experiment, which was in the Aerobee rocket, was the best, because this was especially designed for launching at sunrise, so that the path through the ozone would be maximized; and in this way, we followed the ozone up to 70 kilometers. I'm not sure that anyone yet has done any better than that.

DeVorkin:

Yes, that's pretty good.

Tousey:

Oh, there was a third major thrust. We attempted to calibrate the spectrograph, so that we obtained some data on the actual intensity distribution in the solar spectrum as a function of wavelength, which is also highly important, as we knew. But that was harder to do than to measure wavelengths; at least it's harder to do with accuracy sufficient to please the astrophysicists. The work on measuring the intensities in the solar spectrum still goes on, of course. There have been several atlases. Incidentally, I have just gotten in the mail a copy of the Smithsonian synthetic solar spectrum. Essentially, it's the Harvard Atlas updated. And it contains all molecular lines they can think of, and goodness knows what. It just came.

DeVorkin:

Talking about Smithsonian, did you have any contact with Abbott, or the other Smithsonian people during your V2 era?

Tousey:

No, they showed no interest in that at all, only in the star project that I told you about last time, I think.

DeVorkin:

The visibility.

Tousey:

Yes, the sextant for use in an aircraft.

DeVorkin:

That's right.

Tousey:

The Smithsonian pretty much dropped their work on solar radiation when the war came along. It was revived by Whipple when the Smithsonian project was set up at Harvard. Perhaps that was a result of the early solar work with the V2s. That's where Abbot came in too.

DeVorkin:

Whipple was still at Harvard during that time?

Tousey:

Yes, he wasn't actually involved. I don’t know exactly how Whipple got into it, except that I remember very well going in to see Menzel, who was very much interested, and Whipple happened to be in his office. I told them about Burnight's results with the Schumann emulsion filters, and they looked at each other, and essentially said: why didn't we do that? They had been thinking of doing the same thing, and they said to each other, in effect: we've gotten scooped (laugh).

DeVorkin:

(laugh) This was?

Tousey:

Whipple and Menzel.

DeVorkin:

In the 1940's sometime?

Tousey:

Yes, I think so. Yes, it must have been the late 1940's.

DeVorkin:

It must have been before you had done yours with the phosphor.

Tousey:

Yes, I talked about Burnight's experiment. It must have been just before we flew the thermo luminescent phosphor, in that little interim period. I think that was just about my first meeting with Whipple; it was in Menzel's office.

DeVorkin:

Did you make frequent visits up to Cambridge, or was it because you went up to Maine a lot?

Tousey:

I think it was mostly that we had quite a lot going on at Baird Associates.

DeVorkin:

Right; and so you always were up there.

Tousey:

Yes, and I used to drop in on Prof. Lyman when I could.

DeVorkin:

What was his feeling about the use of rockets? Was he delighted?

Tousey:

He was very pleased, indeed. I kept him informed. I sent him material and kept him informed.

DeVorkin:

That's great. What are your feelings about how the V2 era affected, or prepared you for continuing research with Vikings and Aerobees?

Tousey:

I think it was excellent preparation. I can't think of anything better.

DeVorkin:

Did you know there was going to have to be a scale down and a wait?

Tousey:

Well, yes. I guess my earlier remarks, before I knew what had been going on in rocketry in this country, were that it looks as though, when we were through with the V2s, we would never have another chance. And we all felt that we had to proceed with utmost haste in order to get some results out of these V2s before they all either fell apart or got used up, because we didn't know when we'd ever get anything to match them. That was my belief.

DeVorkin:

This was during the V2 era.

Tousey:

Yes.

DeVorkin:

When did you start feeling otherwise? Did everybody have that feeling?

Tousey:

I don't know. I suppose not. Obviously, the Viking people didn't. Rosen wouldn't have. I guess, I wasn't at all sure that the country would support any further work on this, but to the "dreamers, if you like — going on was a sure thing. I should have realized it too. On the other hand, not to was an advantage, because it made us work very hard.

DeVorkin:

Very interesting. Okay, unless there is anything you would like to add for this particular session, I want to thank you very much for it.

Tousey:

I guess that just about finishes my thoughts for the morning.

DeVorkin:

Thank you.

[1] R. Tousey, W.A. Baum, M.C. Greenough, F.S. Johnson, J.J Overly, and C.V. Strain, "Solar Spectroscope from the V-2 Rocket," Upper Atmosphere Report #1; NRL Report R-3030, (December, 1946).

[2] H. Newell. Beyond The Atmosphere (NASA, 1981).

[3] Tousey, F.S. Johnson, J.J. Oberly, and C.V. Strain, Solar Spectroscopy, Upper Atmosphere Report No. 2. NRL Report 3030 (Dec. 1946).

[4] W.A. Baum, F.S. Johnson, J.J. Oberly, C.C. Rockwood, C.V. Strain, and R. Tousey, "Solar Ultraviolet Spectrum to 88 Km," Phys. Rev. 70, 781-82 (1946).

[5] E. Durand, J. . Oberly, and R. Tousey, "Solar Absorption Lines Between 2050 and 2200 Angstroms," Phys. Rev. 71, 827 (1947).

[6] E. Durand, J.J. Oberly, and R. Tousey, "Solar Absorption Lines Between 2950 and 2200 Angstroms," Phys. Rev. 71, 827 (1947).

[7] R. Tousey, The Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrum of the Sun, Trans. Int'l. Astron. Union, X, 708-710 (1958).

[8] Clark, H.C., "A Sun Follower for V-2 Rockets," Electronics 23: 71-73, Oct, 1950. See also H.L. Clark, "A Sun Follower for V-2 Rockets,” NRL Upper Atmospheric Research Report No. IX (Rpt. #3522) 1949.

[9] K, Watanabe, J.D. Purcell, and R. Tousey, "Measurements of solar extreme ultraviolet and x-rays from Rockets by means of a CaSO : Mn phosphor," Phys. Rev. 83 792-7 (1951)

[10] F.S. Johnson, J.D. Purcell, K. Watanabe, R. Tousey, "Direct measurements of the vertical distribution of atmospheric ozone to 70 km altitude" J. Geophys. Research 57 (1952): 157-76.

[11] Physics and Medicine of the Upper Atmosphere. Eds. C.S. White, M.D. and 0.0. Benson Jr. Chapter XIII. Ultraviolet Radiation and x-rays of Solar Origin, T. Robert Burnight pp. 226-258 U. New Mexico Press 1952. Also Phys. Rev. 76; 165 (1949).

[12] E. Durand, J.J. Oberly, and R. Tousey "Analysis of the first Rocket ultraviolet solar spectra," Astrophysical J. 109 (1949) 1-16.

[13] Hopfield, J.J. and Clearman, H.E. Jr. Phys. Rev. 73, 877 1948.

[14] Can’t identify.

[15] H.L. Clark, "A Light-weight Azimuth Correcting Sun Follower,” NRL Upper Atmosphere Report XX (1953) (Rpt. 4267).

[16] R. Tousey, Solar Work at High Altitudes from Rockets in G. Kuiper, The Solar System (Chicago, 1953).

[17] R. Tousey, "Observations of the solar ultraviolet from Rockets," Conseil Int'l. des Unios Scientifiques - Noevieme Rapport de la Commission pour 1'Etude des Relations entre les Phenom Solaires et Terrestes.

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