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Family background; education (Ph.D. from University of California at Berkeley in 1950); academic affiliations. Experience at University of California at San Diego, and consultantship to the weapons laboratory at Los Alamos with Kenneth Watson leading to Project 137 (John Wheeler) which later became JASON; Brueckner's reasons for leaving JASON in 1966. Organization, collaboration and policy of JASON; significance and selection of projects; technical advice; preponderance of theoretical physicists in JASON; uniqueness and impact of JASON; other consultantships and advisory involvements.
B.A. in physics from New York University, 1940; graduate work at University of California at Berkeley; contacts with J. Robert Oppenheimer at Berkeley and Princeton University; move to industrial physics and Bell Labs; re-entered university life at University of Wisconsin; developed University of California Santa Barbara's Institute for Theoretical Physics. Majority of interview devoted to JASON: motivation for joining; chairmanship of JASON during Vietnam involvement; selection of projects; important projects; technical advice versus policy advice; impact of JASON. Also prominently mentioned are: Bruce Babbit, Hans Albrecht Bethe, Sidney David Drell, Richard Lawrence Garwin, Marvin Leonard Goldberger; American Physical Society, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Stanford Research Institute, Three Mile Island, United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, United States Navy, United States President's Science Advisory Committee, and University of California at Santa Barbara Quantum Institute.
Discusses his education and career; research on the effects of nuclear weapons explosions; JASON; the MIT Radiation Laboratory, 1942-1946; Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1949 onwards; factors contributing to JASON's founding and Los Alamos' role in it.
Origins of and affiliation with JASON; introduction to practical applications of physics through contact with Marvin Goldberger, Keith Brueckner, and Murray Gell-Mann at Los Alamos; move to Berkeley in 1957. Consulting with Goldberger and Gell-Mann for Convair, and reasons for their desire to form a private consulting firm; approach to the three by John Wheeler, Marvin Stern, and Charles Townes in order to form national security advisory group through Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA). Original JASON members; early projects on detection of nuclear tests; JASON's involvement with other agencies. Also prominently mentioned are: Joel Bengston, Nick Christofilos, Sidney David Drell, Val L. Fitch, David Abraham Katcher, Harold Warren Lewis, Herbert Frank York, Fredrik Zachariasen; and United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Second session deals mainly with science policy and science advising in the United States and Europe after World War II. Vice-president of International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), 1951-1954; chairman of U.S. NATO subcommittee (Henry Jackson); work for establishment of the NATO Science Council; U.S. delegate to the NATO Parliamentarians, Paris 1957. Discussion of his concern about scientific manpower; postwar Europe (Holland, France) leads to awareness of need for a national defense research laboratory in U.S. (discussed here at great length using correspondence, reports and memos); "Project 137" summer study (Los Alamos) (Marvin Goldberger, Kenneth Watson, Keith Brueckner); JASON. Discussions of pre-World War II Europe, war work at Metallurgical Laboratory, University of Chicago with Eugene Wigner (DuPont); scientific work on acceleration of cosmic rays (Enrico Fermi; elementary particle physics) leads to Directorship of Cosmic Ray Laboratory at Princeton University; work on general relativity; the Crunch, Geometrodynamics; the hydrogen bomb project; the J. Robert Oppenheimer affair. Much of the discussion is based on correspondence.