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Childhood; early interest in science (astronomy). Member of Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 1928. Special student at University of California at Berkeley, 1931, with Donald H. Menzel’s help. Regular student from 1932; comments on teachers and fellow students at Berkeley Student Observatory. Summer assistantship at Lick Observatory (Nicholas Mayall, Arthur B. Wyse), life at Lick Observatory. To Harvard University in 1937 for graduate studies; comparison between Harvard and Berkeley/Lick; teaching assistant at Radcliffe; 3-year membership in Harvard Society of Fellows, from 1939, of enormous importance for his development; works with Menzel and James G. Baker on the Theory of Physical Processes in Gaseous Nebulae, 1937; Analysis of the Atmospheres of the A-type Dwarfs Gamma Geminorum and Sirius based on data from Louis Berman; Jesse Greenstein. Comments on Harvard Summer Schools, Harlow Shapley’ s Square.” Volunteer teacher of elementary physics courses from 1942 at Harvard. Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, 1943-1945; work involved evaluation of the chemists and the Counting Group’s output from the electromagnetic separation process. Job offer from University of Indiana (Frank Edmunson) accepted due to cutback at Radiation Laboratory. Indiana years, 1945-1948, very productive (drafts for two astrophysics books); problems getting telescope time at Yerkes Observatory and unsatisfactory living conditions leads to acceptance of a promising tenured position at Michigan, a center with very active research due to Leo Goldberg; Robert McMath’s influence in the department; Keith Pierce and Aller’s work on infrared solar spectrum. Work performed at Mt. Wilson Observatory and Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. Goldberg resigns in 1959; comments on Aller’s decision to leave Michigan; discussions of funding; “over-head” (Aller’s talk at an AAS Meeting); comparison of Lick Observatory and Kitt Peak Observatory policies. Work at Mt. Stromio Observatory, Australia on sabbatical visits, 1960, 1968-1969, 1977-1978. Overview of opinions of the present state of astronomy. Comments on personal life, wife and children.
Family, early education, attendance at University of California at Berkeley, 1924-1928, and change to major in astronomy. Influence of William F. Myer, Charles D. Shane, Seth Nicholson, and Armin O. Leuschner. Research at Mt. Wilson Observatory with Walter Adams, Alfred Joy, Roscoe F. Sanford, John E. Merrill, Gustav Stromberg, and Theodore Dunham, 1929-1930; work with Nicholson on Pluto, with Milton Humason on spectra of stars, with Edwin Hubble on red shift. Return to Berkeley, 1930-1934; marriage, research at Lick Observatory for thesis, 1932. Career at Lick, association with Hubble, work on spectrum of crab nebula, direct rotation of galaxies, redshifts, gaseous nebulae. Work with Walter Baade and Horace Babcock, with Jerzy Neyman in statistics; position at Berkeley. War work at MIT Radiation Laboratory and Kellogg Laboratory, and Caltech. Return to Lick, 1945-1960; large telescope project. Director of Kitt Peak National Observatory, 1960; Lick moves to Santa Cruz; difficulties for directors of observatories, operation of Kitt Peak and Cerro Tololo. Social and scientific relations with Edwin Hubble and Milton Humason. Topics include early work on redshifts, preservation of his papers, thoughts on theories of the universe, ground and space based astronomy, his work on Mt. Wilson, his move to Kitt Peak, and public relations of astronomy. Also prominently mentioned are: Charles Donald Shane, and Adriaan van Maanen.