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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.
Interview examines early life in San Francisco and first contacts with Astronomy in 1920; Public Lectures under auspices of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific; college years at Berkeley, 1926-1930; interests in physics and astronomy; contact with D. Menzel; move to Caltech and graduate studies; work with Paul Merrill; Mount Wilson in the 1930s; limitations of spectroscopic equipment; recollections of Rubble; job offers and decision to remain at Mount Wilson; origins of research interests and early work leading to Wilson-Bappu Effect; stellar chromospheres and first use of 100-inch in 1938; work on rocket project during World War II; recollections of Walter Baade and W.S. Adams; post-war years at Mount Wilson; Bowen; ONR funding; research on planetary nebulae; instrumentation for the 200-inch; internal peer review system; H.C. Arp’s work; continued work on Wilson-Bappu Effect and need for theoretical understanding; study of the solar cycle; teaching and graduate students; work with Minkowski; re-calibration of Cepheid period/luminosity relationship and Hodge and Wallerstein’s paper of 1967; Baade and Zwicky; the operation of Hale Observatories; kinematics of the Orion Nebula; origin of southern station at Las Campanas; Hale Observatories and Caltech; Bowen’s retirement.