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A thorough, reflective survey of the life and work of this theoretical astrophysicist. Early life and education in India, 1910-1930, and experiences at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, 1930-1937, with comments on Edward A. Milne and Arthur S. Eddington; debate with the latter over collapse of white dwarf stars. Move to U.S. in 1937, with comments on the situation at Harvard and Princeton Universities since the 1930s, and especially on Henry N. Russell, John Von Neumann, and Martin Schwarzschild. Social context at University of Chicago and Yerkes Observatory since 1937, with remarks on Gerard Kuiper, Otto Struve, Bengt Strömgren, etc. Work as teacher there, and as editor of Astrophysical Journal from 1951 until it was given to the American Astronomical Society in 1971. Scientific work resulting in Introduction to the Study of Stellar Structure (1939) and publications on stochastic processes in galaxy and in general, radiative transfer, interstellar polarization, hydrodynamics and hydromagnetics (including experimental checks). Recent work on general relativity and Kerr metric; comments on cosmology. General remarks on the social structure of astronomy and its cultural role. Extended discussion of his way of functioning as a theorist. Also prominently mentioned are: Hans Albrecht Bethe, Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, Enrico Fermi, Ralph Howard Fowler, George Gamow, Robert Hutchins, James Jeans, Alfred H. Joy, William Wilson Morgan, Harry Hemley Plaskett, Sir Chandrasekhar Vankata Raman, Ernest Rutherford, Harlow Shapley, Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld, Lyman Spitzer, Eugene Paul Wigner; Aberdeen Proving Ground, American Astronomical Society, Presidency College (Madras), United States Office of Naval Research, and United States Proving Ground at Aberdeen MD Ballistics Research Laboratory.
Family background; education at Tubigen Univ.; Schrodinger Theory thesis at Univ. of Munich (1927), influence of Sommerfeld, Heisenberg. Potsdam experiments inspired by K. Schwarzschild, Emden: Local thermodynamic equilibrium and curve of growth. Spent 1928 at Mt. Wilson. Return to Germany to teach physics during Depression; use of microphotometer, Coude spectrograph; analysis of Tau Scorpii. Pre-war professorship at Yerkes with Struve: line profile information, stellar composition. WWII return to Kiel, star temperature detection, solar spectrum analysis, elements/energy production. Isolation and destruction of German physics, anti-German attitude. Remarks on history of science, views on contemporaries and astrophysical (radio) research; fate of Unsold's correspondence.
Centers on National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) career but includes early life, professional training at Swarthmore College and University of Chicago; staff position at Yerkes Observatory, work and relations with William Morgan, and later the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). Identifies development of astronomical interests at NASA, early advocates of space astronomy, and the evolution of the NASA astronomy programs and relationships with other space interests at Kitt Peak, National Science Foundation (NSF),and elsewhere. The Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO) numbering and history. Discussion includes how priorities are established and the role of technological limitations. Also prominently mentioned are: William Pendry Bidelman, Adriaan Blaauw, Ira Sprague Bowen, Arthur D. Code, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Friedman, Riccardo Giacconi, Jocelyn Gill, Leo Goldberg, Lyndon B. Johnson, Frank Low, Aden Meinel, Jesse Mitchell, William Wilson Morgan, Homer Edward Newell, Georgia Frances Smith Roman, Allan Sandage, Gary Schilling, Abe Silverstein, Lyman Spitzer, Otto Struve, Harry S. Truman, Peter van de Kamp, Alan Tower Waterman, Jerrold Reinach Zacharias; Ames Laboratory, Brookings Institution, Copernicus (Satellite), Einstein (Satellite), Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Land Satellite, National Science Foundation (U.S.), Naval Research Laboratory (U.S.), Pennsylvania State University, Scout (Rocket), Small Astronomy Satellite Program, Swarthmore College Observatory, Uhuru (Satellite), United States Air Force, United States Congress, United States Federal Executive Institute, United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration Marshall Space Flight Center, United States Office of Naval Research, and X-15 (Rocket).