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This interview with A. G. W. Cameron focuses on selected aspects of Cameron's research including nucleosynthesis and use of computers in research. Covers Cameron's different topics of research as well as various institutional appointments. Also comments on style of research and William Fowler's receipt of Nobel prize. Other topics discussed include: his family background and childhood, graduate work at the University of Saskatchewan, Leon Katz, photonuclear reactions, astrophysics, Paul Merrill, galactic evolution, Iowa State teaching nuclear physics, Chalk River, advising work for Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Department of Energy (DOE), hydrogen bomb, origin of the moon, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Stirling Colgate, nuclear astrophysics, teaching at Yale University, big bang theory, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Fred Whipple, Leo Goldberg, Hans Suess, Harold Urey, William Fowler, Fred Hoyle, Geoffrey Burbidge, California Institute of Technology, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
In this interview, Conner discusses his childhood and early education in rural Texas, and his developing interest in science. He moves on to discuss his undergraduate and graduate experience at Rice Institute; his enrollment in the U.S. Navy; the rise in war-time and post-war academic interest in nuclear physics; his work at Los Alamos National Laboratory; his impressions of Tom Bonner at Rice Institute and Los Alamos; and his work with Cockcroft-Walton accelerators. Additional topics discussed include: nuclear physics, x-ray spectroscopy, the Vela Program, and federally funded artificial satellite programs in general.
Early interest in radio; Carnegie Institute of Technology's physics department, 1932-1936; first department research program; summer research experience, 1932-1936; graduate work at University at Berkeley under J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1936-1940; sources of fellowship support; Berkeley journal club; interactions of theorists and experimentalists at Berkeley, and with Stanford University and Caltech, late 1930s; reactions to fission; nuclear physics at University of Illinois, 1941-1942; sources of funds for accelerators to 1941; recruitment to University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, 1942; Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, 1944-1946, personnel, research, plans and expectations for peacetime work; scale and financing of physics at Cornell University in immediate postwar period; rise of particle physics after 1949; differences between pre- and postwar physics, job expectations, style of research; evolution of accelerating and detecting methods, 1920s to 1950s; connections between physics and astronomy. Also prominently mentioned are: Paul Aebersold, Luis Walter Alvarez, Hans Albrecht Bethe, Raymond Thayer Birge, Niels Henrik David Bohr, Kevin Burns, Robert F. Christy, Immanuel Estermann, Enrico Fermi, Richard Phillips Feynman, William Alfred Fowler, Otto Robert Frisch, Maurice Goldhaber, Harry Hower, Fred Hoyle, Donald W. Kerst, Charles Christian Lauritsen, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, Philip A. Morrison, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Isidor Isaac Rabi, Ernest Rutherford, Emilio Gino Segrè, Otto Stern, Leo Szilard, Robert Rathbun Wilson; Allegheny Observatory, California Institute of Technology, Cavendish Laboratory, Columbia University, Cornell University, International Conference on High Energy Physics, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, United States Army, United States Navy, United States Office of Naval Research, University of Birmingham, University of California at San Diego, University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Nuclear Engineering Program.
Engineering physics at Lehigh University, 1926-1930; graduate work in physics at University of Wisconsin, 1930-1934; Ann Arbor summer school, 1934; reputation and major interests of theoretical group at University of California at Berkeley, mid-1930s; nuclear force studies; migrations of Berkeley theorists to Caltech; major discoveries during 1930s, their communication through journals; interactions between Berkeley experimentalists and theorists in 1930s; influence of cosmic ray and astrophysics research on nuclear physics; beta decay; betatrons and synchotrons, pre- and postwar; significance of fission; contributions of war research to nuclear theory and techniques; end of war planning for higher energy accelerators; mission to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1945; accelerator improvements, straight sections, and phase stability, mid-1940s; effect of higher energy experiments on nuclear structure theory, postwar to early 1950s; development of the optical model after 1949; the stripping reaction; motivations for shifting into particle research in early 1950s; reactions to the revived shell model; collective model; leading centers and scientists, and major discoveries, 1945-1950; development of scattering theory and many-body theory. Also prominently mentioned are: Luis Walter Alvarez, Hans Albrecht Bethe, Niels Henrik David Bohr, Keith Allan Brueckner, Butler, Karl Kelchner Darrow, Leo Delsasso, John R. Dunning, Enrico Fermi, Herman Feshbach, William Alfred Fowler, Gerson Goldhaber, Maurice Goldhaber, Raymond George Herb, Robert Jastrow, Fritz Kalckar, Donald W. Kerst, Giulio (Cesar) Lattes, Charles Christian Lauritsen, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, Gilbert Newton Lewis, Maria Goeppert Mayer, Edwin Mattison McMillan, Benjamin R. Mottelson, J. Robert Oppenheimer, James Rainwater, Llewellyn Hilleth Thomas, Vladimir Iosifovich Veksler, Victor Frederick Weisskopf, Milton Grandison White, Eugene Paul Wigner, Robert Rathbun Wilson, Ta-You Wu, Hideki Yukawa; California Institute of Technology, Comptes Rendus, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Università di Roma, University of California at Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, and University of Wisconsin at Madison.