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In this interview, Geoffrey Burbidge discusses the history of physics over the course of his career. Topics discussed include: Astronomical Society of the Pacific; E. Margaret Burbridge; American Astronomical Society; Hale Observatory; Lick Observatory; radio astronomy; Naval Research Laboratory; x-ray astronomy; Bruno Rossi; optical astronomy; Kitt Peak National Observatory; air and light pollution; Allan Sandage; Harvard University; Princeton University; Lord Kelvin; S. Chandrasekhar; Henry Norris Russell; Paul Merrill; Leo Goldberg; Edwin Hubble; Royal Society; Milton Humason; theory of relativity; Fred Hoyle; big bang cosmology; steady state cosmology; Joe Weber; John Wheeler; Willy Fowler.
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).
Interview discusses Gerard de Vaucouleur's childhood in Paris and family background; early reading; membership in the French Astronomical Society; early work on astronomical catalogues; work at the Paris planetarium in 1937; undergraduate work at the University of Paris; education at the Sorbonne; introduction to Julien Peridier; early work in astronomical photography; discussion of French astronomy in the 1930s; early attitude toward the big bang model; work at the Sorbonne; move to the new Institute of Astrophysics in 1945; work on the r1/4 law for the brightness distribution in galaxies; work on the supercluster of galaxies in the 1950s; influence of Vera Rubin's work; community's reception of de Vaucouleurs's work on the supercluster and his challenge of the assumption of large-scale homogeneity; interaction with Fritz Zwicky; attitude toward the Center for Astrophysics (CfA) redshift surveys by de Lapparent, Margaret Geller, and John Huchra; a hierarchical model for the universe; discussion of the meaning of homogeneity; attitudes toward the horizon problem, the inflationary universe model, dark matter, the flatness problem, work on the very early universe, and the big bang model; relationship of theory and observation; the ideal design of the universe; the question of whether the universe has a point.
This interview discusses Robert Dicke's childhood experiments; early reading; education at University of Rochester; attitudes of older scientists about research in relativity; work on the Eotvos experiment; early reading in cosmology; early work in the 1950s setting a limit to the cosmic background radiation; motivation for predicting the cosmic background radiation; preference for an oscillating universe; Dicke's evening seminars at Princeton; the origin of the flatness problem, which Dicke first proposed in 1969; Dicke's lecture at Cornell on the flatness problem, attended by Alan Guth; the anthropic argument in connection with the flatness problem; attitude toward the inflationary universe model; attitude toward Center for Astrophysics (CfA) red shift surveys by de Lapparent, Margaret Geller, and John Huchra; Dicke's amazement at the existence of so much matter in the universe; discussion of the anthropic principle; images and metaphors in scientific work; the relationship between theory and observations in cosmology; attitude toward extrapolating the big bang model back to very early time; why Dicke prefers an oscillating universe; the origin of the universe; the question of whether the universe has a point; the question of why cosmology was not taken seriously as a science for a long time.
Interview covers Sandra Faber's childhood experiences; parental background; early reading; early preference for steady state model; relationship between questions and answers in science; confusion over being a woman and being a scientist; lack of female role models in science; education at Swarthmore and the influence of Sarah Lee Lippincott there; graduate work at Harvard; husband's job; graduate work at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism; influence of Vera Rubin; early results of dark matter by Morton Roberts in the late 1960s; thesis work on photometric studies of elliptical galaxies; community's attitude toward excess mass in rotation curves in the late 1960s; motivation for work on the Faber-Jackson relationship between luminosity and velocity dispersion; motivation for work with the Seven Samurai (Burstein, Davies, Dressler, Faber, Lynden-Bell, Terlevich, and Wegner) on peculiar velocities; attitude of the community toward the Seven Samurai work on peculiar velocities; attitude toward the big bang assumption of homogeneity; attitudes toward the horizon problem, the inflationary universe model, missing matter, the flatness problem; discussion of what types of problems can be addressed in cosmology; attitude toward Center for Astrophysics (CfA) red shift surveys by de Lapparent, Margaret Geller, and John Huchra; importance of understanding how large-scale structure is formed; issues of gender in science and the experience of being a woman in science; the ideal design of the universe; the question of whether the universe has a point.
In this interview Fred Hoyle discusses his childhood and growing up in Yorkshire; parental background and influences; early reading in science; early experience with literature; influence of Eddington's books; education at Cambridge; interest in mathematics; early interest in exploring cosmology after World War II; history of development of steady state model; influence of Dirac and preference for understanding mathematics first; thesis work with Dirac; personality of Dirac; history of work on nucleosynthesis in stars: the Cavendish Laboratory, nucleosynthesis in supernovae, carbon production in helium burning, the triple alpha reaction and the excited state of carbon, collaboration with William Fowler, important paper by Al Cameron, work with Fowler and Geoffrey and E. Margaret Burbidge; nonstellar production of helium; defense of the steady state model; "little big bangs" in the steady state picture; Hoyle and Taylor work in 1964 on limiting the number of types of neutrinos; motives in doing science; rejection of big bang model from biological considerations; reading in biology; early career as a popularizer of science; role of particle physicists in making cosmology a respectable science; Mach's principle; attitudes toward the horizon problem, the flatness problem, and the inflationary universe model; Hoyle's work on inflationary behavior within the steady state model; reasons why the inflationary universe model has been influential; attitude toward the de Lapparent, Geller, and Huchra work on large-scale inhomogeneity and influence of that work; theory versus observations in cosmology and problems with the big bang model; attitude toward work on the early universe; importance of long-range interactions and boundary conditions in the laws of physics; ideal design of the universe; question of whether the universe has a purpose.
Early interest in natural phenomena; early reading in science; education at Cambridge; graduate work at Cambridge; influence of Dennis Sciama; work with Sciama on the steady state theory; Sciama's attitude toward science; attitude of the Cambridge community toward the results of Martin Ryle on radio counts and challenges to the steady state model; early thinking on the horizon problem; Misner's work on the horizon problem; attitude toward the horizon problem and the role of quantum gravity; relationship of flatness problem to horizon problem; attitude toward the flatness problem; early history of inflationary ideas of Starobinsky and Englert; initial reaction to the inflationary universe model; importance of nonconservation of baryons to inflationary theories; reaction to de Lapparent, Geller, and Huchra's work on large-scale inhomogeneities; history of research on inhomogeneities in the universe; early work by Russians on the pancake model of galaxy formation; new cosmological problems that can be addressed in terms of physics rather than in terms of initial conditions: photon-to-baryon ratio, inflation, origin of density fluctuations; prematurity of cosmological questions; importance of evidence for dark matter; the success of the standard big bang model in surviving observational tests; relationship between theory and observation in cosmology; importance of understanding galactic evolution; outstanding problems in cosmology: initial conditions, origins of fluctuations, galaxy formation; question of whether the universe is inherently unique; ideal design of the universe; desire for unending complexities in the laws of nature; question of whether the universe has a point.
Early life and schooling in Manitoba, Canada. Undergraduate studies (engineering, later physics) at University of Manitoba; graduate studies at Princeton University, Ph.D. 1962 (Robert Dicke); the gravity research group. Comments on family. Rest of interview is mainly discussion of his published papers on temperature of meteorites and Paul A. M. Dirac’s cosmology (with R. Dicke, J. Geophys. Res., 1962) done before his thesis work: Blackbody radiation and the formation of galaxies (Astrophysics J. 1965), helium production (Ralph Alpher and Robert Herman); primeval helium abundance (1966); works on pregalactic objects, young galaxies (1967-68), superclusters of galaxies (with Jer Tsang Yu, Astrophysics Journal, 1969) and masses of galaxies (with Jeremiah P. Ostriker, 1974); Big Bang cosmology (with Dicke, 1979). Collaboration with Dicke, his graduate students and other co-workers. Comments on the Space Telescope and on the dark matter puzzle.
Parental background; early interest in science and experience looking through friend's telescope in the fourth grade; feeling of compulsion as a child to go into science; sense of duty inherited from parents; early reading in science; pleasure of solving problems in science; education at Miami University and influential teachers there; experience in the Navy in 1944 and 1945; education at University of illinois; learning observational techniques from Robert Baker; getting into Caltech; attraction of the new 200-inch telescope; attraction of Edwin Hubble and Walter Baade; Sandage's intention of being an apprentice; Sandage's childhood feelings that the world was spirit and magic and the disappearance of those feelings upon entering Caltech; education at Caltech; equations became reality at Caltech; the mystery of science; Ph.D. work with Baade on finding and fitting main sequences in globular clusters; history of motives of work with Martin Schwarzschild on dating globular clusters; apprenticeship with Hubble on the 200-inch telescope; Sandage's later monopoly of the 200-inch after Hubble died; Sandage's feeling of responsibility to carry on Hubble's work; objections to the steady state model; learning about the big bang model; limits of Hubble's understanding of the big bang model; influence of theoretical papers by Mattig; influence of Fred Hoyle; introduction to and early attitude toward the horizon and flatness problems; change in cosmology from finding out what galaxies are like to how galaxies originated; Sandage's change in attitude toward the horizon problem; attitude tow.ard the grand unified theories; Sandage's gradual appreciation for the "new" cosmology, involving particle physics; change in attitude toward the flatness problem; attitude toward dark matter and missing mass; openess to the value of omega; problem of consistent ages in cosmology; many forms of evidence for the big bang model; reaction to de Lapparent, Geller, and Huchra's work on large- scale inhomogeneities and importance of similar work done earlier by Gregory, Thompson, Rood, Chincarini and Tifft; relation between theory and observation; science is not the discovery of absolute truth but only an approximation to reality; lack of good observations at the frontiers of science; the change in cosmology from asking only "where" and "what" to also asking "how;" outstanding problems in cosmology: dark matter and value of omega; ideal design of the universe; question of whether the universe has a point.
In this interview Neil Turok discusses topics such as: inflationary universe; cosmology; Stephen Hawking; Andrei Linde; quantum gravity; string theory; particle physics; theoretical physics; Alan Guth; Paul Steinhardt; Martin Bucher; University of Cambridge; Burt Ovrut; scalar fields; big bang theory; high-energy physics.