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In this interview, Geoffrey Burbidge discusses his life and career. Topics discussed include: his family and childhood; Bristol University; Nevill Mott; University College, London; Harrie Massey; David Robert Bates; theoretical physics seminars at Cambridge University; Richard Feymnan; Freeman Dyson; Dick Dalitz; Abdus Salam; Nicholas Kemmer; becoming interested in astronomy and astrophysics via Margaret Burbidge; Royal Astronomical Society; Clive Gregory; research into stellar parallax, stellar atmospheres; Herbert Dingle; Auger effect; Otto Struve; Harvard University; Bart Bok; Donald Menzel; Harlow Shapley; Yerkes Observatory; development of radio astronomy; I. I. Rabi and big bang skepticism; Chandrasekhar; Gerard Kuiper; Enrico Fermi; Cavendish Laboratory, Martin Ryle; nucleosynthesis; Kapitza Club; Willie Fowler; Fred Hoyle; stellar evolution; steady state cosmology; red shift; Erwin Finlay-Freundlich; Max Born; Mount Wilson Observatory; Allan Sandage; Milt Humason; Ira Bowen; status at women at Hale observatories and at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech); Edwin Hubble; Walter Baade; synchrotron radiation; Rudolph Minkowski; Californium and supernovae; Halton Arp; Hans Suess; Vera Rubin's work on anisotropy; quasars; galaxy formation.
Covers his family background, upbringing, education at the University of Cambridge, and positions at University of Edinburgh, Imperial College, University of Belfast, Royal Holloway College and University of Sussex. The scientific topics discussed include: the development of Newtonian cosmology, the origins and development of steady-state cosmology; work on theories of the solar system. Also prominently mentioned are: Philip Abelson, Luis Walter Alvarez, Hans Albrecht Bethe, Raymond Thayer Birge, Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett, Niels Henrik David Bohr, Ira Sprague Bowen, Sydney Chapman, Karl Taylor Compton, Edward Uhler Condon, Charles Galton Darwin, Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, Kenneth Dodd, Colonel Dudley, Arthur Stanley Eddington, Robley Dunglison Evans, Enrico Fermi, Richard Phillips Feynman, Ralph Howard Fowler, Friedman, Wolfgang Gentner, Thomas Gold, Sterling E. Hendricks, Fred Hoyle, Edwin Powell Hubble, Henry Hulme, James Jeans, W. O. Kermack, Joseph Larmor, Charles Christian Lauritsen, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, George Lemâitre, Milton Stanley Livingston, Howard J. Lucas, Walter Michels, Edward Arthur Milne, Joe Morris, Arthur A. Noyes, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Linus Pauling, Firth Pierce, George Placzek, Harry Hemley Plaskett, Samuel Ruben, Henry Norris Russell, Ryokishi Sagane, Samson, Erwin Schrödinger, Emilio Gino Segrè, George Paget Thomson, Robert Jamison Van de Graaff, Vladimir Iosifovich Veksler, Warren Weaver, Edmund T. Whittaker, Robert Rathbun Wilson, Charles Thomas Zahn; California Institute of Technology, Cambridge Radio Survey, Germany Kriegsmarine, Great Britain Science Research Council, Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Radiation Laboratory, National Institute of Theoretical Astronomy, Princeton University, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Royal Astronomical Society, Universität Göttingen, University of California at Berkeley, University of Edinburgh, and Zeitschrift für Physik.
Early home life and schooling in Turkey; years at University of Edinburgh and University of London after fall of Smyrna, 1922; work in London with father; entrance and experiences at University of Cambridge; contact with Arthur S. Eddington and scientific interests in mathematical relativity and stellar structure; University of Leeds, 1930-1934; work in general relativity; later academic positions; work in World War II; move to University of Illinois and development of radio astronomy; Steady State Cosmology; general views on cosmology; Channel 37. Also prominently mentioned are: Ludwig Franz Benedikt Biermann, Charles Galton Darwin, Katherine Darwin, Herbert Dingle, Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, Ralph Howard Fowler, Stephen Hawking, Werner Heisenberg, Edwin Powell Hubble, E. C. Jordan, Henning Larsen, George Lemâitre, William Hunter McCrea, Edward Arthur Milne, Bertrand Russell, R. A. Sampson, Allan Sandage, Harlow Shapley, Charles P. Snow, George W. Stoddard, George W. Swenson, Jr., A. H. Taub, George Temple, Albert Edward Whitford, Edmund T. Whittaker, Jack Whittaker; Blackford Hill Observatory, Great Britain Post Office, Green Bank Observatory, International Telecommunications Union, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften, Queen Mary College (University of London), Royal Astronomical Society, United States Federal Communications Commission, University of Edinburgh, University of Illinois, University of Kent at Canterbury, and Vermillion River Observatory.