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Early life in the Cotswolds, England; Bristol University, 1943, and physics program during WWII; teachers include Nevill Mott and Edward Tyndall; effect of WWII; work with Harrie Massey on meson capture; University College, London; meets wife and growing contacts in astronomy, late 1940s; thesis, 1952; work in stellar atmosphere; visit to U.S. at Howard and Terkes, 1951-1953; Cavendish group under Martin Ryle, house theoretician; contact with William Fowler and growing interest in nucleosynthesis, 1954; fellowship at Pasadena, 1955; opinions on operation of major observatories, philosophy of cosmological research, reaction to steady state; problem of high energy sources, synchrotron radiation; belief structure in cosmology; Halton Arp’s work; Nuclear Processes in Astrophysics - B2FH; Yerkes Observatory, 1957; physics of galaxies, 1959. Also prominently mentioned are: Wilhelm Heinrich Walter Baade, Margaret Burbidge, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Paul A. M. Dirac, Enrico Fermi, William Alfred Fowler, James Edward Gunn, Fred Hoyle, Martin Ryle, Allan Sandage, Maarten Schmidt, and Arthur Wolfe.
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.
Work at Lebedev Physics Institute; study of radio-wave propagation interrupted by World War II; returns to Institute after being wounded, begins study of nonlinear radiophysics; synchrotron radiation in microwave region; starts accelerator group (Nicolai Basov)i switches to microwave spectroscopy (Charles Townes, Walter Gordy), 1950; ruby crystals (Dr. Manenkov); Prokhorov proposes use of interferometer; gas-dynamic CO2 laser, 1966. Commercial application of lasers in USSR future laser applications.