Displaying 1 - 3 of total 3 results:
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.
Growing up during World War II; early interest in astronomy; undergraduate studies in Groningen, Holland. Graduate school, Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden (Pieter van Rhijn, Jan Oort and Hendrik van de Hulst); Ph.D., 1956. Carnegie Fellow at California Institute of Technology, 1956-1958; assistant professorship at Caltech, from 1959; comparison between Leiden and Caltech then and now; interest in star formation. Review of published papers and discussion of research interests. Discover of the quasars; comments on exotic phenomena in astrophysics; Allan Sandage; collaboration with Martin Rees, Cambridge (Malcolm Longair and Peter Scheuer); the quasar PHL 957. Future research projects (Donald Weistrop), the original Dutch school of stellar statistics. Leisure time interests. Also prominently mentioned are: Adriaan Blaauw, John Bolton, Jesse Leonard Greenstein, Cyril Hazard, Malcolm Longair, Tom R. Matthews, Plaut, Peter Scheuer, and Sidney van den Bergh.
Background of father; discouraged by father to go into science; early reading in science; early desire to be a Fellow at Trinity College; early interest in philosophy and influence of lectures by Wittenstein; switch in graduate school from statistical mechanics to cosmology; interest in Mach's principle; desire to understand the "great questions"; desire to impose order on the universe; poor grades as an undergraduate student at Cambridge; job in a government research lab called TRE; re-admittance to Cambridge by Hartree; business agreement with father to withdraw from graduate school if unable to get research fellowship to Trinity; influence of Fred Hoyle, Herman Bondi, and Thomas Gold; rebellious nature of Hoyle, Bondi, and Gold; Dirac as thesis advisor; attraction of the steady state model; reaction to hostile evidence against the steady state theory; predictive power of the steady state theory relative to the big bang model; preference for flat universes (in big bang models) because of Mach's principle; Sciama's influence on Dicke and Wheeler regarding Mach's principle; motivation of interest in Mach's principle and its discussion in the BondiGold paper on the steady state; work with Martin Rees in plotting the spatial distribution of quasars and initial intention of defending the steady state model; personality of Martin Rees; giving up the steady state model after the calculation with Rees; approach to advising students; advice given to students Brandon Carter and Stephen Hawking; general scorn of physicists toward cosmology in the 1950s; recognition of cosmology by physicists after the cosmological prediction of the number of neutrino types; introduction to and attitudes toward the horizon and flatness problems; attitude toward the inflationary universe model; problem in appreciating those problems because so few people in the field; problem with inflationary universe model having so many variations and being oversold; reasons why the inflationary universe model has been so influential; reaction to de Lapparent, Geller, and Huchra's work on large-scale inhomogeneities; problems if inhomogeneity in cosmic background radiation not found with factor of 10 improvement in detection limits; discussion of dark matter and missing mass; current state of mess of inflationary universe model; interplay of theory and observation in cosmology, particularly in the number of types of neutrinos; reasonableness of extrapolating physics back to the very early universe; outstanding problems in cosmology: the cosmological constant, fate of the universe, dark matter, galaxy formation; ideal design of the universe; belief in the strong anthropic principle; belief that Penrose and Hawking are wrong in their proposal of very special initial conditions for the universe; question of whether the universe has a point.