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Early education in Germany, 1934-1957, including study at Kiel University. Move to U.S. and work at University of Maryland encompassing plasma spectroscopy, sounding rocket work, and theta pinch plasmas, 1957-1962. Completion of Ph.D., 1963; move to National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA-Langley) for work on plasma spectroscopy, 1963-1968. Expansion to galactic structure; first work with computers; declines job offer from German firm. Move to NASA and Washington, D.C.; mission of solar programs office; relations with outside astronomers.
Elske van Panhuys Smith discusses topics including: her childhood in Monaco, Austria, Holland, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and the United States of America; undergraduate education at Radcliffe with Harlow Shapley; marriage to Henry Smith; graduate school in astronomy at Harvard University with Bart Bok; job interviews with Leo Goldberg, Jesse Greenstein, Carnegie Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM), Jack Evans; job offer at Sacramento Peak; reception from graduate professors concerning solar astronomy; family life and children in Alamogordo; High Altitude Observatory; fellowship at the Jo