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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.
This interview is a biographical profile, an institutional history, and a focused study of examples of W. Kent Ford's electronic image amplifiers and detectors. The interview took place in the library of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism that exhibits some of these instruments.
Ford also brough several as illustrations during the interview. Portions of the interview were video recorded and are so indicated in the transcript.