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The interview concerns ray research during the decade 1937-47, mainly and Shapiro's participation in it. It covers briefly his family background, Orthodox Jewish, and his studies at the University of Chicago, including his Ph.D. research using photographic emulsion, in which Shapiro is a pioneer. An attempt is made to discover motivation for Shapiro's research.
Born in Texas in 1903; influence of remote, rural environment on his upbringing and early education. Attended Weatherford Junior College until 1923; studies at University of Chicago, B.A. in 1926, M.A. in 1928, and Ph.D. (formally awarded) in 1937. Comments on courses, teachers and fellow students at Chicago, including J. Harlan Bretz and Rollin T. Chamberlin. Summer research at Amerada Petroleum Corporation (Oklahoma), Illinois State Geological Survey, and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), late 1920s to early 1930s. First teaching position at Columbia University; research on ground-water motion; involvement in Technocracy Movement, 1930s. Marriage to Miriam Graddy Berry, 1938. Senior analyst on staff of Board of Economic Warfare, 1942-1943; deepening commitment to issue of natural resources. Thoughts on limited interactions between geologists and geophysicists; work in advisory committees on geophysics education, 1930s to 1940s. Theory of scale models, 1937; related research involving strength of solids. Career at Shell Oil Company and Shell Development Company, 1943-1964; directs research laboratory at Shell, perspectives on industry environment for scientific research. Lecture tours to geological, industrial, and policy groups, 1940s to 1960s; involvement in Atomic Energy Commission, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, advisory committees. Research with W. W. Rubey on overthrust faulting. Deepening interest in oil and natural gas reserves; responses from officials in petroleum corporations and federal government to his predictions of local, national, and worldwide reserves, 1950s to 1960s. Research geophysicist at USGS, 1964-1976, after retirement from Shell; studies of natural resources and conflicts over his conclusions involving other scientists at USGS. Visiting professorships at Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, University of California, Berkeley, 1962-1977. Continued involvement in issue of geophysical education at American universities and in studies of natural resources, 1950s to 1970s.
This interview was conducted as part of the Archives for the History of Quantum Physics project, which includes tapes and transcripts of oral history interviews conducted with ca. 100 atomic and quantum physicists. Subjects discuss their family backgrounds, how they became interested in physics, their educations, people who influenced them, their careers including social influences on the conditions of research, and the state of atomic, nuclear, and quantum physics during the period in which they worked. Discussions of scientific matters relate to work that was done between approximately 1900 and 1930, with an emphasis on the discovery and interpretations of quantum mechanics in the 1920s. Also prominently mentioned are: Niels Henrik David Bohr, Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Ernst Pascual Jordan, Hendrik Anthony Kramers, Walther Nernst, John William Nicholson, Wolfgang Pauli, Erwin Schrodinger, John Clarke Slater, Arnold Sommerfeld, Harold Clayton Urey, John Von Neumann, Eugene Paul Wigner; Kobenhavns Universitet, and Universitat Berlin.
Family life and early childhood environment; undergraduate studies at Case School for Applied Sciences (1925-29), M.S. 1933, influence of D.C. Miller; reanalysis of Miller’s absolute motion experiments, meetings with Einstein; National Bureau of Standards work on ionosphere and standard frequency regulation 1929-30; contact with University of Chicago (1930’s and 1940’s), thesis work on photon scattering under A.H. Compton, 1935; World War II sonar work in submarine warfare; architectural acoustics interests; tasks as Chairman of Physics Department at Case Western Reserve University 1940-58; consultant to Argonne National Laboratory, neutrino experiments,1953-69. Additional topics include: associations with D.C. Miller and A.H. Compton, their experimental style, personalities and influences on others; the climate of opinion around relativity and quantum mechanics; crucial experiments of Michelson-Morley and others in relativity; comments on the resistance of the older generation of physicists; RS’s reaction to fission and the atomic bomb; problems of modern physics and comments on the relation between pure and applied sciences, the existence of a scientific method, physics as related to other sciences, approaches to the history of science.
A thorough, reflective survey of the life and work of this theoretical astrophysicist. Early life and education in India, 1910-1930, and experiences at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, 1930-1937, with comments on Edward A. Milne and Arthur S. Eddington; debate with the latter over collapse of white dwarf stars. Move to U.S. in 1937, with comments on the situation at Harvard and Princeton Universities since the 1930s, and especially on Henry N. Russell, John Von Neumann, and Martin Schwarzschild. Social context at University of Chicago and Yerkes Observatory since 1937, with remarks on Gerard Kuiper, Otto Struve, Bengt Strömgren, etc. Work as teacher there, and as editor of Astrophysical Journal from 1951 until it was given to the American Astronomical Society in 1971. Scientific work resulting in Introduction to the Study of Stellar Structure (1939) and publications on stochastic processes in galaxy and in general, radiative transfer, interstellar polarization, hydrodynamics and hydromagnetics (including experimental checks). Recent work on general relativity and Kerr metric; comments on cosmology. General remarks on the social structure of astronomy and its cultural role. Extended discussion of his way of functioning as a theorist. Also prominently mentioned are: Hans Albrecht Bethe, Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, Enrico Fermi, Ralph Howard Fowler, George Gamow, Robert Hutchins, James Jeans, Alfred H. Joy, William Wilson Morgan, Harry Hemley Plaskett, Sir Chandrasekhar Vankata Raman, Ernest Rutherford, Harlow Shapley, Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld, Lyman Spitzer, Eugene Paul Wigner; Aberdeen Proving Ground, American Astronomical Society, Presidency College (Madras), United States Office of Naval Research, and United States Proving Ground at Aberdeen MD Ballistics Research Laboratory.
Postgraduate work at University of Chicago; early work in spectroscopy using the Fabry-Perot interferometer; studies of e/m and hydrogen fine structure. Study at Universität München with Arnold Sommerfeld and the development in electron spin research in the 1930s; work with and impressions of Werner Heisenberg and others. Later work in solid state; interest in quantum statistics and its relation to statistics of ensemble. Discussion of major problems in modern physics; teaching methods and responsibilities, administration and research, solid state developments.
Born in Vienna in 1917; move to America at age 14; undergraduate and masters degrees at Caltech; relations with Harald U. Sverdrup at Scripps and Ph.D. there. Enlisted in Army during World War II; war work on submarine problems with Navy. Joined JASON at Keith Brueckner's invitation, 1961. Greater part of interview devoted to JASON: work, organization and external relations. Also prominently mentioned are: John Von Neumann; and United States Navy.
Born in Russia 1905, childhood in Japan; early education in Japan and in Shanghai; undergraduate and graduate studies at University of Berlin from 1922; protactinium work with Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner 1926-1927. Moves to the U.S. (Universal Oil Products Corp.); comments on Vladimir Ipatief; travels to Europe (Cavendish Laboratory, the Curie Institute in Paris, and Berlin); Columbia University from 1939, dismissal from the Manhattan Project; president of the Research Institute at Temple University for 13 years (later affiliate of the Franklin Institute); desert agriculture. Also prominently mentioned are: M. S. Agruss, Francis William Aston, Niels Henrik David Bohr, Eugene Booth, James Chadwick, Arthur Holly Compton, Marie Sklodowska Curie, John R. Dunning, Gustav Egloff, Albert Einstein, Robley Dunglison Evans, Enrico Fermi, George Gamow, Hiram Halle, William D. Harkins, Georg von Hevesy, Karl Hoffman, Eugene Houdry, Lyndon B. Johnson, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, Irene Joliot-Curie, Petr Kapitsa, Robert Andrews Millikan, Alfred O. Nier, Ida Noddack, George Braxton Pegram, Isidor Isaac Rabi, Ernest Rutherford, Frederick Soddy, Fritz Strassman, Leo Szilard, Joseph John Thomson, Harold Clayton Urey, John Archibald Wheeler; Atomic Energy Commission, Basic Science Foundation, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, Technische Hochschule (Berlin), Universal Oil Production Corporation, and University of Chicago.
Discusses how he initially became involved in JASON; comments on his motivation for joining JASON and what he learned while working on practical physics problems. Describes his anti-Vietnam war stance and working in JASON during the war. Systematically describes articles written while working on JASON, as long as they are unclassified. Describes how he thinks JASON work added to his work in physics. Explains why he quit working for JASON; discusses the lack of feedback concerning the impact of JASON work on defense problems. Comments on a possible amateur/professional distinction with JASON.
Early life and family origins; Phillips Andover Academy; teachers; Andover and Max Millikan; early interest in astronomy; methodology of science; undergraduate years at Yale University; hobbies, teachers at Yale; physics and Alan Waterman; interest in particle accelerator; extracurricular study group at Yale; interest in economics; Henry Fellowship at University of Cambridge; concentration in theoretical physics; studies with Arthur Eddington. Graduate work at Princeton, Henry Norris Russell, thesis, origins of solar system, spectra of M giants; faculty position at Yale; World War II work; return to Yale; move to Princeton, Martin Schwarzschild, conditions for research at Princeton; space research; Stellerator Program; Jesse Greenstein's Committee; Astronomy Missions Board. Work on planetary filaments; postdoctoral years at Havard University, 1938-1939; positions at Yale; work on underwater sound during World War II; interests in galactic evolution; stellar evolution; Walter Baade's Populations; interstellar medium; growth and activity of Princeton astronomy; Plasma Physics Group, rocketry; Copernicus satellite; large space telescope; funding; responses to specific questions in astronomy and cosmology. Also prominently mentioned are: Frederick M. Boyce, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Fred Hoyle, Raymond Lyttleton, Frank Schlesinger, Harlow Shapley, John Q. Stewart; and National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) Greenstein Committee.