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In this interview, Klaus Hasselmann discusses topics such as: his family background and how he became interested in physics; getting his PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Fluid Dynamics and Gottingen University; Walter Tollmien; University of California, San Diego Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics; Scripps Institute of Oceanography; Walter Munk; Norman Barber; John Miles; Hugh Bradner; George Backus; Klaus Wyrtki; Carl Eckart; Charles David Keeling; researching storms in the south pacific including Hawaii; Frank Snodgrass; Gordon Groves; measuring waves in the North Sea; be
Family life and early childhood environment; undergraduate studies at Case School for Applied Sciences, 1925-1929; M.S., 1933; influence of Dayton C. Miller; reanalysis of Miller’s absolute motion experiments, meetings with Albert Einstein; National Bureau of Standards (NBS) work on ionosphere and standard frequency regulation, 1929-1930; contact with University of Chicago, l930s and 1940s, thesis work on photon scattering under Arthur H.
Childhood in New York City; high quality of public schools during Depression; decision at 13 to become physicist; inspirational high school teachers; aptitude for mathematics; undergraduate at Community College of New York (CCNY) and junior year in Paris; graduate of Columbia University; involvement in Manhattan Project with John Dunning from 1942; University of Michigan and University of California, Berkeley after war; wife and children. Postwar transitions: scientists' reaction to the May-Johnson bill; the new physics; Ph.D., 1947.
Family background; grows up in California; early interest in electronics. Undergraduate and graduate studies at Caltech. Strong interest in history of science as undergraduate. Ph.D. in physics, 1932. University of California at Berkeley, 1932-1934. MIT from 1934; founder of the Radioactivity Center. Starts first course designated "nuclear physics," January 1935. Strong interest in study of radium poisoning; radium tolerance in humans, cancer research. World War II work, postwar work; establishment of Laboratory for Nuclear Science and Engineering.
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.