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Dicke, Robert H. (Robert Henry)
Oral history interview with Robert Dicke, 1988 January 19.
This interview discusses Robert Dicke's childhood experiments; early reading; education at University of Rochester; attitudes of older scientists about research in relativity; work on the Eotvos experiment; early reading in cosmology; early work in the 1950s setting a limit to the cosmic background radiation; motivation for predicting the cosmic background radiation; preference for an oscillating universe; Dicke's evening seminars at Princeton; the origin of the flatness problem, which Dicke first proposed in 1969; Dicke's lecture at Cornell on the flatness problem, attended by Alan Guth; the anthropic argument in connection with the flatness problem; attitude toward the inflationary universe model; attitude toward Center for Astrophysics (CfA) red shift surveys by de Lapparent, Margaret Geller, and John Huchra; Dicke's amazement at the existence of so much matter in the universe; discussion of the anthropic principle; images and metaphors in scientific work; the relationship between theory and observations in cosmology; attitude toward extrapolating the big bang model back to very early time; why Dicke prefers an oscillating universe; the origin of the universe; the question of whether the universe has a point; the question of why cosmology was not taken seriously as a science for a long time.
(1916-1997): Ph.D. in physics from the University of Rochester (1946); taught at Princeton University; member of the National Academy of Science; known for both his theoretical and experimental work; his contributions to relativity and cosmology include the first use of the antropic principle (1961), a theoretical prediction of the cosmic microwave background radiation (1965) and the first statement of the flatness problem (1969).
Dicke, Robert H. (Robert Henry)
Geller, Margaret J.
Guth, Alan H.
Huchra, John P.
Cornell University
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
Princeton University
University of Rochester.
Anthropic principle.
Big bang theory
Cosmic background radiation
Inflationary universe.
Red shift
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Oral histories. aat
Transcripts. aat
Lightman, Alan P., 1948-, interviewer.
American Institute of Physics. Niels Bohr Library & Archives. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA