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Misner, Charles W.
Oral history interview with Charles Misner, 1989 April 3.
Interview covers Charles Misner's family background and childhood interest in science; influential chemistry teacher in high school; education at Notre Dame and mentorship with Arnold Ross; early interest in mathematics; encouragement of parents to go into science or to become a priest; graduate education at Princeton; work with John Wheeler on relativity and topology; introduction to cosmology by Jim Peebles in 1965; attitude toward the steady state model; Wheeler's preference for a closed universe; history of the flatness problem (the "Dicke paradox"); initial attitude toward the flatness problem; motivation for looking for mechanisms to isotropize the universe; the mixmaster model; history of the horizon problem; Misner's attempt to change the goals of cosmology from describing the universe to explaining it; Russian work on mixmaster type models; reaction of the community to the mixmaster model; change in Misner's view of the flatness problem after the inflationary universe model; attitude toward missing matter; problem of reconciling theory and observations with a flat universe; Misner's attitude toward the inflationary universe model; attitude of the community toward the inflationary universe model; attitude toward recent observations of large-scale structure; nature of the inhomogeneity of the universe; importance of Freeman Dyson's discussion of the fate of an open universe over very long time scales; role of visual pictures in science; relationship of theory and observation in cosmology; outstanding problems in cosmology; inflation, particle physics, quantum cosmology; ideal design of the universe; philosophy, science, and religion; necessity of the laws of physics; question of whether the universe has a point.
(1932- ): Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University (1957); taught at Princeton until 1963, when he joined the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Maryland, College Park; research interests include theoretical studies of general relativity, quantization of general relativity, cosmology, and science education.
Dyson, Freeman J.
Misner, Charles W.
Peebles, P. J. E. (Phillip James Edwin)
Ross, Arnold E. (Arnold Ephraim), 1906-
Wheeler, John Archibald, 1911-2008.
Princeton University
University of Notre Dame
Inflationary universe.
Large scale structure (Astronomy)
Missing mass (Astronomy)
Philosophy and science.
Relativity (Physics)
Religion and science.
Steady state cosmology.
Interviews. aat
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