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Peebles, P. J. E. (Phillip James Edwin)
Oral history interview with James Peebles, 1988 January 19.
This interview covers James Peebles's early interest in building things and influence of father; graduate education at Princeton; mentorship with Robert Dicke; introduction to cosmology; Peebles's early questioning of the assumption of homogeneity in cosmological models and the validity of cosmological models; the simplicity of the universe; history of Dicke's suggestion to search for the cosmic background radiation; Dicke's suggestion to Peebles to work out the theoretical consequences of a hot, young universe; attitude toward the question of whether the universe is open or closed; attitude toward the inflationary universe model; problems with oscillating universe models; history and meaning of the flatness problem; attitude toward the horizon problem; reasons why horizon and flatness problems became important when they did; various reactions in the community toward the horizon and flatness problems; initial skepticism toward the inflationary universe model; reasons why the inflationary universe model has been so influential; attitude toward initial conditions in cosmology; role of observations in creating new theories; reaction to de Lapparent, Geller, and Huchra's work on large-scale inhomogeneities; change in thinking about large-scale structure; importance of balloon analogy in visualizing the expansion of the universe; use of visual images in science; relationship of theory and observation in cosmology; crisis in our theory of galaxy formation; attitude toward extrapolating physics back to the very early universe; ideal design of the universe; question of whether the universe has a purpose.
(1935- ): Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University (1962); has remained at Princeton for all of his professional career; research interests include nucleosynthesis in the early universe, the clustering of galaxies, and other topics in cosmology.
Dicke, Robert H. (Robert Henry)
Geller, Margaret J.
Huchra, John P.
Peebles, P. J. E. (Phillip James Edwin)
Princeton University
Cosmic background radiation
Expanding universe
Galaxies -- Formation
Inflationary universe.
Large scale structure (Astronomy)
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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