American Astronomical Society

Interviewed by
Spencer Weart
Interview date
Abstract

In this interview, Geoffrey Burbidge discusses the history of physics over the course of his career.  Topics discussed include: Astronomical Society of the Pacific; E. Margaret Burbridge; American Astronomical Society; Hale Observatory; Lick Observatory; radio astronomy; Naval Research Laboratory; x-ray astronomy; Bruno Rossi; optical astronomy; Kitt Peak National Observatory; air and light pollution; Allan Sandage; Harvard University; Princeton University; Lord Kelvin; S. Chandrasekhar; Henry Norris Russell; Paul Merrill; Leo Goldberg; Edwin Hubble; Royal Society; Milton Humason; theory of relativity; Fred Hoyle; big bang cosmology; steady state cosmology; Joe Weber; John Wheeler; Willy Fowler.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
University of California, Santa Cruz
Abstract

Discusses her childhood and education; her developing interest in astronomy; studying with C. C. L. Gregory at the University of London Observatory and University College; her thesis work on the variations in Gamma Cassiopeia; meeting and marrying Geoffrey Burbidge; discrimination against women in the Carnegie Followships; the conflict between her work and having a family; the decision to go to the U.S. and Yerkes; use of the 82-inch telescope at McDonald; recollections of Shapley; disagreements between Kuiper and Urey; development of interest in abundance of elements; Baade's inspiration; offers for Geoffrey Burbidge from Manchester and Cambridge and move to Cambridge University; Geoffrey's differences with M. Ryle involving source of radio emission; meeting Willie Fowler; decision to return to the U. S. and Caltech; observing time at Mt Wilson; reactions of the old guard to women observers; collaborations with Baade on supernovae synthesis (1956); work on barium II stars; the search for permanent positions; advantage of position at Chicago/Yerkes/McDonald; move to Chicago and work on galaxies (1957-1962); observations of Centaurus A at 82-inch McDonald telescope; leaving Yerkes to go to La Jolla with Revelle; continued research on quasars and general research; cosmological implications of quasars; summer in Pasadena with Hoyle; development of Hoyle's Institute; challenges of Burbidge, Fowler, Hoyle concept of nucleosynthesis; Unsold's arguments; Arp's work; lack of satisfactory gravitational red shift models; university's relationship with Lick; infra-red work future of Greenwich and changes in the power structure in the British Astronomical establishment; offer of position as head of the Science Research Council; decision to take a leave of absence from La Jolla and accept; difficulties of the position and the decision as to where to locate the Northern Hemisphere Observatory; decision to return to the U. S.; American Astronomical Society presidency (1976-1978); AAS and the Equal Rights Amendment; her most satisfying work in nucleosynthesis, B2FH. Among those prominently mentioned: Arp, Baade, Bowen, Chandrasekhar, Greenstein, Hoyle, Kuiper, P. Merrill, H. Minkowski, R. Revelle, M. Ryle, Sandage, Shapley, Stromgren, Unsold, Urey.

Interviewed by
Joseph N. Tatarewicz
Interview date
Location
National Air and Space Museum
Abstract

This interview traces Brunk's career in engineering with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), Lewis Research Center (formerly Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory), NASA and NASA Headquarters.  The discussion begins with an overview of his family background and his education at Case Institute of Technology, followed by his work in supersonic aerodynamics for NACA.  The interview primarily examines Brunk's role in and perceptions of the development of planetary ground-based astronomy during his tenure at NASA Headquarters, as Program Chief of Planetary Astronomy.  Topics discussed include: telescope innovations at different observatories; problems and techniques in ground-based observation; exploration of Mars; the Planetary Patrol program at Lowell Observatory; his membership to the American Astronomical Society; and general perceptions of NASA's role in ground-based astronomy.  Other affiliations and contacts discussed include: Jason Nassau, Nancy Roman, Urner Liddel, and Gerard Kuiper.

Interviewed by
Joseph N. Tatarewicz
Interview date
Location
National Air and Space Museum
Abstract

This interview traces Brunk's career in engineering with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), Lewis Research Center (formerly Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory), NASA and NASA Headquarters.  The discussion begins with an overview of his family background and his education at Case Institute of Technology, followed by his work in supersonic aerodynamics for NACA.  The interview primarily examines Brunk's role in and perceptions of the development of planetary ground-based astronomy during his tenure at NASA Headquarters, as Program Chief of Planetary Astronomy.  Topics discussed include: telescope innovations at different observatories; problems and techniques in ground-based observation; exploration of Mars; the Planetary Patrol program at Lowell Observatory; his membership to the American Astronomical Society; and general perceptions of NASA's role in ground-based astronomy.  Other affiliations and contacts discussed include: Jason Nassau, Nancy Roman, Urner Liddel, and Gerard Kuiper.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Office of the American Astronomical Society's Executive Officer
Abstract

Obtaining position as American Astronomical Society (AAS) Executive Officer (1979-1997); starting up the newsletter, travel grants, research grants; moving the executive office to Washington, DC; computerizing the AAS; increasing interaction with Congress; support of statistical research; astronomy education; fundraising and budget; increasing membership; possible merger of AAS and ASP (Astronomical Society of the Pacific); Carl Sagan and Robert Kirschner Congressional briefings; interactions with Ivan King, Dave Heeschen, Art Code, Maartin Schmidt, Bernie Burke, Andrea Dupree, John Bahcall, Don Osterbrock, Arlo Landolt, Harold Weaver, Margaret Burbidge, Hank Gurin, Jarus Quinn, Don Wells.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Office of the American Astronomical Society's Executive Officer
Abstract

This interview is part of a small program to document the recent history of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). These interviews were used as background studies to help authors of chapters of the centennial history volume of the Society research and organize documentary materials. The volume to be published in 1999.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
University of Maryland, Center for Adult Education, College Park, Maryland
Abstract

Interview discusses, not in chronological order: early home life and schooling; undergraduate at Leiden, influence of Paul Ehrenfest, Jan H. Oort, Jacobus C. Kapteyn, Gerard Kuiper, Antonie Pannekoek, Ejnar Hertzsprung. Recollections of work of Georg Uhlenbeck and Samuel Goudsmit. Assistant to Peter van Rhijn at Groningen ca. 1928, work on various stellar and galactic topics. Move to Harvard, 1929, and atmosphere there under Harlow Shapley. Marriage to Priscilla Fairfield Bok; her contacts with William W. Campbell. Search for and interpretation of spiral auras of our galaxy; studies of stellar density distribution. Activities during World War II. Harvard astronomy group's difficult postwar transition; McCarthyism. Work on nebulae and globules. Comments on astronomy at Mt. Wilson, Tonantziutla, and South Africa. Origins of Harvard radio astronomy and National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and their funding. Move to Australia, 1956, and conditions there. Move to Steward Observatory of University of Arizona, 1964, and conditions there. Location of national observatory at Kitt Peak; management of Kitt Peak. Discussions of astronomy, education, popularization, employment, and organization. Also prominently mentioned are: Wilhelm Heinrich Walter Baade, McGeorge Bundy, Edwin F. Carpenter, Tom Cherry, James Bryant Conant, Arthur Stanley Eddington, Sergei Gaposchkin, Jesse Leonard Greenstein, Haro, David Heeschen, Ejnar Hertzsprung, James Jeans, Ivan Robert King, Bertil Lindblad, Antonia Maury, Nicholas Ulrich Mayall, Joseph McCarthy, Sidney McCuskey, Aden Meinel, Donald Howard Menzel, Robert Menzies, James E. Miller, Edward Arthur Milne, William Wilson Morgan, Edward Charles Pickering, Harry Hemley Plaskett, Nathan Pusey, Martin Schwarzschild, Willem de Sitter, Otto Struve; American Astronomical Society, Associated Universities for Research in Astronomy, Associated Universities, Inc., Boyden Observatory, Case Institute of Technology, Harvard College Observatory, Harvard Series on Astronomy, Indiana University, Mount Stromlo Observatory, National Science Foundation (U.S.), Ohio State University, Princeton University, Rijksuniversiteit te Groningen, Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden, University of Arizona, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, and University of Texas.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Howard Johnson Motel, Tempe, Arizona
Abstract

Interview discusses, not in chronological order: early home life and schooling; undergraduate at Leiden, influence of Paul Ehrenfest, Jan H. Oort, Jacobus C. Kapteyn, Gerard Kuiper, Antonie Pannekoek, Ejnar Hertzsprung. Recollections of work of Georg Uhlenbeck and Samuel Goudsmit. Assistant to Peter van Rhijn at Groningen ca. 1928, work on various stellar and galactic topics. Move to Harvard, 1929, and atmosphere there under Harlow Shapley. Marriage to Priscilla Fairfield Bok; her contacts with William W. Campbell. Search for and interpretation of spiral auras of our galaxy; studies of stellar density distribution. Activities during World War II. Harvard astronomy group's difficult postwar transition; McCarthyism. Work on nebulae and globules. Comments on astronomy at Mt. Wilson, Tonantziutla, and South Africa. Origins of Harvard radio astronomy and National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and their funding. Move to Australia, 1956, and conditions there. Move to Steward Observatory of University of Arizona, 1964, and conditions there. Location of national observatory at Kitt Peak; management of Kitt Peak. Discussions of astronomy, education, popularization, employment, and organization. Also prominently mentioned are: Wilhelm Heinrich Walter Baade, McGeorge Bundy, Edwin F. Carpenter, Tom Cherry, James Bryant Conant, Arthur Stanley Eddington, Sergei Gaposchkin, Jesse Leonard Greenstein, Haro, David Heeschen, Ejnar Hertzsprung, James Jeans, Ivan Robert King, Bertil Lindblad, Antonia Maury, Nicholas Ulrich Mayall, Joseph McCarthy, Sidney McCuskey, Aden Meinel, Donald Howard Menzel, Robert Menzies, James E. Miller, Edward Arthur Milne, William Wilson Morgan, Edward Charles Pickering, Harry Hemley Plaskett, Nathan Pusey, Martin Schwarzschild, Willem de Sitter, Otto Struve; American Astronomical Society, Associated Universities for Research in Astronomy, Associated Universities, Inc., Boyden Observatory, Case Institute of Technology, Harvard College Observatory, Harvard Series on Astronomy, Indiana University, Mount Stromlo Observatory, National Science Foundation (U.S.), Ohio State University, Princeton University, Rijksuniversiteit te Groningen, Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden, University of Arizona, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, and University of Texas.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Steward Observatory, Tucson, Arizona
Abstract

Interview discusses, not in chronological order: early home life and schooling; undergraduate at Leiden, influence of Paul Ehrenfest, Jan H. Oort, Jacobus C. Kapteyn, Gerard Kuiper, Antonie Pannekoek, Ejnar Hertzsprung. Recollections of work of Georg Uhlenbeck and Samuel Goudsmit. Assistant to Peter van Rhijn at Groningen ca. 1928, work on various stellar and galactic topics. Move to Harvard, 1929, and atmosphere there under Harlow Shapley. Marriage to Priscilla Fairfield Bok; her contacts with William W. Campbell. Search for and interpretation of spiral auras of our galaxy; studies of stellar density distribution. Activities during World War II. Harvard astronomy group's difficult postwar transition; McCarthyism. Work on nebulae and globules. Comments on astronomy at Mt. Wilson, Tonantziutla, and South Africa. Origins of Harvard radio astronomy and National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and their funding. Move to Australia, 1956, and conditions there. Move to Steward Observatory of University of Arizona, 1964, and conditions there. Location of national observatory at Kitt Peak; management of Kitt Peak. Discussions of astronomy, education, popularization, employment, and organization. Also prominently mentioned are: Wilhelm Heinrich Walter Baade, McGeorge Bundy, Edwin F. Carpenter, Tom Cherry, James Bryant Conant, Arthur Stanley Eddington, Sergei Gaposchkin, Jesse Leonard Greenstein, Haro, David Heeschen, Ejnar Hertzsprung, James Jeans, Ivan Robert King, Bertil Lindblad, Antonia Maury, Nicholas Ulrich Mayall, Joseph McCarthy, Sidney McCuskey, Aden Meinel, Donald Howard Menzel, Robert Menzies, James E. Miller, Edward Arthur Milne, William Wilson Morgan, Edward Charles Pickering, Harry Hemley Plaskett, Nathan Pusey, Martin Schwarzschild, Willem de Sitter, Otto Struve; American Astronomical Society, Associated Universities for Research in Astronomy, Associated Universities, Inc., Boyden Observatory, Case Institute of Technology, Harvard College Observatory, Harvard Series on Astronomy, Indiana University, Mount Stromlo Observatory, National Science Foundation (U.S.), Ohio State University, Princeton University, Rijksuniversiteit te Groningen, Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden, University of Arizona, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, and University of Texas.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Steward Observatory, Tucson, Arizona
Abstract

Interview discusses, not in chronological order: early home life and schooling; undergraduate at Leiden, influence of Paul Ehrenfest, Jan H. Oort, Jacobus C. Kapteyn, Gerard Kuiper, Antonie Pannekoek, Ejnar Hertzsprung. Recollections of work of Georg Uhlenbeck and Samuel Goudsmit. Assistant to Peter van Rhijn at Groningen ca. 1928, work on various stellar and galactic topics. Move to Harvard, 1929, and atmosphere there under Harlow Shapley. Marriage to Priscilla Fairfield Bok; her contacts with William W. Campbell. Search for and interpretation of spiral auras of our galaxy; studies of stellar density distribution. Activities during World War II. Harvard astronomy group's difficult postwar transition; McCarthyism. Work on nebulae and globules. Comments on astronomy at Mt. Wilson, Tonantziutla, and South Africa. Origins of Harvard radio astronomy and National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and their funding. Move to Australia, 1956, and conditions there. Move to Steward Observatory of University of Arizona, 1964, and conditions there. Location of national observatory at Kitt Peak; management of Kitt Peak. Discussions of astronomy, education, popularization, employment, and organization. Also prominently mentioned are: Wilhelm Heinrich Walter Baade, McGeorge Bundy, Edwin F. Carpenter, Tom Cherry, James Bryant Conant, Arthur Stanley Eddington, Sergei Gaposchkin, Jesse Leonard Greenstein, Haro, David Heeschen, Ejnar Hertzsprung, James Jeans, Ivan Robert King, Bertil Lindblad, Antonia Maury, Nicholas Ulrich Mayall, Joseph McCarthy, Sidney McCuskey, Aden Meinel, Donald Howard Menzel, Robert Menzies, James E. Miller, Edward Arthur Milne, William Wilson Morgan, Edward Charles Pickering, Harry Hemley Plaskett, Nathan Pusey, Martin Schwarzschild, Willem de Sitter, Otto Struve; American Astronomical Society, Associated Universities for Research in Astronomy, Associated Universities, Inc., Boyden Observatory, Case Institute of Technology, Harvard College Observatory, Harvard Series on Astronomy, Indiana University, Mount Stromlo Observatory, National Science Foundation (U.S.), Ohio State University, Princeton University, Rijksuniversiteit te Groningen, Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden, University of Arizona, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, and University of Texas.