Johns Hopkins University. Applied Physics Laboratory

Interviewed by
Allan A. Needell and David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Singer's office, National Air and Space Museum
Abstract

Ionospheric work in the ‘50s; Lloyd Beckner, extensively; McKerran Act and scientists; Satellite discussions in the early ‘50s; meeting and attendees at a meeting in Beckner’s room at IUGG; Project Farside; rocket work; discussions of using explosions in space to create shock waves; trapped radiation; Project Argus; Singer excluded from NASA and NRL but got funding from NSA.

Interviewed by
Richard F. Hirsh
Interview date
Location
Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D. C.
Abstract

Deals with the career of Herbert Friedman, an experimentalist who used space-borne instruments from the 1940s through 1970s to examine the upper atmosphere and astronomical phenomena. Pioneer in the fields of solar and non-solar x-ray astronomy. His role in development of Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) research programs. Discussed are: childhood and youth; his family's Jewish tradition; physics education at Brooklyn College and Johns Hopkins University during the Depression; anti-semitism in job-hiring; to the National Research Laboratory (NRL), 1940; war work on radio crystal oscillators using x-ray techniques; his atomic bomb detection work after the war; introduction to rocket research at NRL immediately after the war; Navy funding of rocket work; early solar x-ray work, 1949-1958; impressions of colleagues Edward O. Hulbert, Richard Tousey, T. Robert Burnight, Homer E. Newell; impact of Sputnik and creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958; pioneering work in ultraviolet astronomy and non-solar x-ray astronomy; x-ray astronomy work in the 1960s; trying to detect neutron stars in 1964; x-ray astronomy in the 1970s; High Energy Astronomy Observatory program; possible evidence for a closed universe; administration of NRL; his work on various committees (including the President's Science Advisory Committee); future programs such as the Space Shuttle and Space Telescope. Also prominently mentioned are: William W. Beeman, C. Stuart Bowyer, Werner von Braun, Gunter Bruckner, Edward T. Byram, George Carruthers, Talbot Chubb, James Franck, Riccardo Giacconi, Leo Goldberg, John Charles Hubbard, Neil Johnson, Jim Kurfess, James Van Allen; American Science and Engineering, Inc., High Energy Astronomy Observatory, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, National Academy of Sciences (U.S.), Naval Research Laboratory (U.S.), Phillips Petroleum Co., United States Office of Naval Research, V-2 (Rocket), and Washington Navy Yard.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Fraser's office, Applied Physics Laboratory, Baltimore, Maryland
Abstract

This interview describes Fraser's work as an engineer and instrumentation specialist at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) during WWII, and then more significantly, at Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) following World War II.  His work at DTM was on proximity fuse research.  He tranferred from DTM to APL during the war and concentrated on radar research and control systems for guided missiles.  After the war, he participated in the used of V-2s for upper atmostphere research with James Van Allen's High Altitude Group, developing instrumentation for telemtetry and cosmic ray research.  Other affiliations and contacts discussed include:  Luis Alvarez, William Fowler, Allen Hynek, Richard Roberts, Philip Rudnick, Robert Shankland, Merle Tuve, James Van Allen, John Victoreen and the Victoreen Instrument Company, White Sands Missile Range.  Topics discussed include metallurgy, nuclear fission, proximity fuzes, rocket development and radio transmission.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Fastie's office, Rowland Hall, Johns Hopkins University
Abstract

This interview discusses Fastie's career as a physicist, beginning with a position as research assistant at the Johns Hopkins University Physics Department (1941-45), as a research physicist at Leeds and Northrop (1945-51) and later as a research contract director and research scientist at Johns Hopkins (1951-68). After covering his family background and education, the discussion details Fastie's contact with A.H. Pfund and R.W. Wood, including many anecdotal recollections regarding the classified work of Pfund and Wood during WWII; and his interest in instrumentation as reflected in his work with Echelle gratings and spectrographs.  Other topics discussed include:  Baltimore city during 1920s; undergraduate and graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University;  physical optics; spectrum analysis; infrared gas analysis; pyrometry; Eschelle gratings; Leeds and Northrup; Applied Physics Laboratory (APL); National Defense Research Committee (NDRC); John Sanderson; J.A. Bearden; John Charles Hubbard; G.H. Dieke; John Strong; and George Harrison, among others.

Interviewed by
Ronald Doel
Interview date
Location
Naples, Florida
Abstract

Early schooling and university training; association with the Oliver Machinery Company; involvement in the Applied Physics Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins University during World War II; lunar studies from the 1940s into the 1970s. Recollections of professional employment at the Flower Observatory of the University of Pennsylvania in the 1930s, and the Dearborn Observatory of Northwestern University from 1938 to 1942.

Interviewed by
Martin Harwit
Interview date
Location
Living room of Dr. Alpher's home, Schenectady, New York
Abstract

Session two is a joint interview with Robert Herman. Family background and early education, work at Carnegie Institution's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, studies at George Washington University, wartime employment and studies, work with Navy on detection of mines; graduate studies with George Gamow while working at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, early universe theory, first encounter and later work with Robert Herman, interaction with physics community. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and L. R. Henrich, neglect of Alpher and Herman work by astronomical community; General Electric projects: supersonic flow, re-entry physics, the Talaria project; the Penzias/Wilson observations; honors, marriage. Miscellaneous recollections about youth in Washington, D.C., service on scientific committees, public education efforts, work at General Electric. Meeting of Alpher and Herman, their collaboration, cosmological theory, work with George Gamow, Edward Teller, Hans Bethe, Edward Condon, cosmic background radiation, controversy with steady-state adherents and others; systematic neglect of their work, nucleosynthesis in stars, reactions to awards, discussions with Arno A. Penzias at the time of Nobel Prize award (with Robert W. Wilson), correspondence with S. Pasternack about P. James Peeble's cosmology papers, Alpher paper on neutrino and photon background calculation, James Follin, C. Hayashi, Steven Weinberg's presentation in his book The First Three Minutes; current cosmological efforts, A. Zee's papers on cosmology, views on the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, Fred Hoyle's recent writings. Also prominently mentioned are: Niels Henrik David Bohr, Albert Einstein, Richard Phillips Feynman, Lawrence Randolph Hafstad, Robert Hofstadter, Huntington, and H. P. Robertson.

Interviewed by
Martin Harwit
Interview date
Location
Schenectady, New York
Abstract

Session two is a joint interview with Robert Herman. Family background and early education, work at Carnegie Institution's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, studies at George Washington University, wartime employment and studies, work with Navy on detection of mines; graduate studies with George Gamow while working at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, early universe theory, first encounter and later work with Robert Herman, interaction with physics community. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and L. R. Henrich, neglect of Alpher and Herman work by astronomical community; General Electric projects: supersonic flow, re-entry physics, the Talaria project; the Penzias/Wilson observations; honors, marriage. Miscellaneous recollections about youth in Washington, D.C., service on scientific committees, public education efforts, work at General Electric. Meeting of Alpher and Herman, their collaboration, cosmological theory, work with George Gamow, Edward Teller, Hans Bethe, Edward Condon, cosmic background radiation, controversy with steady-state adherents and others; systematic neglect of their work, nucleosynthesis in stars, reactions to awards, discussions with Arno A. Penzias at the time of Nobel Prize award (with Robert W. Wilson), correspondence with S. Pasternack about P. James Peeble's cosmology papers, Alpher paper on neutrino and photon background calculation, James Follin, C. Hayashi, Steven Weinberg's presentation in his book The First Three Minutes; current cosmological efforts, A. Zee's papers on cosmology, views on the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, Fred Hoyle's recent writings. Also prominently mentioned are: Niels Henrik David Bohr, Albert Einstein, Richard Phillips Feynman, Lawrence Randolph Hafstad, Robert Hofstadter, Huntington, and H. P. Robertson.