Niels Bohr institutet

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

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Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

In this interview, Sheldon Glashow, Professor of Physics Emeritus at Harvard University and Professor of Physics Emeritus at Boston University, reflects on his career and Nobel Prize winning work. He discusses his childhood friendship with Steve Weinberg and his passion for science from a young age. He reflects on his decision to attend Cornell University for undergrad and details the physics curriculum at the time. Glashow describes his time as a graduate student at Harvard University studying under Julian Schwinger. He discusses his time as a post-doc at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen working on the SU(2)XU(1) theory, which would later win him a Nobel prize in 1979. He speaks about working with Murray Gell-Mann while at Caltech and their collaboration on a paper together. Glashow details being hired as a full professor at Harvard University. He discusses his frequent collaboration with Alvaro De Rujula. He discusses the concept of string theory and how it has evolved over the years. He discusses the loss of the superconducting super collider and reflects on where particle and theoretical physics may be today had it been built. Lastly, Glashow reflects on his goals for "Inference: International Review of Science", of which he is the editor-at-large.

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

Interview with Feryal Ozel, professor of astronomy and physics at the University of Arizona. Ozel recounts her childhood and family background in Istanbul and how her interest in science was fostered both at home and at the all-girls international school she attended through 12th grade. She describes the opportunities that led to her enrollment at Columbia University for her undergraduate education, where she majored in physics and applied math and where Jacob Shaham influenced her interest in neutron stars. She describes a formative summer internship at CERN where she worked on supersymmetric decays of the Higgs boson, and a postgraduate year at the Niels Bohr Institute, before she began her graduate work at Harvard. Ozel discusses her thesis research on magnetars under the direction of Ramesh Narayan and she describes her postdoctoral position at the Institute for Advanced Study as a Hubble fellow. She describes the academic and family considerations that made Arizona an attractive option and she explains the mechanics behind funding from NASA and the NSF. Ozel describes her favorite physics classes to teach, how she sees her role as a mentor to women students and students of under-represented groups, and she surveys recent developments in neutron star astrophysics and the interaction of gas and black holes. She discusses her contributions to the Event Horizon collaboration, and she relates her ideas on the significance of seeing a photograph of a black hole without needing observational evidence to know that black holes exist. Ozel describes her motivations in serving in scientific advisory roles and the importance of science communication and how advances in computational power have revolutionized astrophysics. At the end of the interview, Ozel discusses the outstanding question mark about making gravity compatible with how we understand the subatomic world and how this serves as a starting point for future research oriented toward fundamental discovery, and why she is particularly interested in continuing to work on black hole imaging.

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview dates
July 27 and August 18, 2020
Location
Video conference
Abstract

Interview with Anne Kinney, Deputy Center Director of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Kinney recounts her childhood in Wisconsin and her early interests in science. She describes her undergraduate experience at the University of Wisconsin where she pursued degrees in physics and astronomy. Kinney discusses her time in Denmark at the Niels Bohr Institute before completing her graduate work at NYU relating to the International Ultraviolet Explorer. She explains the opportunities leading to her postdoctoral appointment at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore where she focused on obtaining optical data and near-infrared data to understand spectral energy distribution for quasars and blazars. Kinney discusses her work on the aberrated Hubble Telescope and her new job at NASA Headquarters where she became head of Origins before she was transferred to Goddard where she became division direct of the Planetary Division. She describes Goddard’s efforts to promote diversity and she describes her subsequent position as chief scientist at Keck Observatory before returning to Washington to join the National Science Foundation to be head of the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences. Kinney provides a broad view of the NSF budgetary environment, and she explains the circumstances that led her back to NASA to her current work. She describes where Goddard fits into NASA’s overall mission and she explains her interest in promoting NASA in an educational framework to children. At the end of the interview, Kinney conveys her excitement about the James Webb Telescope and why she is committed to ensuring that NASA is a driver behind the broader effort to make astronomy and physics more diverse.

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Richard Casten, D. Allan Bromley Professor of Physics Emeritus at Yale, and consultant for the Facility for Rare Ion Beams facility at Michigan State. Casten recounts his childhood in Manhattan and his decision to attend Holy Cross for his undergraduate studies, where he pursued a degree in physics from the outset. He describes the long term benefits of a degree that required significant coursework in the humanities, and how he came to focus on nuclear physics as a research focus. Casten describes his graduate work at Yale and his work with Allan Bromley, who at the time was working on lower energy accelerators. Casten explains the major research questions in nuclear physics at that time, and he describe his research in the Coulomb excitation in the osmium isotopes. He recounts his time at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, his work using the triton beam at Los Alamos, and his subsequent research on the tandem accelerator at Brookhaven. Casten explains the rise of interest in the interacting boson model, and he describes his decision to join the faculty at Yale where he directed the Wright Nuclear Structure Lab. He describes his research over the course of his tenure at Yale, and the import of the collaborations he has maintained with his colleagues in Cologne. At the end of the interview, Casten provides an overview of his key contributions, and he shares what is most compelling to him for the future of nuclear physics.

Interviewed by
Joan Warnow and Robert Williams
Interview date
Location
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Abstract

Childhood and high school education; undergraduate eduction at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bachelor's thesis with John Slater on energy level spacings in the multiple structure of transition metal atoms; graduate education at Urbana, Illinois, first paper under John Bardeen on the problem of transport of electrons bound to surfaces in semiconductors (Bardeen, David Pines); doctoral thesis on superconductivity, theoretical issues relevant to it; Leon Cooper's contributions, field theory, the bound state; Bardeen wins the Nobel Prize, emotional letdowns related to slow results of research; Stevens Conference on the many-body problem and American Physical Society Meeting, 1957; application of the Tomonaga variational technique, work on it with Cooper and Bardeen, problems with the second order phase transition, Bardeen's solution of the wave function; refinements of the new theory of superconductivity; feelings about working with Bardeen and Cooper; reactions of the scientific community to the new theory (Niels Bohr, Norman Ramsey); views on scientific creativity; the square dance analogy of the B-C-S theory; the Nobel Prize, 1972; American and Soviet competition for solution of superconductivity; objections to the theory based on gauge invariance properties; aftermath of discovery and Nobel Prize. Also prominently mentioned are: Jane Bardeen, John Bardeen, Nikolay N. Bogoliubov, Bohr family, Keith Allan Brueckner, Eli Burstein, Butler, Leon Cooper, Richard Phillips Feynman, Dave Frisch, Frölich, Ernest Guillemin, Douglas Rayner Hartree, Werner Heisenberg, David Hilbert, George F. Koster, Fritz London, Francis Eugene Low, Arkadii Beinusovich Migdal, David Pines, Léon Rosenfeld, Blat Schatloff, Ann Schrieffer, Frederick Seitz, Charles Slichter, Gregor Wentzel; Institute for Theoretical Physics (Copenhagen), and Niels Bohr Institutet.

Interviewed by
Joan Warnow
Interview date
Location
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Abstract

Childhood and high school education; undergraduate eduction at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bachelor's thesis with John Slater on energy level spacings in the multiple structure of transition metal atoms; graduate education at Urbana, Illinois, first paper under John Bardeen on the problem of transport of electrons bound to surfaces in semiconductors (Bardeen, David Pines); doctoral thesis on superconductivity, theoretical issues relevant to it; Leon Cooper's contributions, field theory, the bound state; Bardeen wins the Nobel Prize, emotional letdowns related to slow results of research; Stevens Conference on the many-body problem and American Physical Society Meeting, 1957; application of the Tomonaga variational technique, work on it with Cooper and Bardeen, problems with the second order phase transition, Bardeen's solution of the wave function; refinements of the new theory of superconductivity; feelings about working with Bardeen and Cooper; reactions of the scientific community to the new theory (Niels Bohr, Norman Ramsey); views on scientific creativity; the square dance analogy of the B-C-S theory; the Nobel Prize, 1972; American and Soviet competition for solution of superconductivity; objections to the theory based on gauge invariance properties; aftermath of discovery and Nobel Prize. Also prominently mentioned are: Jane Bardeen, John Bardeen, Nikolay N. Bogoliubov, Bohr family, Keith Allan Brueckner, Eli Burstein, Butler, Leon Cooper, Richard Phillips Feynman, Dave Frisch, Frölich, Ernest Guillemin, Douglas Rayner Hartree, Werner Heisenberg, David Hilbert, George F. Koster, Fritz London, Francis Eugene Low, Arkadii Beinusovich Migdal, David Pines, Léon Rosenfeld, Blat Schatloff, Ann Schrieffer, Frederick Seitz, Charles Slichter, Gregor Wentzel; Institute for Theoretical Physics (Copenhagen), and Niels Bohr Institutet.

Interviewed by
Thomas S. Kuhn, Emilio Segrè, and John Heilbron
Interview date
Location
Segrè home, Lafayette, California
Abstract

This interview was conducted as part of the Archives for the History of Quantum Physics project, which includes tapes and transcripts of oral history interviews conducted with circa 100 atomic and quantum physicists. Subjects discuss their family backgrounds, how they became interested in physics, their educations, people who influenced them, their careers including social influences on the conditions of research, and the state of atomic, nuclear, and quantum physics during the period in which they worked. Discussions of scientific matters relate to work that was done between approximately 1900 and 1930, with an emphasis on the discovery and interpretations of quantum mechanics in the 1920s. Also prominently mentioned are: Francis William Aston, Karl Auer von Welsbach, Niels Henrik David Bohr, William Henry Bragg, Johannes Broensted, Dirk Coster, Marie Curie, Charles Galton Darwin, Alexandre Dauvillier, Albert Einstein, Roland von Eötvös, Kasimir Fajans, Alexander Fleck, Fritz Haber, Martin Knudsen, Henry Gwyn Jeffreys Moseley, Hantaro Nagaoka, Walther Nernst, Ida Noddack, William Ramsay, Ricci-Curbastro, A. S. Russell, Ernest Rutherford, Erwin Schrödinger, Frederick Soddy, Edward Teller, Thomson, Georges Urbain, M. Volmer; Niels Bohr Institutet, and University of Manchester.

Interviewed by
Thomas S. Kuhn, Emilio Segrè, and John Heilbron
Interview date
Location
Segrè home, Lafayette, California
Abstract

This interview was conducted as part of the Archives for the History of Quantum Physics project, which includes tapes and transcripts of oral history interviews conducted with ca. 100 atomic and quantum physicists. Subjects discuss their family backgrounds, how they became interested in physics, their educations, people who influenced them, their careers including social influences on the conditions of research, and the state of atomic, nuclear, and quantum physics during the period in which they worked. Discussions of scientific matters relate to work that was done between approximately 1900 and 1930, with an emphasis on the discovery and interpretations of quantum mechanics in the l920s. Also prominently mentioned are: Francis William Aston, Karl Auer von Welsbach, Niels Henrik David Bohr, William Henry Bragg, Johannes Broensted, Dirk Coster, Marie Curie, Charles Galton Darwin, Alexandre Dauvillier, Albert Einstein, Roland von Eotvos, Kasimir Fajans, Alexander Fleck, Fritz Haber, Martin Knudsen, Henry Gwyn Jeffreys Moseley, Hantaro Nagaoka, Walther Nernst, Ida Noddack, William Ramsey, Ricci-Curbastro, A. S. Russell, Ernest Rutherford, Erwin Schrodinger, Frederick Soddy, Edward Teller, Thomson, Georges Urbain, M. Volmer; Niels Bohr Institute, and University of Manchester.

Interviewed by
Charles Weiner
Interview date
Location
American Institute of Physics, New York City, New York
Abstract

Career in nuclear physics, chiefly through 1939; describes differences in atmosphere among the Universities of Vienna, Berlin, London and Copenhagen; his switch from mathematics to physics at Vienna; work at University of Berlin on a grant, with Peter Pringsheim, before going to Hamburg to work with Otto Stern; with Hitler laws in effect, leaves for position with Patrick M. S. Blackett at Birkbeck College, 1933; then to Niels Bohr's Institute, until 1939; anecdotes about working on neutron experiments and nuclear models in Copenhagen; recounts how he and Lise Meitner explained fission, and memorandum with Rudolf Peierls on bomb possibilities; brief comments on postwar career.