Interview concentrates on the history of the Physics Department at the University of Washington from August 1903 when Brakel arrived as a half-time graduate assistant. Frederick A. Osborn, who became the first chairman of the Physics Department, had come to the University of Washington as a professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering in 1902. Brakel got his Master's degree in Physics in 1905 and became full-time instructor for $900 a year. When accepted for a job at the Bureau of Standards, his salary was raised to $1300. Brakel took a leave of absence from 1910-1912 and got his Ph.D. at Cornell University. Osborn was chairman of the committee on accrediting. University of Washington administration staff mentioned include Dr. Thomas Franklin Kane (President in 1903) and Kaufman (university librarian). Cornell University staff mentioned include John Sandford Shearer, Ernest George Merritt, Roswell Clifton Gibbs, Edward Leamington Nichols, and Robert D. Richtmyer. Other persons mentioned are Robert W. Wood (University of Wisconsin), Henry Smith Carhart (University of Michigan), and Robert Andrews Millikan (University of Chicago).
In this interview, Alice Armstrong discusses: her family and childhood; her time at Wellesley College; her work at the Bureau of Standards radiation lab, inlcuding the radiation standard and her first radiation accident; her time at Radcliffe College; x-ray induced illness; and her interactions with Marie Curie, P. W. Bridgman, O. D. Kellogg, William Duane, Emory Leon Chaffee, Theodore Lyman, and Robert Havighurst.
In this interview, Betsy Ancker-Johnson:, a solid state physicist, discusses such topics as: her family background and early education; her undergraduate work at Wellesley College; Hedwig Kohn; Lise Meitner; her graduate work in Germany at Tubingen University; Donald Menzel; Walther Kossel; measuring lattice constants of zinc and zinc crystals; Charles Kittel; the Minerals Research Laboratory (MRL) at University of California, Berkeley; George Gamow; working in microwave electronics at Stanford University in the Sylvania Microwave Physics Laboratory; her work at the Radio Corporation of America (RCA); L. S. Nergaard; zeolites; working with hot electrons with Maurice Glicksman; Boeing Scientific Reseach Laboratories (BSRL) and plasma physics; Jim Drummond; speaking at the Lebedev Institute; Ivar Gunn; Glen Keister; President Nixon asking her to be the Assistant Secretary for Science and Technology in the U. S. Department of Commerce; women in physics; National Bureau of Standards; trying to switch to the metric system; Dixie Lee Ray; Fred Dent; working at Argonne National Laboratories; becoming a vice president at General Motors; and Elmer W. Johnson.