Telescopes

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Edmondson’s Office, Swain Hall, Indiana University
Abstract

Early home life in Indiana, and early schooling. Origins of his interest in astronomy and the influence of both family and teachers. College years at Indiana University and contacts with members of the astronomy department there (E.C. and Vesto M. Slipher). Discussion of history of Indiana University Astronomy Department, and its contact with the Lowell Observatory. Graduate school at Harvard University, Peter van de Kamp's influence, work in stellar kinematics, impressions of atmosphere at Harvard. Faculty position at Indiana University, 1937 to present. Origins of Goethe Link Observatory, and the growth of the department. Organizational work in the American Astronomical Society (AAS). Work at National Science Foundation (NSF) as scientific officer for astronomy, 1956, and development of National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO); NSF and AUI; NRAO directors; Sputnik; Kitt Peak Observatory site survey, NSF and Associated Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA); Aden Meinel; John B. Irwin's proposal for a photoelectric observatory; Flagstaff Conference; Robert McMath Panel; structure of Kitt Peak staff; Chilean observatory and development of Cerro Tololo; Gerard Kuiper's role in southern observatory; European Southern Observatory (ESO), Carnegie Southern Observatory (CARSO) and AURA joint Paris meeting; Russian interests in southern observatory; CARSO application to Ford Foundation; agreements between AURA and CARSO; building telescopes at Kitt Peak and Cerro Tololoth︣e WISCO dispute; policy problems; AURA Board meetings; demise of Space Division at Kitt Peak; Whitford Panel; White Sands rocket project; astronomy and teaching at Indiana. Also prominently mentioned are: Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez, Lawrence Hugh Aller, Bart Jan Bok, William A. Cogshall, James Cuffey, H. T. Davis, Arthur Foley, Paul Herget, Helen Sawyer Hogg, Virgil Hunt, Geoffrey Keller, C. O. Lampland, Robert Reynolds McMath, Edward Arthur Milne, Samuel A. Mitchell, William Wilson Morgan, Jason John Nassau, Henry Norris Russell, Frederico Rutllant, Charles Donald Shane, Harlow Shapley, Jurgen Stock, Otto Struve, Merle Antony Tuve, Herman B. Wells, K. P. Williams, Marshall Wrubel; Associated Universities, Inc., Ford Foundation, Indiana Higher Education Telecommunication System, Lick Observatory, McDonald Observatory, and Yerkes Observatory.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Campbell Hall, University of California, Berkeley
Abstract

Covers her career in astronomy. Focuses on college education at Goucher, 1945-1948, and Harvard Graduate School from 1955; influence of Bart Bok and Cecilia Payne Gaposchkin. Positions at Naval Research Laboratory, Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory; funding, satellite tracking, telescope for Cerro Tololo, Berkeley, 1965; Hat Creek. Discussions on radio astronomy in 1950s and 1970s; very large array telescopes; women in astronomy and search for alternatives. Also prominently mentioned are: William W. Campbell, Harold Ewen, Thomas Gold, Helen Dodson Prince; Harvard Radio Observatory, United States Air Force, Cambridge Research Laboratory of United States Air Force, and University of California at Berkeley.

Interviewed by
Spencer Weart and Joan Warnow Blewett
Interview date
Location
Telephone interview
Abstract

Deals with the events leading up to and the discovery of the Crab Nebula Pulsar. Comments on his education at Cornell University and switch to astrophysics. Teams up with Michael Disney at Steward Observatory for their first observation on a 36-inch telescope. Discovery of the Vela Supernova remnant pulsar convinces them to concentrate on the Crab Nebula rather than white dwarfs. Discussion of preparations, of observations, and of the discovery. Reaction to the discovery, effect on future work. Also mentioned are: Robert McAllister, Don Taylor, and Dr. Weyman.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Naval Research Laboratory
Abstract

George Carruthers was born 1939 in Cincinnati, Ohio; child of George Arthur Carruthers and Sophia Singley Carruthers; father an engineer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; interest in science from reading science fiction; built his own telescope while in junior high school; very little discrimination in elementary or junior high school even though he was one of few African Americans; moved to Chicago for high school; access to Adler Planetarium and built more telescopes; read about rocket launches and Herb Frieman; read The Viking Rocket Story by Milton Rosen; undergraduate University of Illinois 1957-61; Ph.D. University of Illinois 1964; "An Experimental Investigation on Atomic Nitrogen Recombination;" while in graduate school spent a summer at AerJet in California; exposure to engineers and "big science;" post-doctorate at E. O. Hurlburt Center for Space Research at Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), in unit headed by Talbot Chubb; dichotomy between scientists and engineers; little discrimination; small science vs. big science; molecular hydrogen; concern with science education and Project SMART; cameras and sensors on rockets; spectrography; electronographic technology; joint proposal with Thorton Page; hired permanently at NRL; charge-coupled device (CCD) technology; Apollo 16; geocorona camera.

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
Charles Weiner
Interview date
Location
Mt. Wilson and Palomar Observatories, Pasadena, California
Abstract

Early life and education; research on spectroscopy with Robert A. Millikan at University of Chicago and Caltech; early teaching career at Caltech; work on forbidden lines, 200-inch telescope project; visitors to Caltech during the 1930s include Albert Einstein and Arnold Sommerfeld; effects of the Depression and World War II on astronomy; postwar reorganization, staff and funding at Mt. Wilson and Palomar Observatories; Edwin P. Hubble's role at the observatory; educational aspects of the observatory program (professional and public); research groups and research interests; theorists and observationalists, Jesse Greenstein, Guido Münch, Jan Oort, radio astronomy; recollections and evaluations of own work after retirement. Also prominently mentioned are: Walter Sydney Adams, Harold Delos Babcock, William Alvin Baum, Wilhelm Bjerknes, T. Bowen, Geoffrey R. Burbidge, Margaret Burbidge, Vannevar Bush, J. Carroll, Lee Alvin DuBridge, Theodore Dunham Jr., Edlén, Robley Dunglison Evans, William Alfred Fowler, Henry Gordon Gale, Cecilia Helena Payne Gaposchkin, George Ellery Hale, John L. Hall, Don Hendrix, Alfred H. Joy, Thomas Lauritsen, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, Max Mason, Edwin Mattison McMillan, Merriam, Paul Merrill, Rudolph Leo Bernhard Minkowski, R. Otis, Henry Norris Russell, John Donovan Strong, Richard Chase Tolman, Merle Antony Tuve; Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Interviewed by
Charles Weiner
Interview date
Location
Pasadena, California
Abstract

Early life and education; research on spectroscopy with Robert A. Millikan at University of Chicago and Caltech; early teaching career at Caltech; work on forbidden lines, 200-inch telescope project; visitors to Caltech during the 1930s include Albert Einstein and Arnold Sommerfeld; effects of the Depression and World War II on astronomy; postwar reorganization, staff and funding at Mt. Wilson and Palomar Observatories; Edwin P. Hubble's role at the observatory; educational aspects of the observatory program (professional and public); research groups and research interests; theorists and observationalists, Jesse Greenstein, Guido Münch, Jan Oort, radio astronomy; recollections and evaluations of own work after retirement. Also prominently mentioned are: Walter Sydney Adams, Harold Delos Babcock, William Alvin Baum, Wilhelm Bjerknes, T. Bowen, Geoffrey R. Burbidge, Margaret Burbidge, Vannevar Bush, J. Carroll, Lee Alvin DuBridge, Theodore Dunham Jr., Edlén, Robley Dunglison Evans, William Alfred Fowler, Henry Gordon Gale, Cecilia Helena Payne Gaposchkin, George Ellery Hale, John L. Hall, Don Hendrix, Alfred H. Joy, Thomas Lauritsen, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, Max Mason, Edwin Mattison McMillan, Merriam, Paul Merrill, Rudolph Leo Bernhard Minkowski, R. Otis, Henry Norris Russell, John Donovan Strong, Richard Chase Tolman, Merle Antony Tuve; Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Interviewed by
Spencer Weart
Interview date
Location
Santa Barbara Street, Pasadena, California
Abstract

This interview begins with a discussion of Babcock's childhood and youth around Mt. Wilson Observatory, with comments on father (Harold D. Babcock), Walter S. Adams, and Edwin P. Hubble. Also discussed in this interview: education at Caltech, University of California at Berkeley and Lick Observatory (1934-1939), and at Yerkes and MacDonald Observatories; work at MIT and Caltech on World War II hardware; astronomical instrumentation work, especially postwar Mt. Wilson-Palomar diffraction gratings; discovery of magnetic stars and studies of variations; work on solar magnetic fields (with father) and theory of solar cycle; comments on cosmology; discussion of Mt. Wilson and Palomar Observatories since the 1920s, especially under Ira Bowen's and Babcock's directorship (1963); internal administration; staff relations; dealings with Carnegie Institution and Caltech; discussion of Hale Observatories, 1930-1977; role of government funding in astronomy; guest investigators; allocation of telescope time; planning, funding, and construction of the Carnegie Southern Observatory at Las Campanas, 1963-1977. Also prominently mentioned are: Philip Abelson, Ed Ackerman, Carl David Anderson, Wilhelm Heinrich Walter Baade, Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett, Vannevar Bush, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Crawford Greenewalt, Jesse Leonard Greenstein, George Ellery Hale, Caryl Haskins, Louis Henyey, Armin O. Leuschner, Nicholas Ulrich Mayall, Charles Edward Kenneth Mees, Paul Merrill, Rudolph Leo Bernhard Minkowski, Edgar Nichols, Elmer Prall, Bruce Rule, Frederick H. Seares, Sinclair Smith, Otto Struve, Charles Hard Townes, George van Biesbroeck, H. A. Wood, Fritz Zwicky; Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Astrophysical Journal, Bausch and Lomb Co., Eastman Kodak Co., Ford Foundation, Hale Observatories, Hale Solar Laboratory, Inyokern Project, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Las Campanas Observatory, Lick Observatory Bulletin, McDonald Observatory, Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories, National Science Foundation (U.S.), 48-inch Schmidt Telescope, 100-inch Telescope, 120-inch Telescope, 200-inch Telescope, and University of California at Berkeley, CA.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Palo Alto, California
Abstract

Interview centers around experiences as a child on Mount Hamilton (Lick Observatory) just after the turn of the century; schooling on Mount Hamilton; father's observing with 36-inch refractor; Lick public observing nights; general life on Mount Haiilton; Mrs Phoebe Hearst's support for private schooling; father's recollections about Lick astronomers; World War I.