Sun

Interviewed by
Jon Phillips
Interview date
Location
Teleconference
Abstract

In this interview, Jon Phillips, Assistant Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Peter Gilman, Senior Scientist Emeritus in the High Altitude Observatory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Gilman recounts his early interest and education in meteorology and introduction to solar physics as an undergraduate, and his graduate research on solar dynamics with Victor Starr at MIT. He describes his early work at the University of Colorado and his move to, and rapid ascent at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Gilman discusses his leadership role as Director of NCAR’s Advanced Study Program, and his own ongoing research in magnetohydrodynamics and helioseismology, followed by an overview of the history of NCAR, the High Altitude Observatory, and the relocation of the National Solar Observatory to Boulder. Gilman goes on to discuss the state of solar dynamo theory and solar-cycle activity predictions, in particular the predictions for solar cycles 24 and 25. The last portion of the interview focuses on the many “firsts” Gilman contributed to the field, particularly in magnetohydrodynamic modeling of the sun.

Interviewed by
Stephen A. Neal
Interview date
Location
Boulder, Colorado
Abstract

Jo Ann Joselyn discusses topics including her childhood in Colorado; influence of Sputnik, education at Colorado University in astrogeophysics; Julius London; John Firor; first job position at Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA); Tom Holzer; organizing SEIIM conferences; counting sunspots; women in science; International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA); election and work as secretary general of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUSS); solar cycle project; setting up space weather forecasting centers in other countries.

Interviewed by
Samantha M. Thompson
Interview date
Location
Lenox, Massachusetts
Abstract

Elske van Panhuys Smith discusses topics including: her childhood in Monaco, Austria, Holland, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and the United States of America; undergraduate education at Radcliffe with Harlow Shapley; marriage to Henry Smith; graduate school in astronomy at Harvard University with Bart Bok; job interviews with Leo Goldberg, Jesse Greenstein, Carnegie Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM), Jack Evans; job offer at Sacramento Peak; reception from graduate professors concerning solar astronomy; family life and children in Alamogordo; High Altitude Observatory; fellowship at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics in Boulder; move to Washington, DC for husband's job offer at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) headquarters; teaching position at the University of Maryland; American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the early years of the Solar Physics Division (SPD); discrimination against women in scence; Ed Dennison; Donald Menze; Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) teaching and administration in the College of Humanities and Science; research at the Naval Observatory and Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Abstract

In this interview Robert Noyes discusses topics such as: his family background; undergraduate at Haverford College; graduate work at California Institute of Technology (Caltech); Frank Press and geophysics; Fay Ajzenberg Selov; Robert Leighton as his advior in graduate school; Mt. Wilson Observatory; Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO); Leo Goldberg; Chuck Whitney; astronomy; solar satellite project; helioseismology; Tim Brown; Dave Charbonneau; Ed Reeves; Bill Parkinson; George Withbroe; Andrea Dupree; Martin Huber; John Raymond; Peter Foukal; Jacques Beckers; Frank Low; Sacramento Peak Observatory; Orbiting Solar Observatories (OSO); Fred Whipple; space solar physics.

Interviewed by
David DeVorkin
Interview date
Location
Smithsonian, Washington, D. C.
Abstract

In this interview, Andrea Dupree discusses topics such as: her family background and childhood; doing her undergraduate studies at Wellesley College; Janet Guernsey; C. P. Snow; becoming interested in astronomy; what is was like being a woman and fitting into the physics profession and dealing with gender inequality; Sarah Hill; Allan Sandage; Hans Bethe; Phil Morrison; Otto Struve; going to the Royal Greenwich Observatory for a summer; Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin; Dorrit Hoffleit; variable star fields; deciding to go to Berkeley for graduate school; Ivan King; Hyron Spinrad; Lick Observatory; coming back to Harvard University after a year; George Wallerstein; William Liller; Leo Goldberg; her affiliation with the American Astronomical Society (AAS); Don Osterbrock; Simon "Pete" Worden; Owen Chamberlain; Alex Dalgarno; Harvard College Observatory; Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Ed Lilley; solar physics; ionization rates; Herb Friedman; Dick Tousey; Henry Smith; stellar atmospheres; Fred Whipple; Donald Menzel; Margaret Burbidge; orbiting solar observatories (OSO); Skylab program; Lyman Spitzer; Robert Noyes; Henry Norris Russell; International Astronomical Union (IAU); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); George Field; Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO); Eric Chaisson; Jesse Greenstein; Celescope.

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
Robert McCutcheon
Interview date
Location
Presidium of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, Erevan, Armenia
Abstract

Early career of V. A. Ambartsumian during the 1920s and 1930s; childhood in Tbilisi; early education, and the development of his interest in mathematics and astronomy; move to Leningrad at age fifteen; education at the Herzen Pedagogical Institute and Leningrad State University; graduate work at Pulkovo Observatory under A. A. Belopolskii; his term as scientific secretary at Pulkovo. Discussion of first scientific works, conducted jointly with N. A. Kozyrev and D. D. Ivanenko; how he came to study the “inverse problem;” work in the Mirovedenie Society in Leningrad; work with G. A. Sham on planetary nebulae; the organization of Soviet astronomy in the 1930s. Students V. A. Dombrovskii, M. A. Vashakidze, B. E. Markaryan, and V. V. Sobolev; the problems facing Soviet astronomy today resulting from disruptive years of World War II. Discussion of the Commission for the Study of the Sun and the founding of the Byurakan Observatory. Other astronomers and scientists mentioned include: Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, D. I. Eropkin, A. A. Ivanov, S. A. Khristyanovich, V. N. Kondratev, N. A. Morozov, N. G. Ponomarev, F. F. Rents, S. L. Sobolev, D. O. Svyatskii, V. T. Ter-Oganezov, and G. A. Tikhov.