Geophysics

Interviewed by
Nils Randlev Hundebøl
Interview date
Location
Climate Institute, Washington, D.C.
Abstract

Michael MacCracken discusses topics such as: his family background and childhood; climatology; undergraduate work at Princeton University in engineering; being interviewed by Edward Teller for a fellowship; University of California, Davis; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Michael May; Chuck Leith; geophysics; Project Plowshare; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center; Climate Impact Assessment Program (CIAP); United States Department of Energy; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); climate change; George Hidy; Peter Mueller; Fred Koomanoff; National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR); Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); Bob Watson of NASA; Dan Albritton of NOAA; Chuck Hakkarinen; United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP); Jerry Melillo; Climate Institute. 

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
Tanya Levin
Interview date
Location
Surrey, England
Abstract

Topics include:  his family and early education; his decision to attend Cambridge University and Kings College; the impact of WWII on his education; his Naval experiences; his post-war education; getting into geophysics; work on seismic refraction at sea; his dissertation work on the velocity of sound through the sea-bottom sedimentation; obtaining a Fulbright scholarship to go to U.S. where he spent one year at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observation; work with deep-sea camera; work with Bruce Heezen; comparison of Lamont with Scripps Institution of Oceanography; work leading to the gradual acceptance of sea-floor spreading; his work at National Institute of Oceanography; studies related to sea-floor spreading; comparison of British and American standards for classification of data; the Indian Ocean Expedition and its importance to the theory of sea floor spreading; his research vessel, Discovery;  reactions to the work of Vine and Matthews; his work in the Gulf of Aden; Soviet ships and style of research; recollections of Russian scientist Gleb Udintsev; participation on the Atlantic Panel and participation on international programs and committees; comparison of the NIO to Lamont; the British government's support for research; the Rothschild report; differences between applied and strategic research; submarine detection work; creating government science policy; negotiations on the 3rd Law of the Sea; radioactive waste disposal.

Interviewed by
Ronald Doel
Interview date
Location
Wilmington, North Carolina
Abstract

Extensive, comprehensive interview on Worzel’s scientific and professional career. Recollections of extended family and childhood in New York; father’s interest in science and literature; early interest in mechanical things; recollection of upbringing during the Great Depression; impressions of high school science courses and interests. Attends Lehigh University as undergraduate; impressions of W. Maurice Ewing as physics professor at Lehigh, early l930s, including his working style; emerging interest in photography and experience in drafting; impressions of Alvyn Vine. Detailed recollections of work as student assistant with Ewing and Vine on refraction seismology, and impressions of George P. Woollard, Richard M. Field, William Bowie, and Ewing; election to Newtonian Society [mathematics] at Lehigh; impressions of science teaching at Lehigh. Recollections of research on undersea acoustics at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Ewing’s mathematical abilities; impressions of Felix A. Vening-Meinesz and of field research. Extended recollections of summer research as undergraduate assistant for Ewing, especially involving seismic profiling and underwater photography; relation between Ewing and L. Don Leet; recollections of Hurricane of 1938 at Woods Hole and of Woods Hole machining equipment; involvement in wartime research, including acoustics studies and experience with bathythermographs; experience in equipment design and modification, including award of patents. Extended recollections of involvement in undersea photography in the early 1940s, including reaction of biologists and war-time acquisition of German cameras; impressions of Ewing’s appointment at Columbia University, and transfer of research program to Columbia, 1946; recollections of post-war research programs at Woods Hole; meets wife [Dorothy Crary]. Impressions of graduate courses in geology and geophysics at Columbia, including seminars taught by Walter Bucher, Marshall Kay, and Ewing; extended recollections of instructors and experiences with fellow graduate students; reflections on instrument-building in geophysics, including maintenance of ship-based winches; impressions of Ewing as researcher and director, including relations with governmental and private patrons; becomes temporary consultant to ONR. Recollections of Angelo Ludas and his role in fashioning geophysical instruments; experience with deep-sea coring; impressions of relations between geophysicists and geologists at Columbia. Impressions of the founding and initial research programs of Lamont Geological Observatory [LGO], including geochemical and radiocarbon studies by J. Laurence Kulp and reactions of local townspeople to Lamont; development of biology programs at Lamont, and social life at LGO; relations between Ewing and Harry H. Hess; recollections of interactions with Maurice Ewing and John Ewing, and difficulties of position determination at sea. Begins gravity research of ocean floor, and impressions of isostacy debate in 1930s. Growth of LGO in the 1950s and changing relations between research groups; comparison of LGO with competing research centers in the U.S. and Great Britain; development of SOFAR and SOSUS programs; recollections of efforts to secure and finance R/V Vema ddd details from subsequent sessions; offers of positions from other universities; Recollections of gravity research program at Texas, mid-1970s. Also mentioned are: Henry Moe Aldrich, American Geophysical Union, RJV Atlantis, Austin Bailey, Walter Beckmann, Charles C. Bidwell, Henry Bigelow, Francis Birch, Rene Brilliant, Percy Bridgman, Sir Edward C. Bullard, Paul R. Burckholder, California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Albert Crary, Merrill D. Cunningham, Reginald A. Daly, William Donn, Dwight D. Eisenhower, David B. Ericson, Margaret Ewing [née Kidder], W. Arnold Finck, Geological Society of America, Gordon Hamilton, Hamilton watches, Carl A. Heiland, Weikko Aleksanteri Heiskanen, Maurice Hill, Columbus Iselin, Paul Kerr, Borje Kullenberg, Thomas W. Lamont, Gordon Lill, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Arthur Maxwell, Benjamin L. Miller, Robert Moses, Walter H. Munk, National Science Foundation, Louis L. Nettleton, Office of Naval Research, Chaim Pekeris, Beauregard Perkins, Hans Pettersson, Charles S. Piggot, Lawrence I. Radway, Ostwald Roels, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Robert R. Shrock, Lynn Shurbet, Louis B. Slichter, Staten Island Academy [High School], Harlan True Stetson, Henry Stetson, Nelson Steenland, Swedish Deep Sea Expedition, Howard A. Tate, Merle Tuve, J. Tuzo Wilson, Goesta Wollin.

Interviewed by
Spencer Weart
Interview date
Abstract

Brief overview of the history of numerical general circulation models from about 1950-1970, centering on Smagorinsky's group, including Syukuro Manabe, at the U. S. Weather Bureau, The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and the General Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton. Notes the interactions with weather predictions and climate change concerns, especially carbon dioxide warnings (greenhouse effect).

Interviewed by
Ron Doel
Interview date
Location
Palisades, New York
Abstract

Family background and upbringing in northern New Jersey, including recollections of high school; involvement in horse shows and time spent as farrier; community college studies; gains experience in tool and dye industry and high precision work. Joins Lamont Geological Observatory machine shop, early 1960s; impressions of Angelo Ludas and machine shop operations; recollections of machine shop work for seismology and marine geophysics; effects of late 1960s funding cuts on machine shop and revised methods of instrument development; experiences on board Lamont research ships Vema and Conrad; recollections of Maurice Ewing, Henry Kohler, and Allen Jorgensen; recollections of air gun development at Lamont; impressions of work environment at machine shop from late 1960s through 1990s. Also mentioned are: Ivars R. Bitte, Bruce Bolt, George Bryan, William A. Cassidy, Steve Eittreim, Keith Evans, John Ewing, Nicholas Ludas, John Kuo, Walter Pitman ill, William B. Ryan, Manik Talwani.

Interviewed by
Ronald Doel
Interview date
Location
Santa Barbara, California
Abstract

Born in California in 1911; recollections of childhood. Undergraduate studies in geology at California Institute of Technology, then one year of graduate work (J. P. Buwald, Chester Stock, William Morris Davis). Graduate studies in geology at Harvard University (R. A. Daly, Kirk Bryan, Percy Bridgman, Francis Birch, David Griggs), 1935-1938; comparisons between Harvard University and Caltech. To University of Illinois for teaching position, 1938-1943; summer research in geomorphology and glaciology. Research in Army Air Force during World War II. Accepts position at University of Minnesota (Larry Gould); professorship at Caltech, 1947. Debates over geochemical and geophysical approaches to geology; reassessment of curriculum in Division of Geological Sciences; decision to encourage research in space and planetary sciences (Harrison Brown), late 1950s.

Interviewed by
Ronald Doel
Interview date
Location
Bethesda, Maryland
Abstract

Born in Texas in 1903; influence of remote, rural environment on his upbringing and early education. Attended Weatherford Junior College until 1923; studies at University of Chicago, B.A. in 1926, M.A. in 1928, and Ph.D. (formally awarded) in 1937. Comments on courses, teachers and fellow students at Chicago, including J. Harlan Bretz and Rollin T. Chamberlin. Summer research at Amerada Petroleum Corporation (Oklahoma), Illinois State Geological Survey, and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), late 1920s to early 1930s. First teaching position at Columbia University; research on ground-water motion; involvement in Technocracy Movement, 1930s. Marriage to Miriam Graddy Berry, 1938. Senior analyst on staff of Board of Economic Warfare, 1942-1943; deepening commitment to issue of natural resources. Thoughts on limited interactions between geologists and geophysicists; work in advisory committees on geophysics education, 1930s to 1940s. Theory of scale models, 1937; related research involving strength of solids. Career at Shell Oil Company and Shell Development Company, 1943-1964; directs research laboratory at Shell, perspectives on industry environment for scientific research. Lecture tours to geological, industrial, and policy groups, 1940s to 1960s; involvement in Atomic Energy Commission, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, advisory committees. Research with W. W. Rubey on overthrust faulting. Deepening interest in oil and natural gas reserves; responses from officials in petroleum corporations and federal government to his predictions of local, national, and worldwide reserves, 1950s to 1960s. Research geophysicist at USGS, 1964-1976, after retirement from Shell; studies of natural resources and conflicts over his conclusions involving other scientists at USGS. Visiting professorships at Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, University of California, Berkeley, 1962-1977. Continued involvement in issue of geophysical education at American universities and in studies of natural resources, 1950s to 1970s.

Interviewed by
Spencer Weart
Interview date
Location
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Abstract

Childhood in Germany and family background — competitive spirit; war years — internment and radar work with Bondi and Hoyle (1942-1945) at Cambridge — development of theory of hearing and steady state theory; at Greenwich (1952-1956) — research on lunar surface and terrestrial dynamics; positions at Harvard and Cornell — involvement with Arecibo; involvement with governmental agencies including NSF and NASA — changes in government funding. A major part of the interview covers the development and reception of the steady date theory.

Interviewed by
Ronald Doel
Interview date
Location
Palisades, New York
Abstract

Discusses his youth and education in the mid-west and Colorado; his undergraduate education at the University of Kansas and his graduate work at Columbia University; his decision to go into geophysics; his work as chief scientists aboard the research vessels and his relationship with Capt. Henry Kohler; international cooperation in researach projects; the effect on Lamont of Maurice Ewing's move to Texas; his committee work for the National Science Foundation; teaching graduate students at Columbia; plate tectonics; and marine geology.  Also prominently mentioned are Wally Broecker, Charles Drake, Gordon Eaton, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Arnold Gordon, Bruce Heezen, Marcus Langseth, Jack Nafe, Jack Oliver, Neil Opdyke, Walter Pitman, Baring Raleigh, Mark Talwani, J. Lamar Worzel.