American Geophysical Union

Interviewed by
Joanna Behrman
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

In this interview, Joanna Behrman, Assistant Public Historian for AIP, interviews Christopher Russell, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. Russell describes his childhood in Britain and Canada before attending the University of Toronto as an undergraduate. He describes his initial move to the University of California, Los Angeles, for his Ph.D. with Robert Holzer and then transitioning into more permanent positions there. Russell recounts his work studying geomagnetism and the solar wind on the OGO series, Apollo program, International Sun-Earth Explorer, and Pioneer Venus Spacecraft. Russell describes the changing scientific paradigm from an Earth-centric idea of geomagnetic activity to a solar wind centric theory. He recounts his work in the collaborations for the Galileo and Cassini missions with Margaret Kivelson and David Southwood. Russell then explains the motivation behind the NASA Discovery program and how he developed the Dawn mission. He reflects on the growth of UCLA as a locus for research in planetary and space sciences. At the end of the interview, he describes the wide range and impact of the collaborations he has been a part of. 

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

Interview with G. Brent Dalrymple, Dean and Professor Emeritus at Oregon State University. Dalrymple recounts his childhood in Los Angeles, and he explains how he settled on geology as a major at Occidental and the impact of the plate tectonics revolution that was happening at the time. He discusses his graduate work at Berkeley, and he recounts his field work under the direction of Garniss Curtis on potassium argon dating. Dalrymple explains his decision to join the U.S. Geological Survey after graduate school and his interest in learning more about volcanic rocks and magnetic fields in the Sierra range. He explains how this research solved the problem of continental drift and he discusses his subsequent research on the Hawaiian Island range. Dalrymple discusses his work on earthquake detection, and he describes the advances in K-Ar dating and techniques. He discusses his work on meteorite dating and the light this shed on what killed off the dinosaurs, and he describes his advisory work for the Apollo missions. Dalrymple explains how he became involved in debates with religious communities who insisted the age of the Earth was 6,000 years old and how this turned into his book The Age of the Earth. He describes how geo-dating is relevant for understanding star and galaxy formation and he discusses his tenure as president of the American Geophysical Union. Dalrymple describes what it was like to win the National Medal of Science, and he explains his decision to retire from the USGS and join the administration at Oregon State. At the end of the interview, Dalrymple describes the impact of continental drift research, and he conveys his enjoyment with life in retirement.

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
video conference
Abstract

In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Louis J. Lanzerotti, Distinguished Research Professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Center for Solar Terrestrial Research in the Department of Physics. Lanzerotti describes the origins of the Center, and he recounts his Italian heritage and his upbringing in southern Illinois. Lanzerotti discusses his undergraduate experience at the University of Illinois and his initial interest in civil engineering. He explains why he transitioned to physics, the formative influence of Charlie Slichter and the opportunities that led to his graduate admission to Harvard, where he developed fiber optics research under the direction of Frank Pipkin. He explains his decision to accept a postdoctoral offer at Bell Labs, and he explains how Bell Labs became involved in space research. Lanzerotti discusses his initial work on the Applications Technology Satellite 1 and the earliest incarnations of space weather as a discrete field. He describes his work on communications and geophysical collaboration and his involvement it the beginning of the Voyager, Ulysses, and then the Cassini missions. Lanzerotti describes the breakup of Bell Labs and the considerations that led to him joining the faculty at NJIT. He explains his ongoing research focus analyzing data from the Ulysses mission at the Van Allen probes, and he describes his service on the National Science Board. Lanzerotti describes his long association with the AGU, and his work on Director of the Board for AIP. At the end of the interview, Lanzerotti reflects on the opportunities in his career that intersected with the zenith of American scientific power and influence, and he prognosticates on both future prospects for foundational discovery and the societal commitments required to achieve them.

Interviewed by
Samantha M. Thompson
Interview date
Location
Neugebauer's home, Tucson, Arizona
Abstract

Marcia Neugebauer discusses her childhood in New York City; mother's education at Vassar; her education at Cornell University in physics and philosophy; applying for jobs and graduate school; Master's at the University of Illinois, working with David Lazarus measuring diffusion in metals; marriage to Gerry Neugebuer; interviewing with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); hired alongside Conway Snyder to study possible use of nuclear reactors for rocket propulsion; competition between the Army and Air Force; learning to work with instrumentation; Space Science Section of JPL; Ray Newburn; solar wind; Russian probes to study solar wind; Mariner 2 mission and subsequent media; Solar Wind Conference; Christopher Russell; Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ASLEP); International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE); Ulysses; leadership role with the American Geophysical Union (AGU); women in sciences and at JPL.