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Sandage, Allan
Oral history interview with Allan Sandage, 1989 January 11.
Interview discusses Allan Sandage's parental background; early interest in science and experience looking through a friend's telescope in the fourth grade; feeling of compulsion as a child to go into science; sense of duty inherited from parents; early reading in science; pleasure of solving problems in science; education at Miami University and influential teachers there; experience in the Navy in 1944 and 1945; education at University of Illinois; learning observational techniques from Robert Baker; getting into the California Institute of Technology (Caltech); the mystery of science; Ph.D. work with Baade on finding and fitting main sequences in globular clusters; history of motives of work with Martin Schwarzschild on dating globular clusters; apprenticeship with Hubble on the 200-inch telescope; Sandage's later monopoly of the 200-inch after Hubble died; Sandage's feeling of responsibility to carry on Hubble's work; objections to the steady state model; learning about the big bang model; limits of Hubble's understanding of the big bang model; influence of theoretical papers by Mattig; influence of Fred Hoyle; introduction to and early attitude toward the horizon and flatness problems; change in cosmology from finding out what galaxies are like to how galaxies originated; Sandage's change in attitude toward the horizon problem; attitude toward the grand unified theories; Sandage's gradual appreciation for the "new" cosmology, involving particle physics; change in attitude toward the flatness problem; attitude toward dark matter and missing mass; openess to the value of omega; problem of consistent ages in cosmology; many forms of evidence for the big bang model; reaction to de Lapparent, Geller, and Huchra's work on large-scale inhomogeneities and importance of similar work done earlier by Gregory, Thompson, Rood, Chincarini and Tifft; relation between theory and observation; science is not the discovery of absolute truth but only an approximation to reality; lack of good observations at the frontiers of science; the change in cosmology from asking only "where" and "what" to also asking "how;" outstanding problems in cosmology: dark matter and value of omega; ideal design of the universe; question of whether the universe has a point.
(1926-2010): Ph.D. in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology (1953); since 1952, was on the staff of the Mount Wilson and Las Campanas Observatories; his research interests included stellar evolution, photoelectric photometry, stellar kinematics, galaxies, quasars, and observational methods to determine the rate of expansion and age of the universe.
Baade, Walter, 1893-1960
Baker, Robert Horace, 1883-
Chincarini, Guido L.
Geller, Margaret J.
Hoyle, Fred, Sir
Hubble, Edwin Powell, 1889-1953
Huchra, John P.
Rood, Herbert J.
Sandage, Allan
Schwarzschild, Martin
Tifft, William G.
California Institute of Technology
Miami University.
United States. Navy
University of Illinois.
Big bang theory
Dark matter (Astronomy)
Grand unified theories (Nuclear physics)
Large scale structure (Astronomy)
Missing mass (Astronomy)
Stars -- Globular clusters
Steady state cosmology.
Telescope, 200-inch.
Interviews. aat
Oral histories. aat
Transcripts. aat
Lightman, Alan P., 1948-, interviewer.
American Institute of Physics. Niels Bohr Library & Archives. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA