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Greenstein, Jesse L. (Jesse Leonard), 1909-2002-
Oral history interview with Jesse Leonard Greenstein, 1977 April 7, July 21, 26 and 1978 May 19.
Childhood in New York City; studying astronomy and literature at Harvard University (1925-1929, M.A. 1930); work during the Depression in real estate and at Columbia University; graduate education in the new astrophysics at Harvard, 1934-1937, contacts with Harlow Shapley, Cecilia Payne (Gaposchkin), Henry N. Russell; work at Yerkes Observatory from 1937: nebular spectroscopy, stellar composition, stellar atmospheres; contacts with Otto Struve, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Bengt Strömgren; optical design work during World War II. Move to Caltech, 1947, contacts with Walter Baade, Ira Bowen, Fritz Zwicky, Maarten Schmidt, Lee Dubridge, etc.; organization, administration, research conditions, and allocation of observing time at Mt. Wilson and Palomar Observatories; work in building up astronomy department at Caltech, character of staff relations, and fund-raising. Postwar work on abundances of elements, white dwarf stars, high-dispersion spectroscopy, radio astronomy, and quasars; ideas about cosmology and other topics. Involvement with military advising at Caltech from 1950, satellite reconnaissance, and industrial advising; early work on rocket astronomy and as senior adviser to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), ca. 1957-1977. Editor of "Stellar Atmospheres" series; work with National Academy of Sciences and author of its 1972 astronomy survey; efforts to popularize astronomy. Ideas about large space- and ground-based telescopes. Particular attention is given to the organizational strengths and weaknesses of important astronomy organizations. Also prominently mentioned is: Alexander Velikovsky.
Greenstein was a Harvard educated astronomer who came to the California Institute of Technology in 1948 to run the astronomy program, which then included the administration of the Palomar 200-inch telescope. While at Caltech he also did research on stellar composition and high resolution spectra using the Palomar telescope. Became a leader in the profession, and an administrator in professional scientific organizations.
Baade, Walter, 1893-1960.
Bowen, Ira Sprague, 1898-1973.
Chandrasekhar, S. (Subrahmanyan), 1910-1995-
DuBridge, Lee A. (Lee Alvin), 1901-1994-
Payne-Gaposchkin, Cecilia, 1900-1979-
Greenstein, Jesse L. (Jesse Leonard), 1909-2002-
Russell, Henry Norris, 1877-1957.
Schmidt, Maarten.
Shapley, Harlow, 1885-1972.
Strömgren, Bengt, 1908-
Struve, Otto, 1897-1963.
Zwicky, F. (Fritz), 1898-1974
California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology. Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Columbia University.
Harvard University.
Mount Wilson Solar Observatory. -- Administration.
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
Palomar Observatory.
Yerkes Observatory.
Artificial satellites -- Tracking.
Astronomy -- Popularization.
Astronomy -- Research.
Astronomy -- Societies, etc. -- Administration.
Astrophysics -- Study and teaching.
Cosmic abundances -- Research.
Cosmology.
Literature -- Study and teaching.
Optics -- Designs and plans.
Quasars.
Radio astronomy.
Science and industry -- United States.
Science consultants.
Spectrum analysis.
Stars -- Atmospheres.
Stars -- Composition.
Students -- Employment -- United States -- 20th century.
Telescopes.
White dwarfs -- Research.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Science.
United States -- Armed Forces -- Civilian employees.
Oral histories. aat
Interviews. aat
Sound recordings. aat
Transcripts. aat
Spectrum analysis.
Velikovsky, Alexander.
Astronomy -- Study and teaching.
Weart, Spencer R., 1942- interviewer.
AIP-ICOS
American Institute of Physics. Niels Bohr Library & Archives. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA
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