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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, 1915-2001
Hubble, Edwin, 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 at Urbana-Champaign
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