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Interview with Roy W. Gould

Gould, Roy W. (1999) Interview with Roy W. Gould. [Oral History]

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Oral history interview in six sessions in 1996 with Roy W. Gould, Caltech Professor of Electrical Engineering, Physics and Applied Physics, 1955-1996 (emeritus 1996); Chairman, Division of Engineering and Applied Science, 1979-1985; and Caltech alumnus (BS, 1949; PhD, 1956). Gould describes his youth and student years at Caltech, beginning in 1944; Caltech during World War II and interruption of studies, resumption in 1946; courses in engineering and physics; BS in engineering. Graduate work begins at Stanford on microwaves with Lester Field; he returns to Caltech for a PhD in physics on microwaves and solar radio noise. Discusses microwave electronics community in the 1950s; J. Pierce, A. Haeff; recalls the "Tube Conferences." Job offers in industry but chooses Caltech, where he receives joint appointment in electrical engineering and physics. Recalls electrical engineering program at Caltech in the 1950s with C. Papas, G. McCann (analog computer), C. Wilts. Describes beginnings of his interest in plasma physics and thermonuclear fusion (late 1950s); connections with European plasma physics groups. Assumes directorship of Atomic Energy Commission [AEC] fusion program and moves to Washington; offered position of Deputy Science Advisor to President Nixon; returns instead to Caltech (1972). Builds tokamak at Caltech; fusion later becomes "Big Science." Birth of applied physics program at Caltech; its history. He discusses engineering division at Caltech; its diversity; his tenure as chairman. Recalls the rise of computer science and roles of C. Mead, I. Sutherland and C. Seitz. Comments on Caltech presidents, especially Goldberger and Everhart; changes in Caltech over the years. Epilogue 1998: on Gould's return to earliest interest, amateur radio.

Item Type:Oral History
Keywords:Electrical engineering, physics
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Gould_R
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Gould, Roy W. Interview by Shirley K. Cohen. Pasadena, California, March-April, 1996. Oral History Project, California Institute of Technology Archives. Retrieved [supply date of retrieval] from the World Wide Web:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:Subjects > Physics
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Subjects > Engineering
ID Code:109
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:12 Sep 2005
Last Modified:24 Feb 2022 17:31

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