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Interview with Thomas K. Caughey

Caughey, Thomas K. (1992) Interview with Thomas K. Caughey. [Oral History]

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Interview in two sessions in 1987 by Carol Bugé with Thomas Kirk Caughey, Professor of Applied Mechanics and Caltech alumnus (PhD, 1954). Caughey was born and educated in Scotland (bachelor's degree, University of Glasgow, 1948.) Comes to the U.S. with Fulbright to Cornell, where he completes his master's degree in mechanical engineering in 1952. He then earns his PhD at Caltech in 1954. He recalls Caltech's engineering and physics faculty in the 1950s: H. Frederic Bohnenblust, Arthur Erdelyi, Richard P. Feynman, Tsien Hsue-shen. Begins teaching at Caltech in 1955; recalls Caltech's Engineering Division under Frederick Lindvall; other engineers and physicists; compares engineering to other disciplines. Return to Cornell and earlier period: outstanding Cornell professors Feynman, Hans Bethe, Barney Rosser, Ed Gunder, Harry Conway; recalls grad student Ross Evan Iwanowski. Problems of physics degree program at Cornell. Professors Gray and Bernard Hague at Glasgow University. Comparison between American and European educational systems. His research in dynamics. Earthquake research at Caltech: George Housner and Donald Hudson. Discusses physics and engineering entering a decade of decline; coming fields of genetic engineering, cognitive science and computing, neural networks, and artificial intelligence. Anecdotes about Fritz Zwicky and Charles Richter. Comments on coeducation at Caltech. Caltech personalities: Robert Millikan in his late years; Paul Epstein; Edward Simmons, Richard Gerke; William A. Fowler; further on Zwicky, Hudson; engineers Donald Clark, Alfred Ingersoll; early memories of Earnest Watson. Views on Caltech's future.

Item Type:Oral History
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Caughey_T
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Caughey, Thomas K. Interview by Carol Bugé. Pasadena, California, March 25 and April 2, 1987. 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:All Records
Subjects > Engineering
ID Code:142
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:13 Dec 2007
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:23

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