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Interview with Peter Goldreich

Goldreich, Peter (2002) Interview with Peter Goldreich. [Oral History]

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Interview in five sessions in March, April, and November 1998 with Peter Goldreich, Lee A. DuBridge Professor of Astrophysics and Planetary Physics 1981-2003 (emeritus 2003), with joint appointments in the Division of Physics, Mathematics & Astronomy and the Division of Geological & Planetary Sciences. He begins by discussing his family background and early education at Bronx High School of Science; engineering physics at Cornell; graduate work at Cornell with Thomas Gold on solar-system dynamics (PhD 1963). Postdoc with Donald Lynden-Bell at Cambridge; work on spiral density waves in galaxies. Friendship with Wallace Sargent. Assistant professorship at UCLA. Joins Caltech faculty 1966 as associate professor, with joint appointments in physics and geology divisions, becomes full professor 1969. Resident associate in Page House 1976-1980. Suicide of assistant professor Peter Young, 1981. 1987 presidential search committee. Discusses his work on orbital dynamics, solar rotation, magnetospheres, pulsars, astronomical masers, circumstellar disks, solar oscillations, planetary rings, shepherd satellites, interstellar turbulence, white-dwarf pulsations. Long discussion of LIGO [Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory] history at Caltech, including his involvement in conflict between LIGO's original leader, Ronald W. P. Drever, and Rochus (Robbie) Vogt, LIGO director 1987-1994. His support, with Sargent and Maarten Schmidt, of Drever. Comments on current state of astronomy and physics at Caltech. Closes with recollections of receiving National Medal of Science from President Clinton in 1995.

Item Type:Oral History
Keywords:Physics, geology, planetary science, astronomy, astrophysics, LIGO
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Goldreich_P
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Goldreich, Peter. Interview by Shirley K. Cohen. Pasadena, California, March, April, and November 1998. 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 > LIGO
Subjects > Physics
Subjects > Geology
All Records
ID Code:180
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:24 May 2011
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:23

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