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Interview with Charles A. Barnes

Barnes, Charles A. (2012) Interview with Charles A. Barnes. [Oral History]

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Interview in six sessions, July and August 1987, with Charles A. Barnes, professor of physics, Caltech. He talks about his childhood and adolescence in Ontario, Canada; his early affinity for mathematics and science; undergraduate years at Canada’s McMaster University; wartime work in the British-Canadian atomic energy project at Chalk River, Montreal; and postwar PhD studies in physics at the University of Cambridge, working with O. Frisch and D. Wilkinson. The discussion of his 40-year career in Caltech's Kellogg Radiation Laboratory deals with many aspects of the lab’s history, personnel, and research contributions. Barnes talks about his nuclear physics collaborations with W. Fowler, T. Lauritsen, C. Lauritsen, and R. Christy. He gives a detailed account of his and Kellogg’s accelerator-based investigations into the nature of the weak nuclear interaction—a key focus of postwar work in quantum field theory and the development of grand unified theories—and describes research collaborations in this area with theorists M. Gell-Mann and R. P. Feynman. He talks about Kellogg’s social and scientific culture, the development of its accelerators and the chronology of its research, its groundbreaking investigations into stellar evolution and stellar nucleosynthesis, and the awarding of the 1983 Nobel Prize in physics to Fowler for his work in nucleosynthesis. Barnes describes his work with J. Bahcall on the solar neutrino flux and discusses the research contributions of K. Thorne, J. DuMond, F. Boehm, M. Schmidt, and G. J. Wasserburg, among others. The interview also covers Kellogg’s role in the physics and astrophysics community, both within and beyond Caltech, and the lab’s relationship with Caltech administration, including presidents and division chairs; Barnes’s work with students; and his views on current trends and future directions in physics and astrophysics.

Item Type:Oral History
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Barnes_C
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URLURL TypeDescription HistoryInterview with Charles A. Barnes on cold fusion
Official Citation:Barnes, Charles A. Interview by Heidi Aspaturian. Pasadena, California, July and August, 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:Subjects > Physics
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ID Code:210
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:13 Dec 2012 21:29
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:24

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