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Interview with David S. Saxon

Saxon, David S. (1998) Interview with David S. Saxon. [Oral History]

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An interview in January 1997 with David S. Saxon, president emeritus of the University of California, who initiated plans during his presidency (1975-1983) for what became the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, operated by CARA, the California Association for Research in Astronomy, a joint enterprise of Caltech, the University of California, and NASA. In this brief interview, Dr. Saxon recalls his intention to bolster UC’s eminence in astronomy; his early discussions with Donald Osterbrock and Charles Townes; discussion with Jerry Nelson of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory who wanted to build a new-generation telescope with a ten-meter segmented mirror; Luis Alvarez’s support of the idea; financial support from the UC Regents; committee chaired by Harold Ticho of UCLA to initiate design study. He recalls his disagreement with the UC astronomers, who wanted a ten-meter mirror but not a segmented one and were reluctant to collaborate with another institution. He discusses the initial interest of Caltech president Marvin L. [Murph] Goldberger, the fund-raising efforts of Eugene Trefethen, and the abortive $36-million gift to UC from the Hoffman Foundation. He also comments on other achievements of his presidency: revision of UC’s library system and the development of computational information systems.

Item Type:Oral History
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Saxon_D
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Saxon, David S. Interview by Shirley K. Cohen. Pasadena, California, January 29, 1997. 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 > Astronomy
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ID Code:264
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:06 Dec 2017 20:26
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:24

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