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Interview with Marshall H. Cohen

Cohen, Marshall H. (2018) Interview with Marshall H. Cohen. [Oral History] (Unpublished)

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Interview with Marshall H. Cohen, Caltech Professor of Astronomy, emeritus, by Shelley Erwin in six sessions and a supplement, 1996-1997, and 1999. He talks about his youth, family background, and education, and his early interest in electrical gadgets; wartime work for Westinghouse; higher education at Ohio State University: bachelor’s degree, electrical engineering, 1948; PhD in physics, 1952. Reminiscences of the Ohio State Antenna Lab and Vic Rumsey, 1952-1954. Following appointment at Cornell in electrical engineering, Cohen describes his transition to the new field of radio astronomy. Recalls early participants in the field: J. Greenstein, F. Whipple, M. Ryle, B. Lovell, R. Hanbury Brown, E. G. Bowen, J. Bolton, P. Wild, W. Christiansen; British and Australian competition in interferometry; Caltech’s early entry in the field. Brief interlude recalls Richard Feynman both at Cornell and later at Caltech. Recalls establishment of National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), Green Bank, West Virginia; later sites in New Mexico. Cohen’s involvement with ionospheric physics and building of Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico. Recalls scientific work and political battles over Arecibo; colleagues E. Salpeter, T. Gold, B. Gordon. Cohen’s move to UC San Diego, 1966, and soon after, recruitment to Caltech, 1968. He recalls the developments of the 1960s: first US interferometer in Owens Valley; competition for buildings very large arrays; the Greenstein decadal committee (1970).

Item Type:Oral History
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Cohen_M
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Official Citation:Cohen, Marshall H. Interview by Shelley Erwin. Pasadena, California, November 14 and 26, 1996, January 17 and 23, and February 27, 1997, and February 10, 1999. 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:282
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:25 Oct 2018 18:20
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:24

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