Oral history interview with James Westphal, 1982.


Oral history interview with James Westphal, 1982.

This interview reviews Westphal's family background, education, and early employment at the Seismograph Service Corporation and at Sinclair Research Labs, a division of Sinclair Oil Corporation, where he gained experience in designing and constructing a variety of instrumentation. The bulk of the interview is devoted to a thorough discussion of Westphal's career at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), first as an instrumentation engineer and later as an associate professor and professor of planetary science. The interview documents his initial activities in the design and improvement of infrared detectors and telescopes, his pioneering work with the Silicon Vidicon photometers, and then his increasing interest and involvement in the science of infrared astronomy and planetary astronomy. Also covered in great detail is Westphal's work on the Wide Field Camera (WFC) for the Space Telescope (ST) project, including discussion of the evaluation of detectors, design, competing for the contract award, NASA's procedures and structure and their effect on the development of ST and its instrumentation, and the use of ST and WFC after launch. Other topics discussed include: NASA Infrared Telescope Facility; Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Moonwatch project; Sputnik satellite projects; Charles Hewitt Dix; Heinz Lowenstam; Bruce Murray; Gerry Neugebauer; Frank (Francis) Low; and James Van Allen, among others.

Transcript: 266 pages (2 sessions).


SNAC Resource ID: 6862433

Related Entities

There are 13 Entities related to this resource.

Van Allen, James A. (James Alfred), 1914-2006

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6833tf7 (person)

Sinclair Oil Corporation

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6w996wj (corporateBody)

Low, Francis E. (Francis Eugene), 1921-2007

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6rx9f2n (person)

Space Telescope Science Institute (U.S.)

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6zd1xjc (corporateBody)

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) was established in 1981 through the combined efforts of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), NASA, and the NSF to work in the creation of the Hubble Space Telescope and to manage observation time allocation and the data the telescope returned for future research. From the description of Records, 1964-2008. (Johns Hopkins University). WorldCat record id: 320338529 ...

Seismograph Service Corporation

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w63n5zd5 (corporateBody)

California institute of technology

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6rj8cxv (corporateBody)

NASA Infrared Telescope Facility

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6gf4p3s (corporateBody)

Murray, Bruce C.

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6gx4d2v (person)

Bruce C. Murray was born November 30, 1931, in New York City. He earned a doctorate in Geology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1955, and served as a geologist for Standard Oil from 1955-58. After serving as a Geophysicist for the U.S. Air Force, Murray joined the Caltech faculty as a Research Fellow of Planetary Science and Geology in 1960. Murray became a full Professor of Planetary Science and Geology at Caltech in 1969. Dr. Murray was a member of the Mars ...

Neugebauer, G. (Gerry)

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6mc922b (person)

Westphal, J. A. (James Adolph), 1930-

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6gf0wk1 (person)

Professor of Planetary Science, Hale Observatories, Carnegie Institute of Washington; research interests included infrared astronomy, geophysical measurements, and astronomical instrumentation. (b. June 13, 1930) From the description of Oral history interview with James Westphal, 1982. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154303383 ...

Dix, C. Hewitt (Charles Hewitt), 1905-

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6c53nhp (person)

Seismologist and geophysicist. From the description of Papers. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 82251386 ...

DeVorkin, David H., 1944-....

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w65x2b2g (person)

Lowenstam, Heinz A. (Heinz Adolf), 1912-1993

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6n017s9 (person)

Lowenstam (1912-1993). Professor of palaeoecology, California Institute of Technology; responsible for discovery of phenomenon of biomagnetism. From the description of Papers. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 78225760 Biographical Sketch Heinz A. Lowenstam was born on October 9, 1912, in Upper Silesia, Germany. He was educated at the University of Frankfurt and began his graduate work in geology and paleontology at the Univ...