Oral history interview with Ludwig Franz Benedikt Biermann, 1978 June 23 and July 6.


Biermann, Ludwig, 1907-1986. Oral history interview with Ludwig Franz Benedikt Biermann, 1978 June 23 and July 6.

Oral history interview with Ludwig Franz Benedikt Biermann, 1978 June 23 and July 6.

Overview of work in stellar interiors and plasma physics. Early interest in science; family background. Universität Göttingen (Hans Kienle, Max Born, Richard Courant, James Franck), beginning in 1929; astrophysics as applied science; stellar models (Arthur S. Eddington); Bengt Strömgren; Ludwig Prandtl; Mixing Length Theory; Ph.D. thesis on convection in stellar core; Karl Schwarzschild, Albrecht Unsöld, J. Robert Emden; Biermann updates Unsöld's solar model; work on the theory of sunspots after 1937; similarity of Schwarzschild's work; travels to Edinburgh and Cambridge (R. A. Sampson, George C. McVittie), 1933-1934; mixing wave length theory (Erika Böhm Vitense); interest in solar corona; contact with Otto Struve, Walter Grotrian, Walter Baade, Hannes Alfvén, Bengt Edlén, Max Planck, Max von Laue, Peter Debye; the Berlin-Dahlem colloquia; von Laue stimulates Biermann's interest in cometary physics. Work in quantum mechanics, 1940-1950; contact with Niels Bohr, 1941; Biermann's first influences in plasma physics (Thomas G. Cowling); creation of magnetic fields in stars and stellar model with non-uniform rotation; World War II interrupts publication of research; influence of Karl Wurm; rocket flights to examine solar ultraviolet light (Julius Bartels), 1947. Work on comets, late 1940s; asked by Werner Heisenberg to set up astrophysics group in Göttingen, 1947; work on gas tails of comets; study of solar corona (Eugene Parker); Fred Whipple's contributions to comet theory; Eleanore Trefftz. Work on controlled fusion, beginning 1957; duplication of classified research in U.S. Visiting professorship University of California, Berkeley, 1959-1960, contact with Georg von Hevesy. Later work on the origin of comets.

Sound recordings: 2 sound cassettes (ca. 2.0 hrs.), 2 sessions.Transcript: 44 p.

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