Oral history interview with David Todd Wilkinson, 1984 September 27.


Oral history interview with David Todd Wilkinson, 1984 September 27.

Family background and early education; undergraduate studies in engineering at University of Michigan, faculty who influenced him; doctoral thesis at University of Michigan with Richard Crane on the g-2 experiment. Postdoctoral instructor; decision to work with Robert Dicke on gravitation at Princeton; funding in the Princeton Department, faculty, the ongoing NSF grant for Gravity, Relativity and Cosmology research. The lunar ranging experiment; assembling the team, background observations with balloons and COBE, construction for the 1969 Apollo flight. Studies in black-body radiation generated by Dicke, 1964; Wilkinson joins project with Peter Roll and James Peebles; building microwave apparatus, need for helium load, mapping the horn and measuring insertion loss. Robert Wilson and Arno Penzias at Bell Laboratories publish background radiation papers ahead of Dicke's team, other researchers on the topic: Ralph Alpher, Robert Herman, James Follin, George Gamow, Joseph Weber. The American Physical Society (APS) meeting in 1966, measurements from Dicke's group confirms Penzias/Wilson support of big bang theory. Further discussion on lunar ranging, measuring gravitation, the Nordvedt effect, optical measurements with Roger Dube and Bill Wickes, Steve Boughn and Peter Saulson on infrared background measurements. Paper with Mark Davis (1974). Formation of young galaxies, ongoing DIRBE (Diffuse Infrared Background Explorer) on COBE (Cosmic Background Exteriment) designed to measure background radiation over wide spectral range. CO measurements at high galactic latitude looking for dust clouds. CCD photometry by Ed Loh, find scale anistropy on NRAO maser with Juan Uson, large scale anistropy measurements. Discovery of dipole anistropy by Paul Henry and later confirmations, disconfirmation of quadropole effect. Plans for future work: g-2 experiments, measuring g and creating new infrared detector, search for low mass stars. Effects of being a physicist on his family life, hobbies, upcoming second marriage.

Transcript, 75 pp.


SNAC Resource ID: 8274284

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Harwit, Martin, 1931-

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