[Westerhout, 1966]
Westerhout with the 300 foot, 1966 (Photo courtesy of NRAO/AUI/NSF)


[Westerhout and Frank Drake]
Westerhout and Frank Drake (Photo courtesy of NRAO/AUI/NSF)


NATIONAL RADIO ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY ARCHIVES

Papers of Woodruff T. Sullivan III: Tapes Series

Interview with Gart Westerhout
At Max Planck Institute, Bonn, Germany
November 22, 1973
Interview Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Transcribed for Sullivan by Bonnie Jacobs

Note: The interview listed below was either transcribed as part of Sullivan's research for his book, Cosmic Noise: A History of Early Radio Astronomy (Cambridge University Press, 2009) or was transcribed in the NRAO Archives by Sierra Smith in 2012-2013. The transcription may have been read and edited for clarity by Sullivan, and may have also been read and edited by the interviewee. Any notes added in the reading/editing process by Sullivan, the interviewee, or others who read the transcript have been included in brackets. If the interview was transcribed for Sullivan, the original typescript of the interview is available in the NRAO Archives. Sullivan's notes about each interview are available on the individual interviewee's Web page. During processing, full names of institutions and people were added in brackets and if especially long the interview was split into parts reflecting the sides of the original audio cassette tapes. We are grateful for the 2011 Herbert C. Pollock Award from Dudley Observatory which funded digitization of the original cassette tapes, and for a 2012 grant from American Institute of Physics, Center for the History of Physics, which funded the work of posting these interviews to the Web.

Please bear in mind that: 1) This material is a transcript of the spoken word rather than a literary product; 2) An interview must be read with the awareness that different people's memories about an event will often differ, and that memories can change with time for many reasons including subsequent experiences, interactions with others, and one's feelings about an event.

Part 1 | Part 3

Sullivan

Westerhout on 22 November ’73. So the Queen pushed the button and then what happened?

Westerhout

The Queen pushed the button and the button was connected to the pilot and that should start the automatic pilot. However, that at the last minute didn't work. So we had one guy from the electrical company that was doing the installation and one of the technicians inside the telescope and an hour before the Queen came connected a red lamp to the button. So when the red lamp went on inside, they were supposed to move the telescope into the standard position, which is the position of our standard reference field which had a very beautiful profile. And Lex Muller had set his receiver extra fast. Ok, it would be a bit noisy, but within 10 minutes you could see the whole profile come up on the recorder.

Sullivan

The Queen didn't know that these little men were behind the...

Westerhout

No. So the Queen pressed the button and the press was there and, of course, there were hundreds and hundreds of people there. And I had told the press very precisely how the telescope would move so they had all their cameras in the right position. And first nothing happened. Then the telescope very slowly started moving in the opposite direction. Then it started moving a little bit faster in the opposite direction. Whereupon the press grabbed their film cameras and started running. Well, Lex Muller and I, no Ben Hooghoudt and I- Lex Muller was standing there beside Oort- Ben Hooghoudt and I sprinted into the telescope. By the time we got in there the technician and the electrician man were absolutely and utterly confused and dumbfounded. They had done everything they were supposed to do wrong. They were so nervous. Fortunately, Hooghoudt and I were so familiar with the equipment that we started pressing buttons and the telescope then moved, whereupon the press had to run once more to the place where they had been told to go. And from then on everything worked fine.

Sullivan

So then you went to λ=150° and b= 0°? [Sullivan: λ = 50°]

Westerhout

b = 0 and a beautiful line profile appeared on the chart and the Queen got presented with the chart. Then to our horror the Queen insists - the Queen was then, of course, shown the inside of the room, of the receiver racks and so on, then she insisted she wanted to go up to the platform, up those funny stairs, in her white shoes and white dress. And we knew that the previous evening the bannisters had been painted with aluminum paint. When she came down from those stairs, I still remember the horror with which - I was standing there helping her - and those last pieces of the steps were very funny sort of steps, I was helping her down those last steps and she looked with horror at her white gloves which were absolutely and utterly black.

Sullivan

So you hadn’t told her about the paint?

Westerhout

Well nobody dared! Well, the paint wasn't wet anymore but it was sort of - it rubbed off rather easily. The paint we only thought of later. People were horrified that she wanted to climb the stairs.

Sullivan

You hadn’t thought of the paint.

Westerhout

We only thought of it about half way and said, "My God." Ah, beautiful... that was in May. Then, of course, the work really started, because that was the dedication.

Sullivan

But it had the line receiver first of all?

Westerhout

It had the line receiver, but of course it then took a long time before we finally started observing with it. Because at that point it had to be calibrated, many of the electronic things weren't working properly yet, I mean, the steering mechanism and all that. So we did all the calibrations which includes, of course, a lot of optical observations, because I calibrated and checked the steering mechanism by means of optical observations. I attached a small telescope to the thing

Sullivan

Not with a camera? With a telescope

Westerhout

A little telescope and cross-hairs. Somebody downstairs set on Alpha Orionis or whatever star you have, and the telescope would move there and I'd find out how far off it was- we had graphs all over the sky- how far off it was with respect to that telescope. We hadn't quite heard about rigidity in telescopes yet. But that, of course, checked the complete servo loop and the accuracies of that.

Sullivan

How did you get involved in continuum survey now? It would seem like you would have continued with the hydrogen line.

Westerhout

No, because then, of course, we had to calibrate the thing on radio sources. And in the meantime the manufacturers still had to work on it for another month. That month I went to Ireland to sort of get engaged.

Sullivan

To meet a wife?

Westerhout

Yes. This was the year after the IAU [International Astronomical Union] meeting. This was in '56. When I came back I found out that in periods that the manufacturer was not there, Henk van de Hulst had decided that he’s simply turn the thing at full speed in azimuth. You know, for a quickie survey. And that's how such sources as W3 got discovered.

Sullivan

I see.

Westerhout

So I was - when I came back I was presented with this unbelievable stack of continuum data. "Ah," said van de Hulst, "Every now and again the guy wasn't there so I decided we might as well."

Sullivan

So the continuum receiver had been put on to calibrate point sources?

Westerhout

For point sources, yes.

Sullivan

So van de Hulst was really the one that got it started that there were these interesting galactic sources all over?

Westerhout

No., No, van de Hulst simply felt that somehow it was a pity that the thing was sitting idle for parts of the day when the manufacturer was not working on it. So he said, "Let's just go through it." Actually out of that survey I think four sources came, out of the whole thing.

Sullivan

Including W3 though?

Westerhout

No, there were a few sources in that list that do not occur in the strip, in my W list. A few sources that do not occur in the strip of sky that I actually mapped very carefully. They came out of that other fast survey.

Sullivan

So then it was a few months later before you actually began?

Westerhout

No. I then did the final calibration of the telescope with point sources including measuring extinction, refraction, bending, the whole lot. And that, of course, all required a continuum receiver. And then I immediately followed that with two weeks of continuous observation of the galactic plane. And that was it.

Sullivan

That all it took was two weeks?

Westerhout

Yes. And then the line people came on. I quit.

Sullivan

And you went back and reduced all that?

Westerhout

I went back and reduced all that. So in October of '56 the line receiver was used and among other things they looked at the Andromeda Nebula, which is in an article by [Ernst] Raimond, van Woerden and van de Hulst.

Sullivan

And they did the expanding arm?

Westerhout

They did the expanding arm thing, right.

Sullivan

But I still don't quite see how you got in this continuum business. You say it was necessary to calibrate the sources, but what was the motivation behind looking in the galactic plane for continuum sources?

Westerhout

I wanted to get a good survey of the galactic plane. I don't know, let's see, why was I interested...

Sullivan

Because you'd had all this line background? Now, at this time you were displacing the NRL dish as the largest microwave dish, right?

Westerhout

Yeah, right.

Sullivan

So maybe you just realized that this was the dish to do something like that with, since NRL had picked up these H II regions?

Westerhout

[Affirmative]. A few.

Sullivan

In '54.

Westerhout

Yeah.

Sullivan

Yeah, a hand-full.

Westerhout

Now that I come to think of it ... Well, for one thing I'd done the same thing...

[Short interruption]

Westerhout

I was interested in the continuum for a long time before. After all I did make a survey of the galactic plane with the Kootwijk dish in the continuum. And I did these polarization measurements, of Cas A. And, of course, wait a second! The original paper with Oort 1951, which was continuum. Of course! Well, that's where it all came from. That's how I kept the interest...

Sullivan

But that was background, as opposed to discrete sources? But did you realize that you were really - were you going for discrete sources or were you just going for whatever was there?

Westerhout

No, no. I wasn't going for discrete sources... and I found all these discrete sources. And that letter that you gave me a copy of shows where I tell Martin Ryle that we found a lot of discrete sources in the Milky Way which was somewhat unexpected. Because the earlier survey had no discrete sources.

Sullivan

Which earlier one?

Westerhout

My earlier one with Kootwijk with the 2.5° beam. I mean, you could see that now that, you know where they are, they were there all right, the bright ones, but they were I mean sort of smoothed out. I mean you didn't have a very good noise figure and all that. So that indeed came from wanting to continue on. Don't forget that this was only three years later. In '51 was the paper with Oort on the distribution of gas. In '54 I found out that at 1400 MHz at least, the Milky Way was extremely narrow in the continuum. At that point, in other words, we realized our mistake. And I then went on from there as soon as the Dwingeloo dish was ready. I wanted to do the continuum survey. And that in fact is what I wanted to do for my thesis and that's why I didn't make the other thing, the 21 cm line thing my PhD thesis. So that is how my thesis paper comes to have such a lot of calibration stuff in it. [Sullivan: Westerhout looks at his 1958 paper]

Westerhout

Here is the calibration of the pilot. It was the whole telescope, determination of the radio axis.

Sullivan

Which was then used by everyone afterwards?

Westerhout

We didn't think that the mirror would bend- in fact it didn't- but we sure figured out that the mast bends.

Sullivan

The old guy wire in there and everything.

Westerhout

Yes. No, but it bent actually.

Sullivan

Yes, Muller has told me a lot about this whole arrangement and how they finally put in a front-end box and various things like that.

Westerhout

[Sullivan: Still looking at paper] Antenna pattern, antenna receiver, detector law- the whole damn lot, intensities as a function of equivalent air mass.- in other words the extinction business- intensity ratios of the four bright sources, then we finally get the measurements. Oh, here’s the story about this first…

Sullivan

The Kootwijk?

Westerhout

No, this first quick thing. "When adjustments to the telescope with a drive mechanism were still in progress a search was made for discrete sources over the whole physical sky. The pilot wasn't in operation yet. The only possible motion was in azimuth and altitude, 72° per minute." How about that for finding sources! "Every discrete source in intensity greater than 30 units was found as a sharp spike well in excess of the noise peaks." Oh, 30 units, sorry, that is 130 flux units, every source brighter than 130 flux units.

Sullivan

That's why you only pick up a couple?

Westerhout

Yes.

Sullivan

Ok, what's the next step after this paper?

Westerhout

This is a neat paper here, it's still a neat paper- you can say what you like.

Sullivan

In fact we used it for this recombination line paper [Sullivan: Sullivan and Downes 1973 A and A]. We got a good total flux for W3 out of it after changing the calibration for Cas A, which was ~30% off or something like that. Other than that it's still the best measurement of that.

Westerhout

My calibration for Cas A was 30 percent off...

Sullivan

Yes, it turns out.

Westerhout

Interesting.

Sullivan

I'm not quite sure how that happened.

Westerhout

It's not 30 years ago. It goes at 1.5% a year.

Sullivan

No, no. I mean at that time it was 30% off. So you need to change all the fluxes there by that...

Westerhout

Oh, I had forgotten that. Now that you mention it, I seem to remember that that was indeed the case.

Sullivan

So what's the next step after this? What did you work on next?

Westerhout

Well, I worked on this- it kept me pretty well occupied for the next two years.

Sullivan

You didn't take any more new observations?

Westerhout

I didn't take any more new observations but I did... I’m trying to think of the chronology there-I did not participate actively in the line work with the Dwingeloo telescope other than, particularly in the beginning, very strongly of course in an advisory capacity and always working with the people on the subject. But I got much more involved in the various continuum things, you know, the continuum work, Seeger's continuum work, and my own, of course, for those two years. I think that's what mainly kept me out of it, working out that survey. Wait a second. That big BAN that appeared in '57. So that was still being prepared for publication, too. That's why my thesis didn't appear until '58, right.

Sullivan

So there were two big papers?

Westerhout

Yes. Two big papers both being finished at that time. So that's what kept me busy for those years. Then in '58, in the summer, I got my degree. I forget what I did after that. In any case, early in '59 I went on a trip around the world.

Sullivan

What kind of a trip?

Westerhout

Just a trip, just to take a trip. I had a NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] fellowship to visit observatories in the United States and I got another kind of fellowship plus a salary from CSIRO [Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization] to visit the Australians. So Judith and I and Magda-Kathleen made a trip around the world. We spent five months in the United States and three months in Australia, something like that. Oh, Frank Kerr was in Holland for half a year in '57 and I worked very extensively with him on the 21 cm line work.

Sullivan

Yes, tying together that.

Westerhout

Yes, trying all that together, right. Oh, there's a beautiful anecdote. We tied it a together particularly comparing a considerable number of profiles of his with profiles of ours very carefully. And finding to our great pleasure that when we took the ratios- I think the ratio of his temperatures scaled to ours was 0.98 ± .03. And it wasn't until half a year after he was back in Australia that he wrote in a letter, "By the way, you remember our beautiful arrangements, could you let me know were your antenna temperatures perhaps brightness temperatures, because mine were antenna temperatures and I think yours were brightness temperatures?" And ever since there has been this factor of 1.30 between the Australian and the Dutch data.

Sullivan

Which Ron Harten was very involved in trying to figure out.

Westerhout

Right, and apparently he did figure it out in the end what did go wrong there. But in the '57 session we decided it agreed beautifully except he talked antenna and I talked brightness temperatures.

Sullivan

And this is also where you presumably saw the difference in the rotation curves, the south and north?

Westerhout

Yes, right.

Sullivan

And that's when the Monthly Notices review article came out?

Westerhout

Right and then in '59 in Australia, Frank Kerr and I finished off this article for Kuiper’s Compendium [Sullivan: Vol. VII] among other things. We finished that off and we finished off the series of articles in the Monthly Notices with Gum and so on, on the position of the plane. In '58 at the IAU meeting in Moscow, the IAU decided that a new system of galactic coordinates should definitely be adopted. At the IAU meeting in '55 we had already talked about it. We set up a committee and it wasn't until after the IAU meeting that they discovered that I wasn't a member of the IAU at all and there was an official member of the committee. So apparently you can make a person a member of the IAU, the Executive Committee can do that in between sessions, so they quickly made me a member of the IAU. To come back to that meeting in '55, of course I had the model of the Galaxy which I am sure you can still find in Leiden, somewhere in the attic. The outer parts of the Galaxy are all these maps of these ones on the BAN No. 475, which gives intensity as a function of distance and...

Sullivan

Velocity?

Westerhout

No, distance from the Sun in kiloparsecs and height above the plane.

Sullivan

I see.

Westerhout

It is a cross-section in actual spatial coordinates. Now, I had each of these drawn on Plexiglas, each of they were those. I think they were originally this size. Then I had a great big Plexiglas sheet with grooves cut in it and we drew all these up, colored them, and stuck them all in. So when you looked you could see these sausages whirl around in that great big model.

Sullivan

I've never seen it but I've heard about this.

Westerhout

And that was in '55 already that we had that. That's interesting, this article didn't appear until '57. There must have been a lot to be done, in writing it up quite obviously. I took that to the Dublin meeting and I still remember coming back into Holland, the customs man wanted to know what was in that and I said, "A model of the Galaxy." He says, "A what?" So I had to unpack it. He says, "How much is it worth?" So I figured out the cost of the plastic and the time and I said, "Oh, about 10,000 guilders." "Oh, boy, that will be a lot of import duty." I said, "Come on now, I took this thing out of here three weeks ago." Well, it took a lot of convincing, but finally he agreed. He said, "Can you see anywhere where it says trademark so and so?" and I said, "We don’t have a trademark at the Leiden Observatory." But I got it back into Holland safely without having to pay 10,000 guilders worth of import duty. OK, where were we? My trip around the world?

Sullivan

Right, and that Compendium article was actually finished off in '59 even though it didn't appear until '63 or '64 or something like that?

Westerhout

Yes, right.

Sullivan

And then you got involved, I guess, in polarization in '60, is that the next step when you got back to Holland?

Westerhout

Yes. You want the Dutch story first before you get to the... oh no, you're just stopping at '58?

Sullivan

No, no, that was the classics book. I'm going to the mid-'60s or so with the history.

Westerhout

Because the trip around the world is another whole story in itself.

Sullivan

Well, tell me.

Westerhout

But later we should go back to that...

Sullivan

However you want to do it, Ok.

Westerhout

So when I got back in November of 1959 the 400 MHz receiver was almost ready. That had an enormous amount of headaches attached with it because Seeger on the one hand was a perfectionist in certain aspects, and in other aspects he never got anywhere in organizing things. So that took months to get that thing working and on the air. That was a terrible... hold everything... that wasn't '58. It was in '57, yes, we got it on there again, I think. Oh, my God, I'm getting awfully confused now.

[Break]

Westerhout

The survey that was published in '65, Seeger, Westerhout, [Robin G.] Conway, and [T.] Hoekema, we did in '58.

Sullivan

Before you went on your trip?

Westerhout

Before I went on my trip. So that's where that year that I couldn't account for went, the troubles with the receiver. But it finally did make that survey. That's right. In essence, I left Hoekema with the reduction, that's why his name is on it because he did a tremendous amount of work on that. Then later Mike Davis appeared in Leiden and he took a little bit of that, the sources out of on there. So that's where that went. And then in '60 we started on the polarization, and that again was an enormous amount of headache. In fact, that was so much of a headache that in the end on that first polarization paper even though it was Seeger's pet, l am the chief author because of the fact that in essence, in the end he was nothing more than a technician. I mean he lost all contact with the real world. And he left immediately afterwards, he left Holland.

Sullivan

And when was that?

Westerhout

That was in '61.

Sullivan

Then he went directly to - where is he now- New Mexico...

Westerhout

No, he went to Bracewell's place.

Sullivan

Oh, yes, Stanford.

Westerhout

Right.

Sullivan

But now that first survey is the one that has the nice fold-out with the optical things on it, an overlay showing where the constellations are and it labels the sources? That has Seeger's name, but I can't remember who else.

Westerhout

No, that's the one in the... Seeger, [F. Louis H. M.] Stumpers, van Herk, Philips Tijdschrijft.

Sullivan

That's the same survey?

Westerhout

That is same survey

Sullivan

But that was also published in BAN?

Westerhout

But then in '65 the whole description, the reduction and everything and so on was published in the BAN.

Sullivan

For seven years that was the only information, or maybe for five years?

Westerhout

That map? Yes.

Sullivan

Yes. And what were the main results from this? Was it just higher resolution at the low frequency?

Westerhout

Yes, quite, high resolution at the low frequency.

Sullivan

Yes, picking up all the discrete sources. But now what about the polarization, or after your trip anyway?

Westerhout

Well, the polarization business, of course, was extremely interesting because of the fact that we actually for the first time made a positive detection of polarization.

Sullivan

Of background radiation?

Westerhout

Of background polarization.

Sullivan

But now what about the Russians? Didn't they claim...

Westerhout

Well, [Vladimir] Razin had claimed that he had detected polarization at 240 MHz and so on. But in one of those typically Russian papers that did not say at all how much, where he had looked, the only thing it said is the method he had used. Wide band, narrow band.

Sullivan

Band shifting.

Westerhout

Right. And nobody really trusted that.

Sullivan

But was he right? I mean has it turned out to be that...

Westerhout

No, I don't think so. There was Thomsen in England who had some vague indications that there might be something. And [Joseph L.] Pawsey and [E.] Harting in Australia had tried and got negative results.v

Sullivan

At the same low frequency, I mean roughly?

Westerhout

At the same sort of frequency, yes. And we did it and got beautiful results.

Sullivan

And you were working at 400. Now at 200...

Westerhout

Well the Faraday rotation is so much worse because it really goes rapidly with wavelength. One cannot really think of Razin having actually seen something.

Sullivan

So then indeed you were the first ones to establish it reliably, and that was at 400 MHz?

Westerhout

Right. The introduction says something about that.

Sullivan

So in the '62 BAN article you mention all these earlier attempts and you don't really say that you don't believe them, you just say that Razin claimed a couple percent?

Westerhout

Razin and Thompson obtained positive results- two upper different papers. The other authors gave upper limits of 1-2%, at frequencies between 200 and 410 MHz.

Sullivan

And so you took this as a verification of...

Westerhout

The start of this paper very strongly makes it clear that we did this specifically to verify synchrotron theory.

Sullivan

Right, for the background radiation.

Westerhout

And we were sort of then, of course, it turned out that there was much more polarized radiation than you actually thought. Then it turned into a whole new field, of course, but that's another...

Sullivan

And what did you do with that in this paper when you had more then you expected?

Westerhout

Well, I gave a whole story... well, it's not so much... No, let's put it this way. We were rather surprised to find such strong signals, but then in the course of the analysis I had to explain away the fact that the signals were actually so low. So I was surprised how beautiful it was. We came out with in essence to the conclusion that the radiation must come from regions very near to the sun, within a few hundred parsecs at the most. Because of the Faraday rotation in the interstellar medium, even with normal ionized gas you will get lots of Faraday rotation that would completely smooth it and smooth it away.

Sullivan

But it is true, is it not, that [Cornell H.] Mayer et al. were the first to detect polarization other than on Jupiter and the Sun?

Westerhout

Yes, Crab Nebula and Taurus A, that's '57 or so.

Sullivan

Ok, I just wanted to check that. So this represented altogether-- a good year or two of work, I guess altogether in the early ‘60s?

Westerhout

Yes.

Sullivan

And you only did that one frequency though?

Westerhout

Yes. Because as you see this article was published in '62, July 6, and I arrived in Maryland on '62 April 11. So that was the end of my involvement in the Leiden effort with the exception of the paper on the 400 MHz survey which didn't appear until '65 at Leiden. I had all the data but I just never got around to writing it up. When I finally had written it up, it turned out to be a massive paper. That's probably why it took so long.

Sullivan

Would you be willing to comment why you chose to go to the States or would you rather do that off the record? I mean, it seems like you were getting all sorts of interesting results here. Or maybe it was just a matter of personal...

Westerhout

It was mainly a matter of personal things. In the first place I don't feel- I've always felt and I still felt at that time, that one should not stay forever at the that place where one got ones education. And that became, of course, more and more clear. As time went along and I became a senior scientist but yet quite clearly in the eyes of the powers that be, I was a student. That was one. But I think the main one was that having travelled through the United States and having seen all the many things that went on there, we in the end decided that Holland was too narrow.

Sullivan

Too confining.

Westerhout

Yes. And I wanted to start something, in essence I wanted to start something for myself. That's why also to everybody's amazement, I accepted the offer from Maryland rather than going to Berkeley or to NRAO which were the other two I was very seriously considering. In fact I was considering those and Berkeley already thought I was coming, and Maryland came up with an offer.

Sullivan

Where you could actually just start something for yourself?

Westerhout

Where I could really start something for myself. So I first enquired around Holland and van de Hulst said, "It's a football college- you're crazy." So I simply went there and looked around and saw the Physics Department and the enormous vigor with which that went.

Sullivan

You noticed what?

Westerhout

Vigor which that Physics Department had. That clinched it.

Sullivan

Were there any other astronomers there when you went there?

Westerhout

Uco van Wijk had arrived that September before.

Sullivan

But it had no direction as being a department specializing in radio astronomy?

Westerhout

No, none whatsoever. No plans.

Sullivan

That was essentially because you went.

Westerhout

They also had already hired [William C.] Erickson.

Sullivan

This was about simultaneously?

Westerhout

Yes. Erickson had already said yes before I said yes. But then Erickson had already committed himself to go to Holland for 14 months to guide the Benelux Cross antenna project.

Sullivan

So he was away?

Westerhout

He was away that first year. In essence from there on van Wijk, Erickson, and myself were the people who were attracted by the then-physicists, and I took over from there.

Sullivan

van Wijk is originally Dutch, I suppose?

Westerhout

Yes, he was born in Indonesia.

Sullivan

He didn't live in Holland then?

Westerhout

No, he didn't live any extended time in Holland.

Sullivan

So that was just sort of a coincidence?

Westerhout

Yeah, that was a coincidence. Elske Smith similarly is a coincidence. She never lived in Holland either.

Sullivan

She lived in South Africa?

Westerhout

No. She was a diplomat’s daughter. Her mother was English and her father was Dutch and she was born in Morocco and lived a long time in England and studied at Ratcliffe. Went to South Africa as a graduate student with Bok, that's where she did all her polarization work.

Sullivan

I see, I didn't realize that.

Westerhout

And Henry Smith, of course, was a graduate student at Harvard.

Sullivan

What was your main thrust at Maryland?

Westerhout

I never set out to make Maryland a department that was interested in radio astronomy. Particularly, because I, of course, grew up in a department that was an all-around astronomy department. I guess because of my name a lot of people did come, but you may note that I was mentioning Erickson and I having been attracted there, that the first people who arrived on the scene after that were [Roger A.] Bell, Smith, [Donat G.] Wentzel...

Sullivan

That's getting somewhat later.

Westerhout

Is it? Who else have we got?

Sullivan

I think those are the only early ones, before '66 or so.

Westerhout

And I was trying desperately to attract such people as [Rudolf] Kippenhahn and so on to come, but they wouldn't budge.

Sullivan

Kippenhauer?

Westerhout

Kippenhahn. I mean stellar atmosphere people, stellar interior, stellar evolution.

Sullivan

That's right, you told me you were trying to get Böhm.

Westerhout

Like Böhm and so on, right. We tried Kahn too. We lot tried every Tom, Dick and Harry under the Sun.

[Interruption]

Sullivan

But as it turned out, Maryland got a radio reputation.

Westerhout

Yes, when you come to think of it, why?

Sullivan

Well, I think the radio people just ended up being a little bit more dynamic than the others.

Westerhout

Yes, but that was only me for a long time, and Erickson.

Sullivan

And Erickson, yes.

Westerhout

But Erickson always had his business out in California.

Sullivan

But you and Erickson were somewhat more dynamic than Smith and Bell, then Kerr came in and well... but I agree with you when you look at the people, it's really sort of half and half.

Westerhout

Yes.

Sullivan

But now what about your research direction?

Westerhout

At Maryland?

Sullivan

Yes. You must have obviously seen the 300 foot?

Westerhout

Yes, I saw the 300 foot, quite. I mean I was one of the very first people to work with that together with Bernie Burke who drove his truck out there, his trailer with the whole multi-channel receiver.

[Interruption]

Westerhout

And I participated in those measurements with Burke and [Merle] Tuve.

Sullivan

The first things you did, were they actually part of the survey or did you do some other small projects on the 300 foot?

Westerhout

No, I wasn't immediately, I didn't immediately...

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Modified on Tuesday, 23-Dec-2014 14:30:19 EST by Ellen Bouton, Archivist (Questions or feedback)