HomeFinding Aids to the CollectionsFinding Aid to the Papers of W. Miller Goss

Finding Aid to the Papers of W. Miller Goss

Miller Goss, 2022     Woody Sullivan and Miller Goss, 1973    Miller Goss, 2005     Miller Goss, 2013     Miller Goss atop the mast, 1968     Pawsey book cover    
Note to researchers:: This collection is currently being processed. Please contact the Archivist (archivist@nrao.edu) for information about access to the material.

Contents:

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Location of collection: National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Archives, 520 Edgemont Rd., Charlottesville, VA. Phone: 1-434-296-0203, email: archivist at nrao.edu

Title and dates of the collection: Papers of W. Miller Goss (dates of collection to be determined)

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Size of the collection: In process; size of collection to be determined

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Papers/records created by: Goss, W. Miller (1941- )

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Short description of the collection: Material gathered by Goss during research for his books on history of Australian radio astronomy.

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Selected search terms:

  • Goss, W. Miller (William Miller)
  • Pawsey, Joseph L.

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Biography: William Miller Goss was born in 1941 in South Carolina, received his BA in astronomy from Harvard in 1963, and his PhD from University of California, Berkeley in 1967. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Scientist at CSIRO division of Radiophysics from 1967-1970. After appointments at Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, and Raman Research Institute, he returned to CSIRO as Principal Research Scientist, 1974-1977. From 1977-1980 he was again at Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, and from 1980-1986 was Professor of Radio Astronomy at University of Groningen. Goss was a Visiting Scientist at National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 1983-1984, and then moved to NRAO as Scientist (later Astronomer) in 1986. From 1988-2002 he was NRAO’s Assistant Director for VLA/VLBA Operations, and for three months in 2002 was NRAO’s Acting Director. He was Head, Division of Science and Academic Affairs, 2003-2006. Goss retired in 2016 as Emeritus Astronomer.

Goss’s research has concentrated on atomic and molecular spectroscopy, including interstellar hydroxyl (OH), neutral hydrogen (HI) and radio recombination lines (RRLs). He was also involved in the detection of the first known millisecond pulsar. More recently, Goss has devoted increasing time to the history of radio astronomy, particularly with regard to the early work in Australia.

Goss is a member of the American Astronomical Society, the International Astronomical Union, and the International Union of Radio Scientists. He has held adjunct professorships at University of Illinois, New Mexico State University, and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. He was a member of the Radio Astronomy Panel of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee, 1990-1991. He has served as member and/or chair of numerous boards and advisory, visiting, users, steering, and program committees, as well as on several editorial and publications boards.

In addition to being an author on over 800 papers, Goss is author of Under the Radar : the First Woman in Radio Astronomy, Ruby Payne-Scott (W.M. Goss, Richard X. McGee, 2009); Making Waves: the Story of Ruby Payne-Scott: Australian Pioneer Radio Astronomer (W.M. Goss, 2013); Radio Astronomers at Sea - Martin Ryle and V. Radhakrishnan Correspondence, 1963-1966: The Voyage of the ‘Cygnus A’ from the UK to Australia (W.M. Goss, David Morris, Geetha Sheshadri, 2016); Four Pillars of Radio Astronomy: Mills, Christiansen, Wild, Bracewell (R. H. Frater, W. M. Goss, H. W. Wendt, 2017); Joe Pawsey and the Founding of Australian Radio Astronomy: Early Discoveries, from the Sun to the Cosmos (W.M. Goss, Claire Hooker, Ronald D. Ekers, 2023).

[Biographical note written by Ellen N. Bouton and Kenneth I. Kellermann using information provided by Goss.]

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Accession history: First material received in November 2023, and the bulk of the material received in 2024.

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Access to collection: No restrictions. Collection is currently being processed. Contact the Archivist for information and appointment.

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Restrictions on use of collection: None.

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Publication rights: Copyright for his material has been assigned by Goss to the NRAO/AUI Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archivist. Note that much of the material in the collection was gathered from a wide variety of sources, including other institutions and archives, particularly the National Archives of Australia, for which neither Goss nor the NRAO/AUI Archives holds publication rights. Additionally, neither Goss nor the NRAO/AUI Archives hold publication rights to any published books, bibliographies, and articles that are included in the collection. Goss and his co-authors conducted a number of interviews as part of the research for their book on Pawsey. Goss has signed a release as interviewer, but no release letters were signed by interviewees, and thus we are unable to grant permission to cite or publish. Any permission for publication is given on behalf of the NRAO/AUI Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

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Preferred citation: National Radio Astronomy Observatory/Associated Universities, Inc. Archives, Papers of W. Miller Goss, <series/unit/subunit/box #>. After the initial citation, abbreviations may be used: NRAO/AUI Archives, Goss papers, <series/unit/subunit/box #>.

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Processing notes: Initial inventory and sorting of this collection was done in 2023 by Robyn Harrison, who had worked with Goss on all his books, before material was shipped from New Mexico to the Archives. Final arrangement, description, indexing, foldering and boxing of this material was begun in early 2024 by Ellen Bouton, and is ongoing. During the processing, photocopies were made to replace thermofax sheets and newspaper clippings, fasteners were removed, and materials were removed from binders of various types. Duplicates were discarded. Most of the arrangement of materials by Harrison and Goss has been retained. Goss often made notes on his manila file folders, and any such notes have been retained with the relevant material.

Goss had material on Greenstein copied from the Caltech Archives, including 1950s correspondence of the NSF Advisory Panel on creation of a national facility for radio astronomy (which became NRAO), correspondence with individuals, e.g. Reber, Bolton, Pawsey, and correspondence about Greenstein’s publications, e.g. Interstellar Static. These materials were discarded. Researchers should see the Jesse L. Greenstein Papers in the California Institute of Technology Archives, as well as related materials in the NRAO/AUI Archives: Papers of Kenneth I. Kellermann, Kellermann Publications, Open Skies Unit, and also the Records of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, NRAO Founding and Organization Series.

Some photocopied materials that were in the initial collection were removed due to intellectual property or copyright concerns. For a full list of materials removed from this collection, contact the archivist.

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Scope and Contents of Collection

Goss was author of Under the Radar : the First Woman in Radio Astronomy, Ruby Payne-Scott (W.M. Goss, Richard X. McGee, 2009); Making Waves: the Story of Ruby Payne-Scott: Australian Pioneer Radio Astronomer (W.M. Goss, 2013); Radio Astronomers at Sea - Martin Ryle and V. Radhakrishnan Correspondence, 1963-1966: The Voyage of the ‘Cygnus A’ from the UK to Australia (W.M. Goss, David Morris, Geetha Sheshadri, 2016); Four Pillars of Radio Astronomy: Mills, Christiansen, Wild, Bracewell (R. H. Frater, W. M. Goss, H. W. Wendt, 2017); Joe Pawsey and the Founding of Australian Radio Astronomy: Early Discoveries, from the Sun to the Cosmos (W.M. Goss, Claire Hooker, Ronald D. Ekers, 2023). Some of the collected materials provided research background for more than one book, and is arranged topically, including materials on specific people. Research materials for specific books/chapters have been filed accordingly.

Adriaan Blaauw Series: Adriaan Blaauw (1914-2010), was Director of the Kaptyn Astronomical Institute in Groningen, The Netherlands, Professor of Astronomy at University of Leiden, and among the founders and an early Director General of European Southern Observatory. Most of the material in this series, dated 1955-1960, was collected/copied from the Groningen Archives, and primarily includes documents related to the mid-1950s IAU proposal for a revised galactic coordination system, including correspondence between Blaauw, Joseph Pawsey (see pages 405-406 in Joe Pawsey and the Founding of Australian Radio Astronomy), Gart Westerhout, Colin Gum, and others. Several photos of Blaauw are included, taken by Goss during his 2010 visit. Also included here is a copy of an oral history transcript of David DeVorkins’s 1979 interview with Blaauw. Size: 0.25 linear feet. Click here for a folder listing.

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John G. Bolton Series: John Gatenby Bolton (1922-1993) was a key figure in the development of radio astronomy, particularly in Australia, was the first director of CSIRO’s Parkes telescope and also, while at Caltech, 1954-1960, established the Owens Valley Radio Observatory. Goss worked with Bolton when he was a post-doc in 1967-1970, then again when he returned to CSIRO from 1974-1980, and at one time considered writing a book about Bolton. This series includes copies of personnel and travel records, correspondence (both chronological and personal/topical), and other materials (currently being processed). Size: 2.0 linear feet. Click here for a folder listing. Related materials: See the Papers of Woodruff T. Sullivan III for the 1976 interview (35 minutes) and the 1978 interview (225 minutes) with Bolton.

Goss had a large collection of image photocopies, both thumbnails and larger, related to the founding and construction of Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) that were printed from the Web pages of the Caltech Archives; these photocopies were discarded.  Researchers should consult materials on both Bolton and OVRO in the California Institute of Technology Archives.

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Edward G. (Taffy) Bowen Series: Edward G. (Taffy) Bowen (1911-1991) was Chief of CSIRO’s Division of Radiophysics from May 1946-January 1971, during which time he oversaw the construction of the Parkes 210 foot radio telescope. This series includes copies of correspondence, reports, and other materials by Bowen or related to him or his work, including early radar in Great Britain and the Tizard Mission. The bulk of the documentation is from Bowen’s work in Australia, including Division of Radiophysics and telescope construction at CSIRO. Material is dated 1937-1988. Much of the material is copied from other archives. Size: 1.75 linear feet. Click here for a folder listing. Related materials: See the Papers of Woodruff T. Sullivan III for the 1973 interview (75 minutes) and 1978 interview (65 minutes) of Bowen.

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Wilbur Norman (Chris) Christiansen Series: Australian Wilbur Norman (Chris) Christiansen (1913-2007) was an innovative and influential radio astronomy pioneer who worked at both CSIRO and University of Sydney, built the first grating array for solar radio astronomy at Potts Hill as well as the "Chris Cross" array at Fleurs, and influenced instruments built at other radio astronomy institutions around the world.  Material in this series, dated 1942-2017, was gathered by Goss primarily for use in the chapter on Christiansen in Four Pillars of Radio Astronomy, and includes correspondence, reports, and other materials.  Also included is documentation on the extensive investigations of Christiansen by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization between 1948 and 1972, which eventually determined there were no grounds for any suspicion of him.  Much of the material in this series is copied from the National Archives of Australia.  Size:  1.0 linear feet. Click here for a folder listing. Related materials:  See the Papers of Woodruff T. Sullivan III for the 1976 interview (100 minutes) of Christiansen.

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Joseph L. Pawsey Series: This series (currently being processed) includes materials specifically related to the research for and publication of Joe Pawsey and the Founding of Australian Radio Astronomy: Early Discoveries, from the Sun to the Cosmos, by W.M. Goss, Claire Hooker, Ronald D. Ekers (2023).  The book is available as an open access title.  The publisher’s online version of the book includes electronic supplementary material, PDF documents linked from citations in the text.  The NRAO/AUI Archives hosts extensive additional supplementary material to the book, also noted in the text.  The bulk of the archival material is comprised of copies of correspondence, reports, memos, etc., and is filed by chapter, followed by materials related to the publisher's and NRAO's supplementary electronic materials in their numerical sequences.

  • Pawsey Book Launch Unit: This unit includes photos taken at the book launch workshop held 27 September 2023 in Socorro, New Mexico. Click here for a link to selected images; for additional images, contact the Archivist.  Video of the workshop presentations is available at https://vimeo.com/871186270/5ba5d66446.  Size:  19 digital images.

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Grote Reber Series: This series includes photocopies from the National Archives of Australia of correspondence (1951-1976) between Grote Reber and Radiophysics staff or Radiophysics correspondence about Reber, selected Reber materials (1945-1960) from the Papers of Grote Reber in the NRAO/AUI Archives, as well as other materials (1944-2013) by or about Reber.  Size: 0.5 linear feet. Click here for a folder listing.

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Peter Scheuer Series: Materials copied from home archive of Peter Scheuer (1930-2001) during Goss visit to Jane Scheuer, 12 April 2012.  Correspondence dated 1964-2000, with photographs by Goss in 2012 of Scheuer’s widow, daughter, granddaughter, and home.  Size: 1 folder. Click here for a folder listing. See the Papers of Woodruff T. Sullivan III for the 1976 interview (50 minutes) of Scheuer. 

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Radiophysics Series: Materials from or related to Division of Radiophysics at Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), beginning 1949 called Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).  Much of the material in this series is copied from the National Archives of Australia.  Currently being processed.

  • Cooperation with Outside Bodies Unit: Materials related to CSIRO Radiophysics cooperation and collaboration with outside institutions; unit name taken from National Archives of Australia materials.  Currently being processed.

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URSI Series: Materials on URSI General Assemblies, 1948-1952, and on the Australian National Committee for Radio Science (ANCORS), 1950-1953.  The bulk of the materials are related to the URSI General Assembly meeting held in Sydney in 1952, including meeting photographs.  Much of the material in this series is copied from the National Archives of Australia.  Size:  0.5 linear feet. Click here for a folder listing. Related materials:  see materials on the 1952 Sydney meeting in the Papers of Ronald N. Bracewell.

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Photographs Series: This series includes photographs of and collected by Goss. Click here for a folder listing and digitized photos. See also the photographs in the Additional Materials about Bracewell Series for photographs related to the Bracewell Sundial at the VLA.

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