Interview with Alan H. Barrett, 1979


Alan H. Barrett, 1927-1991. Interviewed on 15 August 1979, IAU Meeting at Montreal, length of interview: 37 minutes.


Papers of Woodruff T. Sullivan III




Oral History


Sullivan, Woodruff T., III


Barrett, Alan H.


Original Format of Digital Item

Audio cassette tape


37 minutes

Interview Topics

18 cm OH search at Naval Research Laboratory 1956 and detection at MIT ~1963; University of Michigan 85 foot construction and use; study of Venus from Earth and from Mariner II 1962 flyby. [Sullivan notes that the 1979 interview replaces the 1971 interview.]

Start Date



This interview was conducted as part of Sullivan's research for his book, Cosmic Noise: A History of Early Radio Astronomy (Cambridge University Press, 2009). In preparing Sullivan interviews for web publication, the NRAO/AUI Archives has made a concerted effort to obtain release forms from interviewees or from their heirs or next of kin. In the case of this interview, we have been unable to find anyone to sign a release. In accordance with our open access policy, we are posting the interview. If you suspect alleged copyright infringement on our site, please email archivist @ Upon request, we will remove material from public view while we address a rights issue. Please contact us if you are able to supply any contact information for the interviewee or his heirs/next of kin.

We are grateful for the 2011 Herbert C. Pollock Award from Dudley Observatory which funded digitization of the original cassette tapes. Please bear in mind that an interview must be heard 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.


Working Files Series


Individuals Unit

Range #



Papers of Woodruff T. Sullivan III, “Interview with Alan H. Barrett, 1979,” NRAO/AUI Archives, accessed July 22, 2024,