Second Part

0:09:07 In the meantime I had a girlfriend whom I'd met at Goshen College where we'd worked on the newspaper together; she was a nurse and had come to Boston with another nurse to work; I told her that I was going watch a total eclipse of the sun on my honeymoon and that if she wanted to go she should get more interested; that was how it turned out, and we have been married now for over fifty years; have to say that it turned out to be cloudy on our honeymoon but since then I have taken her to ten solar eclipses; in my graduate work, thinking that I was going to be drafted at any moment it did not seem to be a good idea to get deeply involved in a thesis only to have to abandon it; I did get a job as a teaching fellow in a general education course taught by Professor I. Bernard Cohen who was the founder of the History of Science Department at Harvard; he was a gifted lecturer and ran a course for science students using the historical approach; I think that despite the fact that there was an intense love-hate relation between us, I learnt a great deal about lecturing technique; it got me interested in teaching but also in the history of science; I gradually began to do more reading in the subject; then got the offer to go to Beirut and left with my new wife; two years were required by Selective Service but I stayed for a third year because I had things that I wanted to fix in their observatory before I left; also I taught the junior mechanics course; teaching beginner's physics to rather obstreperous Arab students was a great experience for me because I was always intimidated about how I would do in my final oral exam; I did not appreciate at the time that the final oral was not to find out what you know but what you don't know so in the event the exam took a long time; I was not happy to have been drafted out of graduate school, but it was divine providence because in the meantime the Sputnik had gone up, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory had moved to share quarters with Harvard Observatory and there was a tremendous burst of growth there; they also had the fastest computer in New England with extra time on it; I was interested in spectroscopy but it was very hard to get the spectra; I turned to the theoretical side; I got permission from Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

to switch my advisors; I went with a younger professor who had been at graduate school with me but had graduated sooner; he was very interested in using the computer to calculate model stellar atmospheres, the way the radiation flows through the outer layers of the star; previously everybody had assumed that the stars were grey across the wave length regions so you would not take into account the different opacity of the atmosphere in the different colours of light; with the computer you could handle the whole thing; I just loved the computing and was soon deeply entrenched into this cutting edge area, the result of which was that I had a really great thesis and a job offer from the Smithsonian Observatory to continue in this kind of work because they were planning to send up a special satellite to look at the sky in the ultra violet and they needed theoretical capability to interpret the results; I was not involved in that position very long when the astronomy teacher of their basic natural sciences course in the general education programme left; they needed a teacher for the following year and asked if I would be interested; I had had the background with Bernard Cohen, in fact when I returned from Beirut he had employed me as a lecturer in his course; I took the job and gradually moulded the course to my own ideas, introducing much of the historical material that Bernard Cohen had used earlier; ultimately when I retired in 2000 it had become the longest running course at Harvard under the same management; during this time I had a hundred teaching fellows working with me; teaching the teaching fellows was my most important job; some have gone on to very distinguished positions, one, David Politzer, won the Nobel physics prize, who had been doing his prize winning graduate work at the same time as teaching for me

11:17:08 Bernard Cohen had become an historical consultant for IBM and he brought me in on that project; it involved working with the distinguished designer, Charles Eames; I went out to California fairly regularly to look at the exhibits he was making like a huge time wall of computer history; he then did a special exhibition on Copernicus for which I was the key person; Charles was probably the most creative person I have ever worked with because he not only designed chairs; he had curiosity and a wide interest in all sorts of things; he made a film, 'Toy Trains', because he was a collector of toys; I went on a photographic expedition with him to Poland and Sweden in connection with the Copernicus exhibition, where I learnt a great deal about seeing things in detail, taking pictures of books at interesting angles and not just flat on; he invented the multi-screen projection show; he used this first for the US pavilion at the International Fair in Moscow and then developed it further; as a result, I started showing my slides always on two screens; he was flying back from Poland on one trip and he realized that if he wanted to get to the nub of what Copernicus was doing he would want to show how the Ptolemaic geocentric system gave the same answers as the heliocentric system; the vectors are arranged in a different way but they point ultimately in the same direction; he figured out how to make a model of this with bicycle chains hidden in the background; within two or three days of his return his shop had made this model which was rugged enough to run for six months in the exhibition; I presented the problem to my students over the years but none of them was ever ingenious enough to figure out how to do it, except on the computer

15:58:17 Philip Morrison was a good friend who lived close to us whom I got to know as a result of some school projects; he was a polymath who was for many years the book review editor for 'Scientific American'; he had a problem of how to get rid of books so my wife and I often used to go over for ones that interested us; he went out and worked in the Eames shop for a year while he was on sabbatical, rather his wife worked in the shop and he would come in from time to time to consult; he was teaching at UCLA or Caltech for that year; he was probably the most unforgettable character I have ever met; he worked at Los Alamos and had lots of stories about it; he came one 4th July when our sons had made fireworks from basic chemicals and talked about the Trinity explosion at Los Alamos; they had had to make a test explosion to calibrate the Trinity test; enlisted men were throwing boxes of dynamite off a truck and Phil was about to leave when the officer in charge said there was no danger; he instructed the men to stack up the boxes in a wall and to bring someone with a machine gun to show how safe it was; Phil left before the demonstration; he flew with the core of the bomb to Tinian to put it together before it was flown to Hiroshima; as a result he became one of the leading proponents to ban nuclear weapons; he had been to both Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombing; we were once in a Japanese restaurant with another physicist talking about this; a waitress overheard and said that she was from Nagasaki which caused a deadly silence

20:30:10 Jerzy Dobrzycki, the Pole whom I'd met at the Hamburg meeting of the International Astronomical Union mentioned before, later became the director of the History of Science Institute in Warsaw; I became friendly with him and later, a collaborator, and he was often able to come to the States to work with me; I saw when I was on this international Copernicus committee with the anniversary approaching that probably I would be expected at some point that year to say something about Copernicus; what could I say that was new? Copernicus had been studied for some centuries and the archival materials had been well worked over; I went on sabbatical in 1970 to Cambridge, England, and on a holiday we took the children up to Edinburgh; on the way I stopped in Leeds with another professor on this international planning committee; we talked about Arthur Koestler's book, 'The Sleepwalkers', which was a bit of a put down for Copernicus saying that it was the book that nobody read; we started to think about people who might have read it at the time of publication and drew up a list of possible readers but ran out of names after ten; in Edinburgh I went to the Royal Observatory to look at their book collection; looked at their first edition of Copernicus; I was amazed to realize that it was annotated thoroughly in the margins; if this book had so few readers it seemed preposterous that the next copy I should look at should be so thoroughly well read; there was no name in the book but the binding was special; in 1543 when the book came out the pages would have been bound to suit the buyer; noticed that initials E.R. were stamped on it; wondered if it could be Erasmus Reinhold; I took a rubbing but as I did so, to my dismay, a third initial turned up, E.R.S.; I didn't know then that it was typical in the sixteenth century to use a toponym, (the place where you were born); he was born in Saalfeld; so I had found a copy read by one of the ten people on our list; this gave me the idea to look at more copies and to look at the annotations made at the time; that is when the great Copernicus chase began; I went back to Cambridge and consulted the catalogue of early books; among others, found that Trinity had three copies; it became more than a simple research project but became an obsession to try to see as many copies as possible; it took me thirty years before I was able finally to publish the census of some 600 copies of the first and second editions, giving the provenances and ownership of each copy, where possible, plus information on annotations; the most interesting thing was the intense connectivity between copies; if you got one that was heavily annotated you were likely to find another with identical annotations because students copied their teachers' notes  and for Erasmus Reinhold there are at least a dozen copies that have some of his annotations recopied into them; after I did the census I wrote a memoir about it entitled 'The Book Nobody Read'; my publisher was nervous at first, but the title proved to be good for getting book buyers to look at it further; of the 600, I did not see them all as some had been destroyed during World War II; I am now in the position of having see more copies than can be located because a number of first editions have been stolen or passed through the market to unknown owners

28:52:06 Have known Martin Rees since the trip to Cambridge in 1970; I spent half that year in Cambridge and then went to Beirut as I wanted to show our two eldest sons where they had been born; when I came back there was a conference at the Astronomical Institute and I recently found the group photograph; there is Martin sitting in the front row looking very young and I am standing just behind Geoff Burbidge, looking very young, near Martin Ryle, Fred Hoyle in the front row with Margaret Burbidge and Willy Fowler, and Roger Penrose is in that row - quite a distinguished galaxy of people; Martin is such a wonderfully patient person, you would think he had nothing else to do; when I was first there on sabbatical there was a luncheon meeting of the astronomers and Stephen Hawking came quite regularly; at that time he drove his own specially equipped car; I followed his work from afar and he has done several quite brilliant things with respect to cosmology, black holes, and so on; he was obviously not in a position to be the Director of the Astronomical Institute, which Martin was; Martin has his finger on a lot more things; it is hard to compare them as to what their ultimate impact will be seen to be in terms of the pure science; in terms of working as an effective administrator Martin Rees is going to make a considerable mark; I know Anthony Hewish pretty well, to the extent of always calling him Tony; when I had arrived by overnight flight to London and was in somewhat of a daze, who should I meet in the Burlington Arcade but Tony Hewish; he said he was going to give a Friday evening discourse to the Royal Institution; he got me a ticket so I could hear him lecture; on my next sabbatical I was invited to give one of these lectures, which I did

34:39:19 I have always been interested in how science works, what are its claims to truth, how do these claims stack up vis-à-vis religious claims; it seemed to me very important to do some science so I could understand and appreciate how you handle raw data and how you learn to trust or doubt it, because when you are working on the cutting edge things are not clear cut, otherwise somebody would already have done it; at a certain point we got a new director at the Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, George Field; he was interested in bringing in a new group of x-ray high-energy astronomers to build up a whole new section; therefore he was wanting to cut down in some of the other areas; I had had a graduate student who I had hoped would be able to come back to a position there and continue to work with me on the stellar atmospheres; George said he would be happy if I stuck to history, so I figured that if he wasn't going to get me any assistants I would concentrate on the historical things; we had the four-hundredth anniversary of Kepler in 1971 and I worked quite intensively on that; about that time I was the lead author of the last astrophysics paper that I wrote; recently we had a big Kepler symposium in Poland and I suppose that three-quarters of all the Keplerians were there and they kindly gave me an honorary degree; in the citation they mentioned that one of my astrophysics papers, the last, had 720 citations; I was pretty surprised at that; it taught me that the number of citations is a very weak test of the significance of a paper

Further thoughts on 1st September 2008

37:58:20 I suppose I would consider myself better known as an historian of science; was interested in how science works and by doing science to get some insights; the history of science gives you a broader perspective and sometimes it is easier to tease out the meanings a hundred to four hundred years ago; I have devoted a lot of time to thinking about Renaissance astronomy and exactly what the relations between observations, theory, and scientific proof versus scientific persuasion; that gives me also a foundation for thinking about the broader questions of where truth lies in religion and science; I suppose that as a historian of science my contribution would lie particularly in the work I have done in making the census of Copernicus' book but I hope I have got further insights into how Kepler was thinking, how Galileo was mapping the moon and so on; I have worked in twentieth century astronomy as well as on ancient astronomy; I am not sure how well read those papers will be but I hope they have made some contribution

39:56:14 Deductive versus inductive proof; Galileo using inductive methods was unable to get the kind of proof that Cardinal Bellarmine was looking for or that Urban VIII suggested would be required for the Copernican system; in the end Galileo's arguments proved very persuasive for the Copernican system; if you look in the textbooks today the arguments for the mobility of the earth would be  largely what we call the annual stellar parallax, the reflex movement of stars because of the earth's movement or for the rotation of the earth, the Foucault pendulum, yet when those two things were finally discovered as proofs it was too late, in a sense, because everybody was already convinced; in looking historically, a great deal of how science goes is by persuasion; if you look back four hundred years ago to Kepler's great 'Astronomia nova' you discover if you look at the structure carefully that a great deal of that book is to persuade his audience that he has tried hard enough to get an alternative to the elliptical orbit

43:13:10 Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler were creative scientists as they were willing to think outside the box, to let their sense of aesthetic overrule what seemed to be common sense; for Copernicus the idea of being on a spinning earth is ridiculous, and he was afraid of being hooted off the stage by people who felt it was impossible to have the earth moving swiftly; what Copernicus had seen once he made this transformation to place the sun rather than the earth in the centre of things, then you automatically had the planets arrayed in orbits around the sun so that the planet closest to the sun, Mercury, went around the fastest and the one farthest, Saturn, was the most lethargic, and the rest fell in between; it was a beautiful unifying idea; suddenly you had the same kind of pattern for each planet which before was an individual mechanism; I think it was the power of that aesthetic that won the day with Copernicus, but it took a while for other people to be swayed by that approach; Galileo wrote early on to Kepler that he was a Copernican, but secretly, yet he didn't seem to teach it at all, made no publicity about it, and I suspect he had serious doubts about it until he found out about the telescope and was able to improve it so that he was able to change what was a carnival toy into a scientific instrument; when he started looking at the moon and had enough of an artistic background to understand the shadows and the light in terms of topography, he realized that he was looking at an earth-like object and that wasn't how it was supposed to be in the Aristotelian cosmology because the moon and the planets were something totally foreign to the earth and the terrestrial elements; I suspect there was some kind of eureka moment in December of 1609, and out of that he emerged a convinced Copernican; harder to figure out when it happened with Kepler, but even as a student at the University of Tübingen, he was arguing in a student disputation in favour of the Copernican system; somehow that challenged him and he asked a series of very strange questions such as why were there only six planets and why are they spaced out with so much empty, apparently useless, space in between, which they didn't have in the nested pattern which was used by the followers of Ptolemy; when he got the idea that maybe the famous platonic solids could fit between the planets as spacers, and there were just five of these platonic solids and six planets that had spaces between them, this was a wonderful insight for him; of course, as he worked it out he thought that this whole Copernican system represented the Holy Trinity; he was trained as a theologian and saw the sun, the space between and the distant stars as the same three components that you would get in the Trinity; it was kind of crazy but part of that moment of eureka

48:49:03 Both my wife and I share common interests in classical music and we are great listeners; we have often gone to concerts together but we are not performers; particularly like Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert; we also have an international class shell collection and we follow some esoteric aspects of shell collecting from certain species; our collection contains two world record sized specimens in the Fusinus genus; I am interested in the question of fakes and forgeries; when I am working it is usually recomputing some seventeenth century astronomical table and figuring out how a relatively incompetent Dutch astronomer almost drove Kepler's great 'Rudolphine Tables' out of the market, I love to work on things like that

51:45:10 I have had over a hundred teaching fellows working with me and many have turned out to be gifted astronomers, in secure positions, doing wonderful work; some went off into medicine and other teaching positions, but I think they are doing satisfying work; one has become a professor in a Christian college in the mid-West and with his students has got them into the process of discovering asteroids; they have discovered maybe a dozen or more; he went as a research project after the asteroid that is named after me and found that it is spinning at one of the fastest known rates for an asteroid, or possibly it is a very close binary asteroid, which tickles me