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Fred Whipple's empire : the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 1955-1973

Author: David H DeVorkin; Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press,
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2018. ©2018
Series: Smithsonian contribution to knowledge.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : National government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
This book explores how and why the Smithsonian Institution closed its Astrophysical Observatory in Washington, D.C. in 1955 and moved it as a budget line to Harvard first as a department of the Harvard College Observatory and then as the dominant partner. I examine the years when its founder-director, Fred Whipple, pushed the boundaries of research normally associated with an astronomical observatory to create one  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Government publications
History
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
DeVorkin, David H., 1944-
Fred Whipple's empire.
Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2018
(DLC) 2018009955
(OCoLC)1028581774
Named Person: Fred L Whipple; Fred L Whipple
Material Type: Document, Government publication, National government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: David H DeVorkin; Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press,
ISBN: 9781944466176 1944466177
OCLC Number: 1028614534
Description: 1 online resource (xvii, 401 pages) : illustrations.
Series Title: Smithsonian contribution to knowledge.
Other Titles: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 1955-1973
Responsibility: David H. DeVorkin.

Abstract:

This book explores how and why the Smithsonian Institution closed its Astrophysical Observatory in Washington, D.C. in 1955 and moved it as a budget line to Harvard first as a department of the Harvard College Observatory and then as the dominant partner. I examine the years when its founder-director, Fred Whipple, pushed the boundaries of research normally associated with an astronomical observatory to create one of the most complex scientific infrastructures for pursing both classical themes in astronomy, and themes associated as well with national service in areas far removed from the classical techniques of time and navigation. We carry the story to the point when Whipple stepped down as director in consequence of both Harvard and the Smithsonian deciding that a deep restructuring was necessary to better accommodate the survival of the institution as a true hybrid of governmental and private research activities. This is an institutional case-study that explores how changing patterns of patronage influenced disciplinary change in astronomy, and the role key personalities played in building this hybrid institution into one of the largest astronomical institutions on the planet. To my knowledge this is the first study of the effect of new funding sources created by Cold War priorities on a civilian astronomical institution, in fact on two astronomical institutions.--Provided by publisher.

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