1932

Abstract

Here you will find facts about and the opinions of an American astrophysicist who practiced in the second half of the twentieth century. The title explains why I did it. I invented some new ideas, I applied them to some astro objects, I computed things with pen and paper; I ended up thinking that I had succeeded in pushing the field ahead a bit.

Attracted by Newtonian theory, I did some experiments too. I love hydrodynamics and magnetic fields in space. The math is beautiful, and the objects are stupendous in their brilliant displays. For some reason I meditated on gases between the stars, their pressures and motions. I left the stars to others, believing that their physics was under control.

As I grew older, I had to decide whether to direct others rather than just myself and ended up at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics doing both. It was thrilling because I had never had management experience and was flying by the seat of my pants, as I guess other astrodirectors do. In the process, I advised the US government on future directions in astronomy, chairing a number of committees. It is astonishing that the government is interested in astronomy, and it is exciting to interact with the people in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the Congress, and the Executive branch who have dedicated their lives to enable the expansion of our knowledge of astronomy.

Along the way I studied more abstract concepts in physics, including magnetic helicity and its relation to the winding numbers of nonabelian particle physics. These are topological concepts that I should have learned in grad school but did not.

This review has two parts. The first part is for scientists, and covers my life in chronological order. The second part is for laymen who are interested in science. It gives a flavor of my scientific work with no math and a minimum of jargon.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-astro-081913-040050
2014-08-18
2024-06-16
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/deliver/fulltext/astro/52/1/annurev-astro-081913-040050.html?itemId=/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-astro-081913-040050&mimeType=html&fmt=ahah

Literature Cited

  1. Alfvén H. 1950. Cosmical Electrodynamics Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press [Google Scholar]
  2. Arpigny C. 1965. Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 3:351 [Google Scholar]
  3. Berger MA, Field GB. 1984. J. Fluid Mech. 147:153 [Google Scholar]
  4. Bowyer CS, Field GB, Mack JE. 1968. Nature 217:32 [Google Scholar]
  5. Brinton C. 1938. The Anatomy of Revolution. New York: Prentice-Hall [Google Scholar]
  6. Carroll SM. 2004. Spacetime and Geometry San Francisco: Addison-Wesley [Google Scholar]
  7. Carroll SM, Field GB. 1991. Phys. Rev. D 43:3789 [Google Scholar]
  8. Carroll SM, Field GB, Jackiw R. 1990. Phys. Rev. D 41:1231 [Google Scholar]
  9. Carter B. 1979. Perfect fluid and magnetic field conservation laws in the theory of black hole accretion rings. Active Galactic Nuclei C Hazard, S Mitton 273–300 Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  10. Dicke RH, Beringer R, Vane AB. 1946. Phys. Rev. 70:340 [Google Scholar]
  11. Erickson WC. 1957. Ap. J. 123:172 [Google Scholar]
  12. Field GB. 1956. Ap. J. 124:555 [Google Scholar]
  13. Field GB. 1959. Ap. J. 129:551 [Google Scholar]
  14. Field GB. 1962. Ap. J. 135:684 [Google Scholar]
  15. Field GB. 1965. Ap. J. 142:531 [Google Scholar]
  16. Field GB, Goldsmith DW, Habing HJ. 1969. Ap. J. 158:173 [Google Scholar]
  17. Field GB. 1973. Astrophysics and relativity, Chapter 8. Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1970s, Reports of the Panels, Astronomy Survey Committee Washington, DC: Natl. Acad. Sci. [Google Scholar]
  18. Field GB. 1982. Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1980s 1 Report of the Astronomy Survey Committee. Washington, DC: Natl. Acad. [Google Scholar]
  19. Field GB. 1986. Magnetospheric Processes in Astrophysics RI Epstein, WC Feldman AIP Conf. Proc. 144324 [Google Scholar]
  20. Field GB, Blackman EG. 2002. Ap. J. 572:685 [Google Scholar]
  21. Field GB, Carroll SM. 2000. Phys. Rev. D 60:3008 [Google Scholar]
  22. Field GB, Goldsmith DW, Habing HJ. 1969. Ap. J. 155:149 [Google Scholar]
  23. Field GB, Herbig GB, Hitchcock J. 1966. A. J. 71:161 [Google Scholar]
  24. Field GB, Partridge RB. 1961. Ap. J. 134:959 [Google Scholar]
  25. Field GB, Perrenod SC. 1977. Ap. J. 215:717 [Google Scholar]
  26. Field GB, Rogers RD. 1993. Ap. J. 403:84 [Google Scholar]
  27. Field GB, Saslaw WC. 1965. Ap. J. 142:568 [Google Scholar]
  28. Field GB, Shapiro PR. 1976. Ap. J. 205:762 [Google Scholar]
  29. Field GB, Verschuur GL, Ponnamperuma C. 1978. Cosmic Evolution: An Introduction to Astronomy Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin [Google Scholar]
  30. Ginzburg VL, Zheleznyakov VV. 1959. Paris Symposium on Radio Astronomy, IAU Symp. 9 RN Bracewell, p. 574 Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  31. Greenstein JL. 1972. Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1970s. Report of the Astronomy Survey Committee. Washington, DC: Natl. Acad. [Google Scholar]
  32. Heilbron JL. 2010. Galileo Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  33. Heiles C. 1967. Ap. J. Suppl. 15:97 [Google Scholar]
  34. Herzberg G. 1950. Molecular Spectra and Molecular Structure. Vol. 1: Spectra of Diatomic Molecules. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 2nd ed.. [Google Scholar]
  35. Jeans J. 1929. The Universe Around Us Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  36. Jeans J. 1931. The Stars in Their Courses Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  37. Lilley AE, McLain EF. 1956. Ap. J. 123:172 [Google Scholar]
  38. Mathewson DS, Ford VL. 1970. MmRAS 74:139 [Google Scholar]
  39. Moffatt HK. 1969. J. Fluid Mech. 35:117 [Google Scholar]
  40. Moffatt HK. 1981. J. Fluid Mech. 106:27 [Google Scholar]
  41. Moreau JJ. 1961. C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris 252:2810 [Google Scholar]
  42. HubbleSite 2010. Starry-eyed Hubble celebrates 20 years of awe and discovery News Release Number: STScI-2010-13, April 22. http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2010/13/video/a/ [Google Scholar]
  43. NASA Solar Dyn. Obs 2013. Coronal rain on the sun. Astronomy Picture of the Day Feb. 26. http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130226.html [Google Scholar]
  44. Ni W-T. 1977. Phys. Rev. Lett. 38:301 [Google Scholar]
  45. Penzias AA, Wilson RW. 1965. Ap. J. 142:419 [Google Scholar]
  46. Penzias AA, Wilson RW. 1969. Ap. J. 156:799 [Google Scholar]
  47. Pouquet A, Frisch U, Le'orat J. 1976. J. Fluid Mech. 76:321 [Google Scholar]
  48. Purcell EM, Field GB. 1956. Ap. J. 124:542 [Google Scholar]
  49. Schmidt M. 1963. Nature 197:1040 [Google Scholar]
  50. Spitzer L Jr. 1956. Physics of Fully Ionized Gases New York: Intersci. Publ. [Google Scholar]
  51. Wang B, Field GB. 1989. Ap. J. 346:3 [Google Scholar]
  52. Weinberg S. 1972. Gravitation and Cosmology: Principles and Applications of the General Theory of Relativity New York: Wiley [Google Scholar]
  53. Weinberg S. 1995. The Quantum Theory of Fields 1 Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  54. Woltjer L. 1958. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 44:489 [Google Scholar]
  55. Wouthuysen SA. 1952. Astron. J. 57:31 [Google Scholar]
/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-astro-081913-040050
Loading
/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-astro-081913-040050
Loading

Data & Media loading...

    The , a lifelong dream of my colleague, Lyman Spitzer. Reprinted with permission; credit: NASA and M. Estacion (STScI) (see HubbleSite 2010).

    The Sun filtered through the Balmer alpha line of hydrogen showing cool gas in coronal magnetic loops raining down on the surface of the Sun. Reprinted with permission; created by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, Scientific Visualization Studio, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA (see NASA Solar Dyn. Obs. 2013).

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error