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Oral History
Thomas Caughey Oral History Interview with Carol Buge

Resource available online.

ABSTRACT: Interview in two sessions in 1987 by Carol Bugé with Thomas Kirk Caughey, Professor of Applied Mechanics and Caltech alumnus (PhD, 1954). Caughey was born and educated in Scotland (bachelor's degree, University of Glasgow, 1948.) Comes to the U.S. with Fulbright to Cornell, where he completes his master's degree in mechanical engineering in 1952. He then earns his PhD at Caltech in 1954. He recalls Caltech's engineering and physics faculty in the 1950s: H. Frederic Bohnenblust, Arthur Erdelyi, Richard P. Feynman, Tsien Hsue-shen. Begins teaching at Caltech in 1955; recalls Caltech's Engineering Division under Frederick Lindvall; other engineers and physicists; compares engineering to other disciplines.

Return to Cornell and earlier period: outstanding Cornell professors Feynman, Hans Bethe, Barney Rosser, Ed Gunder, Harry Conway; recalls grad student Ross Evan Iwanowski. Problems of physics degree program at Cornell. Professors Gray and Bernard Hague at Glasgow University. Comparison between American and European educational systems.

His research in dynamics. Earthquake research at Caltech: George Housner and Donald Hudson. Discusses physics and engineering entering a decade of decline; coming fields of genetic engineering, cognitive science and computing, neural networks, and artificial intelligence. Anecdotes about Fritz Zwicky and Charles Richter. Comments on coeducation at Caltech. Caltech personalities: Robert Millikan in his late years; Paul Epstein; Edward Simmons, Richard Gerke; William A. Fowler; further on Zwicky, Hudson; engineers Donald Clark, Alfred Ingersoll; early memories of Earnest Watson. Views on Caltech's future.

ID: 1992-00019
Caughey, Thomas Kirk (T. K.) (Applied Mathematician, Mechanical Engineer)

Creation Mar. 25, 1987 through Apr. 2, 1987

MEDIUM: Paper; FORMAT: Book; LENGTH: 42 pages; QUANTITY: 1

Topics: Engineering, Mechanical engineering

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