Comments from Inspec's 40th Anniversary authors

Professor Claude Aime

Dept. Astrophysique, Université Nice Sophia-Antipolis

I started to work on interstellar polarization with Jean Lefevre, at the Nice Observatory as a student in 1968 for 3 years. It took me a few years to get a position at the Nice University where I was an assistant of Professor François Roddier. I shifted from interstellar polarization to solar studies, in particular on the solar granulation with Antoine Labeyrie's speckle techniques.

I still work on the Sun from time to time but my main field of interest is now exoplanets. I develop coronagraphs for that. I am now professor at Nice University, a few years from retirement. I enjoyed the time I spent doing research in astronomy.

Nigel Corlett, FIET

My first paper was published in English Mechanics for the 26th of April 1940, “Repairs to a Model Mill Engine”. Not a scientific paper but a technical one nevertheless!

In this and similar journals of those days it was typical to use a nom de plume, and I used “Junior” for this article. One of the most inspirational authors in Model Engineer before the war was LBSC, an ex railway man who published designs and detailed methods on the building of small gauge steam locomotives.

The first scientific paper which I have a record for is “The consistency of setting of a machine tool handwheel”, published in 1960 in Applied Statistics, IX, 2, pp92-102. From then on many papers were published on machine design. on human performance using manufacturing machinery, the efficient organisation for performance in manufacture, and Occupational Ergonomics in general. The latest are “Sitting as a Hazard”, published in Safety Science last year, and two which are in press with two other scientific journals.

Ken Pounds

Emeritus Professor of Space Physics, University of Leicester

Congratulations on your 40th anniversary.

We are sensitive about such milestones at present since 2010 will be the 50th anniversary of the Space Research Group at Leicester University. That was the year I transferred from UCL as a fresh PhD to help start a research effort in space astronomy. Initially we studied the Sun using the Skylark rocket and small satellites, later moving into the new field of Cosmic X-ray Astronomy, in which I am pleased to be still working, some 300 publications later.

We had no female scientific colleagues at that time, but now have many. Indeed a majority of our young researchers are now women.

Professor Charles Townes

Physics Department, University of California Berkeley

I and my colleagues published a paper on discovery of interstellar water in 1969. We had already published the discovery of interstellar ammonia in 1968, the first complex molecule found in outer space. Now we know that in our galaxy there are clouds containing many different complex molecules. Furthermore some of them, including water, are masing - that is, amplifying their radiation. And I have also published astronomical findings in 2008 and 2009.

Dr Sverre Aarseth

Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge

You are correct in identifying me as an author in 1969.

Although retired I am working 6 days a week on the same problem I started in 1961 during my graduate studies. This is the celebrated N-body problem, highly appropriate for a Cambridge scientist. As you will know, there has been a revolution in computing and with my collaborators we have the best N-body code in the world. It can be freely downloaded on my website.

You may be interested to hear I retired as a post-doc, never having had a permanent position. As a mountaineer this suits my style.

I have been privileged to have my office at the Institute of Astronomy, founded in 1967 by Fred Hoyle who also was my supervisor.

Dr William Liller

Astronomer and nova discoverer

My goodness: a Ruby Author! Thank you and the powers that be at Inspec! That's an honour I'll very much cherish.

You asked for other candidates. Well, I checked a recent (February 2009) listing in the AAS. Newsletter and there are well over a hundred astronomers who have been members for more than 53 years. I'd guess that several dozen have been publishing for more than 40 years. (I joined in 1948; my undergraduate thesis was published as a "technical report" the following year.)

I'm concentrating on the Magellanic Clouds now and have bagged two novae in the LMC this year -- so far.