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Achieving the Rare


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  • Description
  • About the Author
  • Robert F Christy was a legendary physicist, one of the key players in some of the most dramatic events of the 20th century. He was a student of Oppenheimer, who called him “one of the best in the world.” He was a crucial member of Fermi's team when they first unleashed the unheard-of energies of nuclear power, creating the world's first nuclear reactor on December 2, 1942.

    On the Manhattan Project he was the key physicist in the successful test of the world's first atomic bomb, the “Christy Gadget”, at Alamogordo on July 16, 1945. Almost immediately he turned his talents to promoting the peaceful uses of atomic energy. He successfully opposed atmospheric testing of atomic bombs and fought nuclear proliferation, a campaign that eventually led to the SALT talks with the Soviet Union. His favorite subject was astrophysics where he made fundamental contributions to the understanding of Cepheids, variable stars that are crucial distance indicators in the universe.

    Robert was equally fascinating as a man. In his mid-50's he became irresistably attracted to an astrophysicist, but they were a continent and a generation apart. Near his 60's they started a happy and fulfilling life together. He remained vigorous both mentally and physically into his 90's: he was still galloping his horse at age 93.
    Robert's story is one of overcoming obstacles, of hope, and of fulfillment.

  • I-Juliana Christy was born in the eastern part of Germany during World War II. Her mother immigrated to Canada with her three young daughters in 1955 when Juliana was 13 years old. Juliana studied physics, astronomy, and astrophysics at the University of Toronto, obtaining a PhD in astrophysics in 1968. She first encountered Prof. Robert Christy at an international astrophysics meeting in Toronto at this time.

    Juliana was awarded a NATO Fellowship and worked in Germany as a post-doctoral research fellow with Prof. Rudolf Kippenhahn at the University of Göttingen and at the Heisenberg–Biermann Max–Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics in Munich. In 1970 she met Prof. Robert Christy again at international conferences in England and Portugal. Juliana won a Senior von Humboldt Award in 1971, and at the end of that year came to the US to work with Prof. William A Fowler at Caltech as a postdoctoral fellow in nuclear astrophysics. Since then Juliana has continued her research in astrophysics as a Caltech faculty member.

ISBN: 9789814460248
Cover Type: Softcover
Page Count: 368
Year Published: 2013