The Papers of Gerry Neugebauer

Finding aid created by California Institute of Technology staff using RecordEXPRESS
California Institute of Technology
1200 East California Blvd., Mail Code 015A-74
Pasadena, California 91125
(626) 395-2704

Descriptive Summary

Title: The Papers of Gerry Neugebauer
Dates: 1954-1998
Collection Number: 10207-MS
Creator/Collector: Knox, Kevin
Extent: 10 linear feet
Repository: California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California 91125
Abstract: The scientific notebooks, photographic slides, course notes, material from the LIGO controversy and papers from the Palomar and Keck observatories of Gerry Neugebauer (born in 1932) form the collection known as the Gerry Neugebauer Papers in the Archives of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
Language of Material: English


The collection is open for research. Researchers must apply in writing for access. Folders containing LIGO material are closed until 2015.

Publication Rights

Copyright may not have been assigned to the California Institute of Technology Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the California Institute of Technology Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

The Papers of Gerry Neugebauer. California Institute of Technology

Biography/Administrative History

Gerry Neugebauer was born in Göttingen, Germany, in 1932, the son of Otto Neugebauer. After moving to the United States he received his AB degree from Cornell University in 1954 and his PhD in physics from Caltech in 1960. He joined the Caltech faculty in 1962 as an assistant professor, becoming a full professor of physics in 1970. He served as the director of the Palomar Observatory from 1980, and he was named Howard Hughes Professor in 1985. Currently Dr. Neugebauer is the Emeritus Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Physics. Neugebauer is internationally recognized as a pioneer in infrared astronomy, and has played a leading role in infrared studies of the planets. In addition—and largely through his activities with the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IRAS)—he has led both ground- and space-based infrared studies of the stars, the Milky Way and other galaxies. Observations by him and his colleagues at Mount Wilson and Palomar observatories have revealed hundreds of new infrared sources in the sky, and afforded the first infrared view of the galactic center. He also played a major role in the design and construction of the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Among Neugebauer’s numerous awards are two NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medals (1972, 1984), the 1985 Space Science Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the 1985 Richmyer Lecture Award. He was named California Scientist of the Year for 1986 by the Californian Museum of Science and Industry, and he has been elected to the National Academy of the Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Astronomical Society.

Scope and Content of Collection

Gerry Neugebauer donated his papers to the Archives at the California Institute of Technology in April, 2002. Comprising 21 boxes and approximately ten linear feet, the collection includes early coursework, research material, technical designs and administrative correspondence and documents. The first series, Neugebauer’s astronomical notebooks, encompasses eighty per cent of the collection and covers his astronomical work from the mid nineteen-sixties to the early nineties. The subject matter is diverse, ranging from technical designs to notes from meetings. Series II also includes diverse material. Within the series are numerous documents related to the operations and maintenance of Palomar’s 60 and 200 inch telescopes, reports from the construction of the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, hundreds of photographic slides, graduate course notes and reports on the controversy concerning the construction of LIGO. OTHER COLLECTIONS There are a number of collections in the Caltech Archives related to Gerry Neugebauer and his diverse activities that researchers may wish to consult. For further material on the Palomar Observatory see also the collection of “Palomar papers”. For more information on the Keck Observatory researchers may wish to consult the “Papers of the Keck telescope,” as well as the collection of oral histories devoted to the subject. For the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project, there are, for example, the “Documents of the Drever-LIGO controversy” and the oral history of Kip Thorne, although both of these objects have restricted access. You can also consult the oral history interview with Gerry Neugebauer in the Caltech Archives (1991).

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