Scope and Content of Collection
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175
Title: Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences Records
University of California, San Diego. Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences
Wolfe, Arthur M.
Burbidge, E. Margaret
Peterson, L. E. (Laurence E.)
Identifier/Call Number: RSS 2104
84 Linear feet
(84 record cartons)
Date (inclusive): 1954-1996
Abstract: The records of the UCSD Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS) include materials related to the administrative
functions, research proposals, and projects of CASS, as well as the records of the High Energy Astronomy Group (HEAG).
Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences Records, RSS 2104. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
The UCSD Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS) is an organized research unit that was founded in 1979 to provide
scientific direction for the interrelated departments of Physics, Chemistry, and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
(EECS) at UCSD. Designed to link scientists and UCSD scientific departments, it provides a unified management structure for
handling federally funded space research projects, and strengthened the quality of space science education and research at
UCSD. CASS has given administrative support to such projects as the Faint Object Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope,
the Gamma-Ray Spectrometers on Apollo missions 15 and 16, and to the High Energy Astrophysics Group (HEAG).
As an interdisciplinary research unit, CASS makes collaboration possible between the disciplines of astronomy, astrophysics,
and space sciences, and all of the areas of specialization within those disciplines. CASS provides administrative support
for research groups through program coordination, contract and grant administration, and resource allocation. These research
groups include faculty, research staff, and graduate students. Examples of CASS research groups include Observational Cosmology,
Gravitation Astrophysics, High Energy Astronomy, and Plasma Astrophysics.
Founding administrators hoped the new entity would lead to interdisciplinary opportunities in scientific inquiry and in educational
curricula and platforms available to UCSD graduate students. The heightened administrative capability that CASS could provide
facilitated the participation in, and sometimes leadership of, large research projects such as the Faint Object Spectrograph
on the Hubble Space Telescope, the Long Wavelength Spectrometer on the Keck Telescope, and the Burst and Transient Source
Experiment on the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory.
CASS is managed by a single Director and at least one Associate Director. The director reports to the Office of Research Affairs,
and specifically to the Vice Chancellor of Research (VCR) and the Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs (SVCAA). The
founding director of CASS was Dr. Margaret Burbidge (1979-1988), followed by Dr. Laurence Peterson (1988-1997), Dr. Arthur
M. Wolfe (1997-2007), and Dr. George Fuller (2007-present). CASS derives its funding and activities from contracts and research
grants. The research groups share members and are fluid in their aggregation of personnel and resources, which change according
to project priority, funding, and staff availability. Members of CASS serve on various Center committees including the Executive
and Policy Committee, the Education Committee, and the Computing Ad Hoc Committee.
High Energy Astronomy Group
A large portion of the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences Records collection is made up of the records of the High
Energy Astronomy Group (HEAG), an interdisciplinary research collaboration committed to the study of x-ray and gamma-ray phenomena
of solar, galactic, stellar, and planetary origin. Notable members of the group have included Robert Farnsworth, Duane Gruber,
Hugh Hudson, Richard Lingenfelter, James Matteson, Michael Pelling, Laurence Peterson, and Richard Rothschild.
HEAG was created in 1962 with the arrival of Laurence Peterson at UCSD. Peterson had been working on the Orbiting Solar Observatory
1 (OSO-1) mission as a research assistant at the University of Minnesota, and continued his involvement with the project when
he accepted the position of assistant professor of physics at UCSD. His work on OSO-1, and his work in high energy astrophysics,
attracted the interest and input of UCSD scientists. In 1961, just prior to his move to California, Peterson submitted a proposal
to NASA through UCSD with the knowledge that he would soon be moving his work to the university, and with the desire to develop
a research program there. The proposal was accepted, and HEAG was created.
The scientific ballooning experiments associated with the planning and development of the OSO missions connected the scientific
faculty of the two universities and began a long and fruitful development of x-ray and gamma-ray detectors. The first OSO
was launched on March 7, 1962, and the University of Minnesota Gamma-Ray Experiment onboard returned data on low energy gamma-radiation
in space. The data includes the participation of researchers and technical support at both institutions, although the prime
analysis was accomplished at UCSD. Concurrently, the associated UCSD research staff and graduate students of HEAG were planning
experiments for several other missions.
The early 1960s were a time of preparation for the Apollo missions, the Octahedral Research Satellite, the Orbiting Solar
Observatories, and other future missions to study solar and cosmic x-ray and gamma-ray phenomena. X-ray and gamma-ray detectors
developed by HEAG flew on many of these early missions, providing valuable information on the near-earth radiation environment
and on high energy processes on the sun and in the galaxy. Scientific balloons were launched throughout this period to test
equipment and to gather exploratory data on solar and on various galactic objects.
The late 1960s brought more projects, and the HEAG began work on instruments for solar observatories and for High Energy Astrophysical
Observatories. The high energy monitoring instruments developed for these missions provided data leading to a better understanding
of the high energy sky and the processes in stars and stellar objects that produce x-rays and gamma-rays. As the number and
frequency of missions increased, the group developed more advanced techniques. Instruments for NASA missions, such as the
Solar Maximum Mission (SMM), and experiments for the Space Shuttle were studied in the 1970s. SMM was launched in 1980, and
studied high energy phenomena on the sun. Instruments for planetary missions such as Mariner 10 and Voyager were also studied
In 1979, the UCSD Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS) was founded, and HEAG officially became an active branch
of this larger organization. Information on active galaxies, gamma-ray bursts, pulsars, white dwarfs, neutron stars, and supernovae
has been provided by various high energy instruments developed by CASS and HEAG in co-operation with NASA, the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, and other space research organizations. The Gamma-Ray Observatories Gamma-Ray Spectroscopy Experiment (GRSE),
part of NASA's Great Observatories Program, and the Burst and Transient Source Experiment (BATSE) were planned and developed
in the 1980s. Although the GRSE was not selected for flight, the BATSE was launched on the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory in
April 1991, and has been instrumental in furthering our understanding of the location, nature and source of gamma-ray bursts.
The 1980s also yielded an extensive development and balloon test program to accomplish high resolution gamma-ray spectroscopy,
and several studies were made to implement these detection systems on space missions. During the 1990s, the group continued
to study the high energy sky with the High Energy X-Ray Timing Experiment on the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer (HEXTE), launched
on December 30, 1995. The group was also involved with the Faint Object Spectrograph (FOS) on the Hubble Space Telescope,
launched in 1989. The FOS has played an important role in the research on black holes and distant galaxies.
Scope and Content of Collection
The records of the UCSD Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences are organized into two sections: 1) Center for Astrophysics
and Space Sciences (CASS) records, and 2) High Energy Astronomy Group (HEAG) records.
The first section, the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS) records, includes materials related to the administrative
functions, research proposals, and projects of CASS. These records document the establishment and development of the Center,
and includes the founding materials and bylaws of CASS, correspondence from the director's office, committee meeting minutes
and agendas, and research projects.
Arranged in four series: 1) GENERAL RECORDS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) COMMITTEES AND MEETINGS, and 4) RESEARCH PROJECTS AND PROPOSALS.
The second section, the High Energy Astronomy Group (HEAG) records, include the files and correspondence of HEAG members,
as well as HEAG research files, project files, conference papers, and notes. The extensive research and project files document
the scientific research and creation of the instruments used on several prominent space missions. This section also contains
records documenting a number of NASA missions for which HEAG submitted proposals, but were not chosen. In 1998, the HEAG records
were separated from Laurence Peterson's faculty papers and treated as an individual collection. In 2016, it was decided to
integrate these records into the CASS collection.
Arranged in 16 series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) APOLLO MISSIONS, 3) BURST AND TRANSIENT SOURCE EXPERIMENT (BATSE), 4) GAMMA-RAY
SPECTROSCOPY EXPERIMENT (GRSE), 5) HIGH ENERGY X-RAY TIMING EXPERIMENT (HEXTE), 6) HIGH ENERGY ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY 1
(HEAO-1), 7) HIGH ENERGY ASTRONOMICAL OBERSVATORY 3 (HEAO-3), 8) LUNAR X-RADIATION AND GAMMA-RADIATION, 9) OCTAHEDRAL RESEARCH
SATELLITE 3 (ORS-3), 10) ORBITING SOLAR OBSERVATORY-1 (S-16), 11) ORBITING SOLAR OBSERVATORY-3 (S-57), 12) ORBITING SOLAR
OBSERVATORY-7 (OSO-7), 13) SCIENTIFIC BALLOONING, 14) SPACE SHUTTLE – SPACELAB, 15) MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES, and 16) ORIGINALS
OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
Laurence Peterson Papers (MSS 73)
Richard Lingenfelter Papers (MSS 425)
Geoffrey Burbidge Papers (MSS 735)
Margaret Burbidge Papers (MSS 736)
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. ALLOW ONE WEEK FOR RETRIEVAL OF MATERIALS.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Orbiting astronomical observatories
High Energy Astronomy Observatories
Gamma ray astronomy
University of California, San Diego. Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences -- Archives
University of California, San Diego. Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences. High Energy Astronomy Group -- Archives