Dr. David H. DeVorkin

David Hyam DeVorkin is senior curator, history of astronomy and the space sciences at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. He has been a curator since January 1981. From 1987 through 1991 he held the concurrent position of chair of the Advisory Committee to the Smithsonian Videohistory Program, and spent the summer and fall of 1991 as a visiting member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Major research interests are in the origins and development of modern astrophysics during the 20th Century; and the origins of the space sciences. He specializes in the history of space astronomy and in the government and military patronage of science in the post-WWII era. He has published a major biography of the Princeton astronomer Henry Norris Russell that has been critically acclaimed, and has curated two major exhibitions at the NASM as well as several smaller ones. He is responsible for collecting astronomical, solar, geophysical and related instrumentation for the Smithsonian, concentrating on the 20th Century. DeVorkin has authored over 120 scholarly papers and has authored, edited or compiled eleven published monographs in the history of, and education in, astronomy and the space sciences. His works have appeared in the Journal for the History of Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, Isis, Scientific American, Minerva, Science, Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, Physics Today, and elsewhere. He has been very active in the American Astronomical Society’s Historical Astronomy Division, and is interested in improving world-wide appreciation for the importance of astronomy and its history through the preservation of its heritage: material, social and intellectual. DeVorkin has been an active organizer of symposia and seminar series throughout his career, starting in 1977 with an NAS symposium on the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram in honor of the 100th birthday of Henry Norris Russell, the bi-annual History of Astronomy Workshops at Notre Dame over the past 20 years, the Dialogues Conference “What About Increase?” at the Smithsonian Institution in the mid 1990s, and most recently “Making Science Global” and “The Hubble Legacy” at the Smithsonian. Before coming to the Smithsonian in late 1980 he taught astronomy and the earth sciences at Central Connecticut State College in the 1970s and in 1977 became consultant research associate at the American Institute of Physics Center for History of Physics and Niels Bohr Library, where he learned the art of oral history under Spencer Weart and Joan Warnow and dabbled in archival matters relating to the preservation of the historical records of the American astronomical community. He holds the PhD in the history of astronomy from the University of Leicester (1978); a Master of Philosophy in Astronomy from Yale (1970); an MS in Astronomy from San Diego State College (1968) and a BS in Astronomy/Physics from UCLA (1966).

Broadcast 1527 (Special Edition)

Guest: Dr. David H. DeVorkin. Topics: Astronomy and the Smithsonian Institution. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. We welcomed Dr. David DeVorkin to the program. Dr. DeVorkin is the Senior Curator, Division of Space History at the National Air and Space Museum which is part of the Smithsonian Institution.

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