Broadcast 2731 Dr. Joe Bassi

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Guest:  Dr. Joe Bassi;  Topics: How Boulder, CO became a world Center for Space and Atmospheric Science.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See

We welcomed Dr. Joe Bassi to the program to discuss Dr. Bassi's new book, "A Scientific Peak: How Boulder Became a World Center for Space and Atmospheric Science.  During the first segment of our 90 minute discussion, Dr. Bassi started us off on the early history dating back to the late 30's and early 40's that grew into what is today referred to as Astro Boulder.  Dr. Bassi, an historian, took us through this early history, the people involved, their personalities, and much more leading up to Boulder being a world center for both space and atmospheric science.  He talked about the early relationship with Harvard University & the divorce, plus the development of the Boulder sun-Earth connection which is very strong even today.  Joe told us great stories about the early Boulder area pioneers such as Donald Menzel with the chromograph, his relationship to Leadville and Climax, CO and the Climax Observatory. Joe then introduced us to Walt Roberts who played a pivotal role in the emergence of Boulder as the world center for space and atmospheric sciences.  Don't miss Joe's stories about these people, the institutions, and the people behind the personalities.

Listeners asked several email questions.  Sara in Seattle wanted to know if the area's population knew how Boulder was transforming and if they were supportive of it.  As you will hear, they were aware, they supported it and they even raised money to buy land to give to the government for facility development in the area.  Joe explained the program behind this which took the shape as Prosperity Insurance..  If you buy his book, you can see the photos of the posters and promotional material for the Prosperity Insurance program. 

Peter emailed in wanting to know about the history of space weather in the area and another listener asked about the architect I.M. Pei who designed the NCAR building (National Center of Atmospheric Research).  Next, Joe told us about the Blue Line which refers to no construction being allowed in Boulder to go over 5800 feet above sea level once NCAR was built.  We also talked about the "wanted poster" for Walt Roberts and the coded prisoner number in the photo.  Joe talked about the circumstances behind the wanted poster publicity.  During this segment and the next, Joe talked about the necessity for scientists to do their own fund raising during this time line.

In the second segment, we talked about the expanding space industry in the Boulder vicinity plus the growth of the environmental industry.  Joe said this was a logical out growth of the sun-Earth connection spoken about earlier.  Joe also spoke about Colorado Springs and how it grew and developed as a military town.  

One story Joe told us was the one the showed that Boulder almost did not happen.  Listen to the story about how White Sands and vicinity almost got the nod over Boulder. Were it not for Roberts refusing to go to New Mexico, Boulder might not have grown into the world center it is today. 

Doug posted a cartoon regarding a medicine ball on the blog in response to comments I made near the end of the first segment about a medicine ball.  He later asked about Dr. Zubrin and Boulder becoming a home for so many space activities.  Joe was then asked about a Roberts legacy.  He said there was a hiking trail named after him and a plaque on the NCAR building but otherwise Roberts is all but forgotten today. 

Later in this segment, Todd emailed in to inquire about the acceptance of Boulder as a world city by the scientific community.  In his response, Joe said Boulder grew to Astro Boulder is less than 15 years!  Next, Joe talked about being faculty at the Embry-Riddle Worldwide Campus. 

I asked Joe what surprised him the most in his research.  In response, he talked about how much Roberts had to do and handle before Sputnik.  Don't miss what Dr. Bassi said in response to my question. Before the program ended, I asked Joe about some of the similarities in the way Boulder developed and S. California, including the Pasadena area, developed for space and aviation.  Joe talked about the similarities and the differences.  Again, don't miss what Joe had to say on this subject. 

Please post your comments/questions in the comments section for this archived show on TSS website.  You can reach Dr. Bassi through me.




How Boulder Became a World Center for Space & Atmospheric Science

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05 Jul 2016 Dr. Joe Bassi
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