An Interview with Robert Jastrow

Robert Jastrow

GAM = George Michael

GAM: The date was 12/8/95, and we were in Los Angeles on other business. I had arranged to meet with Dr. Robert Jastrow to interview him at his home. When I arrived, he was quite distracted by certain problems with the operation of the Mt. Wilson observatory of which he was then, the director. The interview was rather like that with Edward Teller; short, and while pleasant, not detailed.

He asked me why I was interviewing him, and similar to Dr. Teller, he said, "I didn't have anything to do with the establishment of the Computer Department at Livermore. That was Sid's job. I don't remember much anyway."

Here is a summary of his added remarks. "I had been working with Herb York on the exploration of some nuclear designs. We had started in Berkeley in 1951 before the establishment of the Livermore Site. My only connection with computers was that we did go once to New York City to use some sort of IBM or UNIVAC computers, (I don't remember which) but this wasn't connected with the computer procurement for the Lab.

"About the only connection I might have had with the Lab's Computer efforts was that I seem to recall that I hired Tom Wilder as a programmer. I left shortly thereafter, I think, before the end of 1953."