Introduction

I began writing this mini-history at the request of Dr. Steve Shawl, who is now the senior astronomer at Kansas University. The intention was to compile a short summary of the activities of the K.U. Astronomy Department and its students during the mid-twentieth century, from about 1935 when Dr. Storer joined the faculty, through World War II, and from 1950 through 1967, when I was also a member of the faculty. I left K.U. in late 1967 to join the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico, where I retired in 1989. It appeared at first sight a simple enough task to write a short mini-history, but it soon became apparent that I required more data than my memory could alone provide; after all, I'm 79 years old, and it has been thirty-one years since I taught my last class at K.U. But on second thought, there were modern techniques that I might utilize, namely, e-mail and the internet, both accessible via my computer. So, I compiled a name list of fifteen or so former graduate students, and sent them e-mail messages at their addresses given, for the most part, in the 1997 Membership Directory of the American Astronomical Society. The response was very encouraging; so much so, that I felt obligated to expand the original mini-history into a more substantial document describing some further adventures of these same students after they left K.U. Writing such a quasi-historical document is quite different from putting together the kind of technical paper with which I was familiar, and I often struggled with the wording. Furthermore I could foresee that problems of information accuracy were going to arise that might not be readily solved; therefore, I sent to each of my respondents a short list of questions to which, fortunately, they all replied, again proving "If you want answers, go to a busy person." It was then possible for me to write out several paragraphs for each former student comprised of a sort of melding of his information with my own notes and memories. Often I was able to quote directly from him. In this fashion I was able to proceed without worrying too much about accuracy, although the dates of events still gave some trouble.

The late Dr. Storer did not keep a diary or journal to which I had access, but his daughter, Esther, provided me some information about his early education and that of his wife, Mary. I also wish to thank Dr. Maxwell T. Sandford for reading a first version of this mini-history and making useful comments. The resulting document is rather technical in its "jargon" sometimes, but I couldn't avoid this, and so I apologize in advance to the friendly reader.