Fred Lawrence Whipple Papers,
circa 1927-1983

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 7431
Creators:
Whipple, Fred L. (Fred Lawrence), 1906-2004
Dates:
circa 1927-1983
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
23.5 cu. ft. (23 record storage boxes) (1 document box)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Introduction
Introduction
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
The papers of Fred Lawrence Whipple document his astronomical research; his professional work in the field of astronomy; his career as director of the SAO; and, to a lesser extent, his activities as a Harvard University faculty member. They include a large file of correspondence with professional colleagues, amateur astronomers, SAO staff scientists, Smithsonian Institution officials, scientific societies and professional groups, government agencies, and Harvard University staff and officials. The papers concern Whipple's research interests, scientific publications, and editorial work; SAO research projects, particularly the Satellite Tracking Program, Project Celescope, the Radio Meteor Project, and the Meteorite Photography and Recovery Project; Whipple's work for professional organizations and government agencies and committees including the International Astronomical Union, the Committee on Space Research, the Committee on Space and Astronautics of the United States House of Representatives, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Science Foundation; SAO relations with the Smithsonian Institution; and his activities at Harvard University and the Harvard College Observatory. Also included are college papers, notes, and a copy of his Ph.D. dissertation; manuscripts of articles, lectures, radio talks, reviews, and notes from his research; research notes on comets; correspondence, notes, reports, minutes and related materials from Whipple's work with professional groups and committees; files documenting the development of the MMT at Mount Hopkins, Arizona; and a set of Whipple's publications. Researchers should also consult Record Unit 9520, Fred Lawrence Whipple Interviews, 1976.

Historical Note
Historical Note
Fred Lawrence Whipple (1906- ), an astronomer, received his B.A. degree from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1927, and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1931. In 1932, he joined the staff of Harvard University as an instructor of astronomy. By 1950, Whipple had received the title of professor and chairman of the Department of Astronomy at Harvard. Whipple was appointed director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) when it moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1955. Since his retirement in 1973, Whipple has continued his research as a senior scientist at SAO.
During his tenure as director, Whipple oversaw SAO research programs in stellar interiors, the upper atmosphere, meteorites, celestial mechanics, and geodesy studies. Major SAO projects under his direction included the Satellite Tracking Program, Project Celescope, the Radio Meteor Project, and the Meteorite Photography and Recovery Project, also known as the Prairie Network. In the late 1960s, Whipple selected Mount Hopkins, Arizona, as the site of a new SAO astronomical facility. Renamed the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in 1981, the facility houses the Multiple-Mirror Telescope (MMT), an innovative, low-cost telescope planned by Whipple and two colleagues.
Whipple is internationally recognized for his research on the moon, meteors, and comets. He has conducted pioneering research in photographically measuring the speeds and decelerations of meteors, computing the orbits of comets and asteroids, and describing the structure of comets. He is the author of more than 150 scientific books and papers, has served as editor of several publications, and has been a member and officer in numerous professional organizations. In 1975, the minor planet no. 1940 was named "Whipple" in recognition of his contributions to astronomy.

Notes
Personal Papers

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7431, Fred Lawrence Whipple Papers

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Whipple, Fred L. (Fred Lawrence), 1906-2004 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Multiple Mirror Telescope Observatory Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harvard University Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Satellite Tracking Program Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Project Celescope Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Radio Meteor Project (Harvard College Observatory) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Meteorite Photography and Recovery Project Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
International Astronomical Union Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
COSPAR Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Congress. House. Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Science Foundation (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harvard College Observatory Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mt. Hopkins Observatory Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of California, Los Angeles Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of California, Berkeley Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Asteroids Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Comets Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Astrophysics Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Astronomy Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Astronomers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Astrophysicists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Meteors Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moon Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Washington, D.C.
Contact us at osiaref@si.edu