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Westphal, James A. (Planetary Scientist)



  • Existence: 1930 - 2004


Background: Caltech Professor of Planetary Science 1971-1998 (Emeritus 1998-); Caltech Senior Research Fellow 1966-1971.


Description: James A. Westphal was born in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1930. He was raised partly in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Little Rock, Arkansas. He received his BS in physics from the University of Tulsa in 1954. After working for seven years in geophysical research for oil companies, he came to Caltech, first as an engineer, then as a research fellow. He was promoted to professorial rank in 1971. At Caltech, Westphal continued to work on projects with the Division of Geological and Planetary Science, as well as in astronomy. In 1977 he was selected to build the Wide Field Planetary Camera for NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, a project which took 17 years. In recent years he has worked mainly in planetary and galactic astronomy in the infrared and visible wavelengths with ground-based telescopes as well as the Hubble Space Telescope.


Collection Notes: Oral History 1998. A 199-page account, with interviewer Shirley K. Cohen, covers biographical and career matters, including the story of the Wide Field Planetary Camera for the Hubble Space Telescope.

Found in 15 Collections and/or Records:

Airtalk: The Caltech Edition

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 1992-00137

Airtalk: The Caltech Edition

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 1992-00136

AirTalk with James Westphal, 1991-12-18

Scope and Contents From the Collection: The collection is divided according to the recording type: audio and video then ordered chronologically. Each recording includes an interview with either Caltech faculty, administrators, staff, students, alumni, JPL scientists or administrators. It also includes features such as Caltech Almanac -a detailed look at some of the many interesting people, places and discoveries in Caltech’s history-, Caltech Calendar -a listing of upcoming public events on campus- and Caltech in the News....
Dates: 1991-12-18

AirTalk with James Westphal

 Digital Record
Identifier: 2018-02-01-000021

Early Results From The Hubble Telescope

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 1991-00190

James A. Westphal

 File — Box Z39: Series II
Identifier: Z39
Scope and Contents

Two folders; folder 2 includes information on patents.

Dates: 19th century to present

James A. Westphal Oral History Interview with Shirley Cohen [sound recording], 1998-07-08 - 1998-07-29

Scope and Contents An interview in six sessions in 1998 with James A. Westphal, engineer and instrument designer who became research associate and later professor of planetary science at Caltech (1961-2004); and principal investigator for the Hubble Space Telescope's original Wide Field and Planetary Camera (WFPC 1, 1977-1994). He was born in 1930 in Dubuque, Iowa, to parents of German ancestry and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Little Rock, Arkansas. Receives BS in physics from the University of Tulsa in 1954...
Dates: 1998-07-08 - 1998-07-29

Space Telescope:What Will We See

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 1986-00686

Additional filters:

Unprocessed Material 10
Archival Object 4
Digital Record 1
Astronomy 6
Planetary Science 4
AirTalk 3
Oral History 3
Geology 2