Gibor Basri (Finding Aid)

Gibor Basri

1951 -

Favorite Color: Forest Green

Favorite Food: Spicy Ethnic Food

Favorite Time of Year: Summer

Favorite Vacation Spot: Beaches, especially in the Caribbean

Interview Length: 213 minutes

Interview Date(s): March 9, 2011

Interview Location(s): Oakland, California


Gibor Basri begins by talking about his mother's [Phyllis Claire Basri] lineage from East African slaves brought to Jamaica. He details his father's [Saul Basri] lineage as an Iraqi Jew. Basri talks about his father's education at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts] and his mother's dancing education at Columbia University [New York]. He also describes his childhood in Fort Collins Colorado, the country of Burma and other travels as well.

Gibor Basri discusses his parents' [Saul Basri and Phyllis Claire Whyte] views on racial identity, as well as his own thoughts about his Jewish identitiy. He remembers his elementary school experience, his early interest in astronomy and science fiction books, and his high school experience in Tehran, Iran and Ceylon [later called Sri Lanka]. Basri describes his father's work in physics including a Fullbright Lectureship, which took the family abroad.

Gibor Basri begins by explaining the inadequate school system in Ceylon, and meeting science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke while living there. He then talks about returning to the U.S. to finish high school and to begin college. Basri explains how the civil rights movement and the age of space exploration influenced him in college. He recalls his experience playing in the Stanford University marching band.

Gibor Basri discusses his experience as an undergraduate at Stanford University where he graduated in 1973 with his B.S. in physics. He talks about his decision to go to graduate school at the University of Colorado, Boulder where he also met his wife, Jessica Broitman. Basri talks about the work he did on the sun and magnitic activity of stars with advisor, Jeff Linsky, and details his use of the Kitt Peak telescope in Arizona to watch the sunset and "green flash." Basri also describes his thesis topic on the chromospheres of supergiant stars.

Gibor Basri discusses, at length, the difference between astrology and astronomy, including details about how astronomers study stars. He tells a story about how he ended up on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley by way of the Space Sciences Laboratory near the campus. Basri talks about the courses that he taught at Berkeley, which included a course on the nature of time. This causes him to launch into a discussion about the philosophy and science of time, including time travel.

Gibor Basri continues a discussion about time travel and the universe before describing his involvement in the discovery of brown dwarfs using the Keck telescopes on the Hawaiian island of Mauna Kea. Basri explains his research on star formation at the University of California, Berkeley, specifically young stars called T Tauri stars. He then talks about his involvement in Project Astro, which sought to increase community and minority participation in the sciences through astronomy. Basri discusses his external funding from NSF and NASA, and ends with his participation in the Kepler Mission, which relates to the discovery of extra solar planets.

Gibor Basri discusses the definition of a planet, and briefly talks about the possibility of life on other planets. He explains his administrative positions at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as his involvement in professional organizations. Basri details his hopes and dreams for the black community concerning education and science, as he reflects on his life's accomplishments. He concludes by talking about his mother, father, wife, and son, and what they are doing today.

69 Stories (See Ordered Story Set)