Knowing that Japan had several world-class spectroscopists, I sent the frequency coverage of the
Parkes Radiotelescope receivers to Dr Masaki
Morimoto and asked him to consult with them. I was specifically interested in transitions of
methylamine, that fell within the bandwidth of our receivers. Methylamine is the terminal product
of the hydrogenation series based on the cyanide radical, hydrogen cyanide and methanimine,
interstellar species already discovered.
During a brief visit to Australia, Masaki and I decided to search for
the 2-1 transition of methylamine after consultations he had with Dr
Kojiro Takagi of Toyama University. In March 1974 I detected the
transition we were interested in during an observing period I had at
Parkes. The detection was possible because the two states of the
molecule, 202 and 110, are inverted.
When I communicated our discovery to Masaki, he informed me that members
of the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory detected two mm-wave transitions of
methylamine using the Mitaka 6m radiotelescope and the 11m
radiotelescope. After many considerations, we decided that they publish
their detections in a separate paper. Naturally I insisted that K
Takagi who was at the time at Rice University, Houston, Texas be my
co-author together with M Morimoto and the two papers appeared back to
back in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.