1932

Abstract

My training in many areas of research in theoretical physics derived from what I learned from the “eagles” I flew with. Let me enumerate them. First of all, when the Navy sent me to the University of Wisconsin in January 1944 to become an electrical engineering officer, I met Gregory Breit, who practically adopted me as a son. I learned from him to drag a problem bleeding through the street until it cried for help and gave up. My political indiscretions during my young life forced me to flee to England from Joe McCarthy, where I ended up in the inspiring theory group of Rudi Peierls. Peierls taught us to drive immediately to fundamentals. When I began collaborating with Hans Bethe, the first thing I learned was why he had never had long-term collaborators. I had to wait until he was more than 70 years old in order to have any chance of keeping up with him. He worked like a bulldozer, heading directly for the light at the end of the tunnel. Most important is confidence. He starts each day with a pile of white paper in the upper left-hand corner of his desk and fills it with calculations at a more or less even rate, although he's happy to stop for lunch. I found this to be an amazingly effective procedure to imitate. From my training with Rudi Peierls, his closest friend, I was well prepared to work with Hans. The twenty-odd years I've collaborated with him have been exciting and productive.

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2001-12-01
2024-06-16
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