a story lives forever
Register
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Register
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please untick here if you DO NOT wish us to contact you about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.

Loading the player... If you can't see this video please get the Flash Player.

NEXT STORY

My father's scientific influence on me

RELATED STORIES

Trying to convince Oppenheimer that the...
Freeman Dyson
Werner Heisenberg and the theory of high...
Bernard Lovell
Early experiences with physics
Michael Atiyah
Beginning physics at Frankfurt University
Hans Bethe Scientist
Views Duration
1. Beginning physics at Frankfurt University 5346 01:48
2. My father's scientific influence on me 1727 02:13
3. Choosing to do theoretical physics 1248 00:59
4. 1926: a fortunate time to study with Arnold Sommerfeld 1458 01:28
5. Albrecht Unsöld's work on stars 899 01:42
6. Fritz Kirchner's work on the charge of the electron 758 01:52
7. Physics journals at the time and Wilhelm Wien 727 02:48
8. The courses I took at Munich 996 02:14
9. My ideas in wave diffraction theory 663 03:11
10. My thesis on electron diffraction in crystals 679 01:51
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

I was born on the 2nd of July, 1906. I was born in Strasbourg, but I grew up in Frankfurt. I came from an academic family. My father was Professor of Physiology at the University of Frankfurt. As a boy I was interested in numbers and mathematics but I wanted to study something which was closer to nature, and therefore I began studying physics. I began my studies in Frankfurt at the university in the physics department.

In what year?

That was in 1924. I came to the attention of Doctor Meissner who was a spectroscopist and was the equivalent of a Reader in the physics department. Meissner told me that it was useless for me to take my Doctors degree in Frankfurt and that instead I should go to Munich to study with Arnold Sommerfeld. Sommerfeld had been the teacher of Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Paul Ewald, and a number of other people of that quality, and he had the most extensive school of theoretical physics in Germany.

The late German-American physicist Hans Bethe once described himself as the H-bomb's midwife. He left Nazi Germany in 1933, after which he helped develop the first atomic bomb, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967 for his contribution to the theory of nuclear reactions, advocated tighter controls over nuclear weapons and campaigned vigorously for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Listeners: Sam Schweber

Silvan Sam Schweber is the Koret Professor of the History of Ideas and Professor of Physics at Brandeis University, and a Faculty Associate in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. He is the author of a history of the development of quantum electro mechanics, "QED and the men who made it", and has recently completed a biography of Hans Bethe and the history of nuclear weapons development, "In the Shadow of the Bomb: Oppenheimer, Bethe, and the Moral Responsibility of the Scientist" (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Tags: Strasbourg, Frankfurt, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Ma, University of Frankfurt, Karl Meissner, Arnold Sommerfeld, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Paul Ewald

Duration: 1 minute, 49 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008