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The implosion design of the plutonium atomic bomb

Hans Bethe


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"Defender of the Faith"

Philip Roth - Writer

Defender of the Faith was rowdily condemned by various Jewish establishment figures and by readers of The New Yorker who cancelled their subscriptions. It was condemned as anti-Semitic and I was denounced as a self-hating Jew, and I was stunned by this response. I didn't have any idea whatsoever that this story was going to be offensive or so offensive, and when I re-read it at the time I could see how you can misread it that way, but none the less, this was my introduction to being a writer in the real world. The New Yorker answered – in a formal letter of some kind – answered all the people who wrote to them. I got a telephone call from the B´nai B´rith Anti-Defamation League asking if they could see me. Now, I had great respect for the B´nai B´rith Anti-Defamation League, it was one of the few organisations in America at that time that was fighting bigotry and discrimination. And I had been a kid… as a kid in high school I'd been highly alert to bigotry and discrimination in the great world and aligned up against it of course. So now here I was described as a bigot.

The B´nai B´rith people called me up, and could I see them? I said sure, so I went to lunch with two guys and I was... I was still in my middle 20s, and they were wonderful actually, because they said, look, we have a constituency and we have to represent them, but we don't agree with them about you and this story. So I had my supporters and that was good, I didn't want to feel aggrieved at the time, I mean it would have been a terrible to feel aggrieved going into a career.

Marvin Minsky - Scientist
Donald Knuth - Scientist
Philip Roth - Writer