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My mother

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High school
Eugene Garfield Scientist
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I was, sort of, interested in science, more, more because my, one of my uncles had a chemistry set, but I never was a big, a wild enthusiast about it. And, when I was... by the time I was 14 is when, I think, they, somehow the... my uncles were, were Marxist, three of them, the other two were capitalist, so there was that constant family tension, and that’s my mother’s family. I was, I never lived with my biological father, and so... I think that during... when I was growing up I don’t, I don’t remember how I got into it but I always wanted... I always had a, a romantic idea what the, what the west was like and I always had my mind set on going out west to go to school. By the time I was... time to graduate I had applied, I wanted to go to the University of Arizona, and for some reason I didn’t get in but I did get into the University of Colorado. And, I graduated from high school when I was not yet 17. Oh, before that, I should... I, I don’t remember how, I... was always, I was good in math so if you were good in math you could... like, I got 100 on Regent's Exam, that would, that got me into Stuyvesant High School. Well, New York Stuyvesant High School was the, and still is, the leading high school for science. Although I don’t, I haven’t been in contact with them at all. I don't know whether, how many other majors the people study at science, other than science but, when I got there I don’t know why they... always when I look back I regret that somehow I never... there was nobody that mentored me there. They didn’t, they didn’t take a kid and, you know, assign him to somebody, you, just, you... everybody was on their own, and if you were good enough to do it on your own, fine, but I never, I never got into science and I didn’t, I don’t know why I didn’t particularly like biology, and I was attracted to languages. So, in high school I studied Spanish and German but, I mean... would I, I couldn’t take more than one language and so at the end of the first year or two with Stuyvesant I, I packed it in because... on top of which I had to travel all the way from the Bronx on the subway down to 14th Street, New York which - when I was telling you about the lecture coming up that’s where it’s going to be, on 14th Street - which was an experience in itself, going down there every day because in New York kids travelled when they were 9 or 10 years old, without, without the slightest hesitation, go from one end of the city to the other for a nickel. And... so, I left Stuyvesant and I went to high school in the Bronx, the DeWitt Clinton High School which is a huge, huge school. It’s more like a college. It always reminded me... they... at that time the school, for some reason, was on three shifts. When you were a freshman you would go for the morning shift or... and if you were a senior or a junior you’d go to the afternoon shift, so I didn’t have to get to school until, probably, until 12 o’clock every day, and I could sleep late. And, on top of which, the, they weren’t all that demanding, as it were. I don’t think... at Stuyvesant I think there would just be more of a challenge, but... so, I studied German and Spanish. I belonged to the Spanish Club and the, one of my... I remember, one of my Spanish teachers was a guy who was the editor of the Ladino Newspaper in New York. Ladino is the language spoken by the Sephardic Jews who were kicked out of Spain, okay, and it’s Spanish with Hebrew characters, okay, which I... by the way, I... attended the... what do they, what do they call it, the Hebrew School or Cheda, for about a week, and I hated it, and I just wanted to go out and I, I wanted to play baseball and my mother was a very, very easy-going person and never, never made me do anything I didn’t want to do. So, I said, I don’t want to go to this thing, and I, so I didn’t, so I, I never was barmitzvahed.

Eugene Garfield (1925-2017) was an American scientist and publisher. In 1960 Garfield set up the Institute for Scientific Information which produced, among many other things, the Science Citation Index and fulfilled his dream of a multidisciplinary citation index. The impact of this is incalculable: without Garfield’s pioneering work, the field of scientometrics would have a very different landscape, and the study of scholarly communication would be considerably poorer.

Listeners: Henry Small

Henry Small is currently serving part-time as a research scientist at Thomson Reuters. He was formerly the director of research services and chief scientist. He received a joint PhD in chemistry and the history of science from the University of Wisconsin. He began his career as a historian of science at the American Institute of Physics' Center for History and Philosophy of Physics where he served as interim director until joining ISI (now Thomson Reuters) in 1972. He has published over 100 papers and book chapters on topics in citation analysis and the mapping of science. Dr Small is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Honorary Fellow of the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services, and past president of the International Society for Scientometrics and Infometrics. His current research interests include the use of co-citation contexts to understand the nature of inter-disciplinary versus intra-disciplinary science as revealed by science mapping.

Duration: 5 minutes, 26 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2007

Date story went live: 23 June 2009