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Winchester during the Depression


Family relationships
Freeman Dyson Scientist
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My sister is three years older and we were always very close and still are, so... and since my mother was 43 when I was born, it was more... my mother was more like a grandmother and my sister was more like a mother. That's also remained true ever since that... the real warmth I had from my sister; the intellectual stimulus I had from my mother. But I remember it was my sister's bed that I crawled into in... when I was feeling lonely at night.

[Q] And your father was a professor of music at Winchester or what...?

Yes, we didn't call him a professor, he was just the... he was in fact the head of the music department, but he was just... the teachers at that school were called dons, so he was just a don like the others and he made £1000 a year. I remember the fact that his salary was £1000, which in those days was a very good salary, but nothing on my uncle who was a lawyer, and made £5000, so we were not at all wealthy as compared with lawyers and doctors.

Freeman Dyson (1923-2020), who was born in England, moved to Cornell University after graduating from Cambridge University with a BA in Mathematics. He subsequently became a professor and worked on nuclear reactors, solid state physics, ferromagnetism, astrophysics and biology. He published several books and, among other honours, was awarded the Heineman Prize and the Royal Society's Hughes Medal.

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: Winchester

Duration: 1 minute, 23 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1998

Date story went live: 24 January 2008