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Community at the Rockefeller building


Introduction to the American way of life
Freeman Dyson Scientist
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So I came... actually it was the middle of September, and I remember very well arriving at Cornell on an exceedingly hot day and it was blazing hot outside and I came into this ice cold physics building where the air conditioners were running full blast. It was my introduction to the American way of life, and I introduced myself at the Department Chairman's office, and there was the secretary sitting huddled over an electric heater. So I found it all rather shocking coming from the austerities of war time England. But one soon gets used to it.

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: Cornell University, USA

Duration: 56 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1998

Date story went live: 24 January 2008