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Introduction to strong interactions

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Presenting the Lamb shift findings
Freeman Dyson Scientist
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[Q] And... so you finish this Lamb shift calculation for spinless particles?

Yes, that... I finished that some time around January as far as I remember. And then I went to a meeting of the American Physical Society to talk about it, and that was sort of my introduction to the public and...

[Q] This was in New York?

Yes.

[Q] At Columbia even?

Probably; I mean I don't remember in detail.

[Q] It's the New York meeting.

In any case, that was where I became known.

[Q] You first met people like...

People like Oppenheimer and Schwinger and such people were all there and, so I became a person at that point and they recognised that here was somebody.

Born in England in 1923, Freeman Dyson 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 has published several books and, among other honours, has been 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: Lamb shift, American Physical Society, APS, New York, J Robert Oppenheimer, Julian Schwinger

Duration: 58 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1998

Date story went live: 24 January 2008