a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Social differences between England and the US


Fellow graduate students at Cornell
Freeman Dyson Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

But mostly I was just sitting with the graduate students learning from them. There was a very good group of graduate students. Besides Scalettar there was Ed Lennox who became a biologist and did actually very well; and there was...

[Q] Brown, Laurie Brown, was he there already?

I don't know whether he was there at that point, but Leonard Egis was, who was actually also a very close friend, and Paul Hough who became an experimenter; and Walter McAfee who was my first introduction to the black world. He was a black American and from an entirely different world, but I loved him dearly. He died a few years ago. But he'd had a hard time getting established, but it was lucky he to go to Cornell because of the GI Bill. He'd worked for the Army during the war in the Signals Corps, I think, but he was much older than the rest of us, and he already had a wife and couple of kids, so he lived in town, not in the dorms.

[Q] And this was an introduction to the world of discrimination in the United States?

Well it wasn't so much discrimination, because he was not discriminated against.

[Q] No, not at the University, but in town?

I don't think so. I think he was treated pretty well. I mean my impression of him was that he was in no way complaining. I mean he was very happy with his life and he wasn't full of anger in any way, he was just a different kind of person. I mean he was fanatically interested in baseball. He was much more of a sort of a real American than most of the others. And he had made it, I mean he was obviously on his way up and afterwards he went went back to the Army and worked in the Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth.

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, GI Bill, US Army, Signal Corps, Fort Monmouth, Richard Scalettar, Edwin Lennox, Laurie Brown, Paul Hough, Walter McAfee

Duration: 2 minutes, 26 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1998

Date story went live: 24 January 2008