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An educational road trip with Richard Feynman


Julian Schwinger's summer school talks
Freeman Dyson Scientist
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There was a summer school every summer in Michigan in those days, which was the main meeting place for theoretical physicists. It had been going in the 1930s and it kept going after the war, and in the summer of '48 the main event was going to be a course of lectures by Julian Schwinger, and that was the main reason I decided to go. The Commonwealth Foundation didn't particularly like that. They didn't want us to be working through the summer. We were supposed to be tourists in the summer, but I insisted that I couldn't miss this and so they said, 'That's okay.' So I went and heard Schwinger talk for about six weeks.

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: Michigan, University of Michigan, 1930s, 1948, The Commonwealth Foundation, Julian Schwinger

Duration: 43 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1998

Date story went live: 24 January 2008