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Travels: Berkeley, Martin Luther King, Salt Lake City

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George Uhlenbeck and David Park at Ann Arbor
Freeman Dyson Scientist
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So that was the end of the time in Ann Arbor. At the same time there was a lovely course by George Uhlenbeck in that summer study which I went to, about statistical mechanics. I learned a great deal from Uhlenbeck.

[Q] So you were there the entire 8 weeks; and that's also the beginning of a friendship with David Park?

Yes. David Park was there and Clara and they were deeply engaged in the Wallace campaign for President. That was the summer of the...

[Q] '48...

... election campaign with Dewey against Truman, but of course, Truman was not far enough to the left for most of us and so most of us were hoping that Wallace would win. But the Parks at that time didn't even have any children, I think.

[Q] But I think David Park was a note-taker for...

... for Schwinger, that's right, yes. So he understood a lot, and so I learned a great deal from him. He was, like you, just a very learned man who seemed to have read everything.

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: Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, George Uhlenbeck, David Park, Thomas E Dewey, Harry S Truman, Julian Schwinger

Duration: 1 minute, 19 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1998

Date story went live: 24 January 2008