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Linking the ideas of Feynman, Schwinger and Tomanaga


Travels: Berkeley, Martin Luther King, Salt Lake City
Freeman Dyson Scientist
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So then what happened, after Ann Arbor I then took another Greyhound bus and went all the way to California, which was what the Commonwealth Fund required me to do. I had at least to see California. So I showed up in Berkeley and I didn't know any physicists in Berkeley, so I simply stayed around there for a couple of weeks. And the most memorable thing that happened, there was a young fellow who was lecturing about non-violence, which was a subject that I was deeply interested in, and his name was Martin Luther King. And I'd never heard of him, but I went to hear him lecture and he was just so wonderful that I was deeply impressed with him. That was before he became famous. And otherwise I read the autobiography of Nehru and various other good books.

[Q] And you stayed in Berkeley or you stayed in San Francisco?

No, I stayed at Berkeley at the International House where the students are put up, so it was good time, but I don't think I had any contact with the physicists there, as far as I remember.

[Q] But you went into San Francisco and you looked at the town?

I must have, but San Francisco didn't make much impression on me. The place that made really the deep impression was Salt Lake City on the way back.

[Q] The Mormons?

Yes, the Mormon valleys, these wonderful Mormon temples with the green valleys around them, which looked like Switzerland and that I found much more to my taste than San Francisco.

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: Ann Arbor, California, Commonwealth Foundation, Berkeley, University of California, Salt Lake City, Martin Luther King, Jawaharlal Nehru

Duration: 1 minute, 51 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1998

Date story went live: 24 January 2008