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.


Writing Bethe's Bible


Hiring Robert Bacher to Cornell
Hans Bethe Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

They wanted one more experimental physicist and we had a choice between, well, Gibbs... Gibbs asked me immediately to consult with him whom we should get, and there was a list of people finally narrowed to two, and among the two we thought the most lively would be Robert Bacher, who had started as a spectroscopist, who knew some theory, who was then instructor at Columbia and who was very happy to accept, I think again an instructorship here at... at Cornell. And this became a lasting friendship. Bacher came here and he was much more knowledgeable about physics than Livingston, and less good in doing... making apparatus. So the two formed a very good team and so we all three got together and worked together a great deal.

The late German-American physicist Hans Bethe once described himself as the H-bomb's midwife. He left Nazi Germany in 1933, after which he helped develop the first atomic bomb, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967 for his contribution to the theory of nuclear reactions, advocated tighter controls over nuclear weapons and campaigned vigorously for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

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, Robert Bacher, Stanley Livingston

Duration: 1 minute, 34 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008