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I had no interest in becoming a scientist


How to steer clear of trouble
Jeremy Bernstein Scientist
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My father, after the war, was given the job of advising the army on Jewish displaced persons in Germany. So he went back to Germany. He went to Germany to do this job, and my brother and sister went with him. My brother had the first bar mitzvah in... in Europe after the war. His bar mitzvah was a big event, a very important event. All these displaced people, Jewish displaced people, came through and some concentration victims and so on. It was a powerful thing.

But my parents decided I had a year to go in high school, it would be better if I did not disrupt my high school work, so I stayed living with relatives in a brownstone house near my school. I was pretty much on my own, and I suppose I could have gotten into a lot of trouble, but I had things to do. I mean I was playing the trumpet and I was writing my things and playing my sports and I really had lots of things to do and I didn't really feel like getting into trouble. And I wasn't… and I could have got into trouble, I'm sure, but didn't.

Born in 1929, Jeremy Bernstein is an American physicist, educator and writer known for the clarity of his writing for the lay reader on the major issues of modern physics. After graduating from Harvard University, Bernstein worked at Harvard and at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton. In 1962 he became an Associate Professor of Physics at New York University, and later a Professor of Physics at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, a position he continues to hold. He was also on the staff of The New Yorker magazine.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Germany

Duration: 1 minute, 15 seconds

Date story recorded: 15th June 2011

Date story went live: 17 August 2011