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'I had no idea if I was smart or not'


How my mother got her man
Jeremy Bernstein Scientist
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My father was a rabbi. He met my mother, I believe, at a summer camp. She was a very, very beautiful young woman. She was quite young  -  she was about 17 or 18 - and he proposed and was accepted, but he had a fellowship to study abroad so he said, 'Wait for me until I come back and I would prefer you don't see anybody else while I'm away.' My mother said, 'I love you very much, but of course I'm going to see somebody while you're away.' So that persuaded him to marry her and the two of them went off together on the trip.

And they made a fantastic trip to Russia and then Palestine and so on. Then he came back and did his rabbinical duties and I was their firstborn. I'm told it was a happy event and I was born on New Year's Eve, 1929.

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: Russia, Palestine

Duration: 1 minute, 8 seconds

Date story recorded: 15th June 2011

Date story went live: 17 August 2011