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William Shawn


My first article for The New Yorker
Jeremy Bernstein Scientist
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Well, the first thing I wrote for The New Yorker was actually a Talk Of The Town piece about tennis, which had nothing to do with science, but it got my foot into it. And I did it in the style that I’d been doing it in high school, you know, we did, we did. Still had no idea how to do this, but I was going back to CERN in Geneva for the summers. Now about a year had gone by and I hadn’t come up with anything. But life works in strange ways. I had played a lot of tennis and I had sprained an ankle and I lived in a building in which TD Lee and his wife lived. And they took sympathy on me and they… TD and I drove back and forth with him. I drove back and forth with him to CERN every day from where we were living and I talked to him and I got to know him. And I thought, you know, I think I know what I can do here is I can write a profile, Lee and Yang, a dual profile, Lee and Yang. So I said, 'Well, you know, can I do this?' And he was not enthusiastic, but he was not totally negative so I went back and I wrote a dual profile of Lee and Yang, and Shawn edited it, actually.

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: The New Yorker, Chen Ning Yang, Tsung-Dao Lee, William Shawn

Duration: 1 minute, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: 15th June 2011

Date story went live: 07 October 2011