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My friendship with Stanley Kubrick


Mountain climbing
Jeremy Bernstein Scientist
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I went back to teaching and research. Well actually, the year… that was 1995, I’d retired from Stevens [Institute of Technology] then, I then went to live half the year in Aspen, where we have a physics centre. I think I met you out there once.

And... my life has otherwise been pretty routine. There’s one thing I should mention that actually came out of The New Yorker and also out of working at CERN in the summer in Geneva. I got interested in mountain climbing and so I spent 20 seasons climbing with a guide or guides in Chamonix. And I wrote a profile for The New Yorker of him, Claude Jaccoux, and described the profession of guiding, which Shawn called Ascent, actually, the profile. It became a book. And Shawn loved my profile of Jaccoux. He thought it was… he really loved it. I got a wonderful letter from him about it. He just loved the profile. And I thought, well, maybe I can parlay this into something else. And I thought, well, maybe he’ll let us take… he can send us to the Himalayas, now that we’ve done the Alps. So I persuaded him to send us to the Himalayas and he, Jaccoux and I and Jaccoux’s wife, 1967, went to Nepal. I, for several months, Jaccoux for a couple of months. We trekked to the Everest basecamp and we trekked around the Annapurna region. And I wrote a profile of Nepal called The Wildest Dreams of Kew, which was the first, I believe, English language modern profile of the country. So that was very satisfying.

And then I wrote also later about Bhutan and about Tibet and took various trips to those places. So that was another part of my life which was made possible by The New Yorker so I’m very grateful to The New Yorker for all of that.

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: Aspen, The New Yorker, Chamonix, France, Alps, Himalayas, Nepal, Wildest Dreams of Kew: Profile of Nepal, Buthan, Tibet, William Shawn

Duration: 2 minutes, 19 seconds

Date story recorded: 15th June 2011

Date story went live: 07 October 2011