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Getting into sport

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'Public schools were dangerous'
Jeremy Bernstein Scientist
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My parents decided that public schools were dangerous. I think it was an absurd notion, but they had decided that, so I should go to a private school. Curiously, the smartest people I knew when I was at Harvard were from New York public schools, so that was really a strange... strange conclusion. So we chose Columbia Grammar School. It was not connected to Columbia University, but it was a… I don't know how that was chosen, but that was chosen. And I went there, and we went out to the park the first day, and I was beaten up by a couple of my classmates, which just shows the danger of private schools. Well, my father, who was a fighter, said, 'Well, you've got to learn boxing'. So we had a shop teacher who also could teach some boxing. I took private lessons in boxing from this teacher. I think I actually beat up a bully once in front of the school by boxing.

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: Harvard University, New York, Columbia Grammar School, Columbia University

Duration: 1 minute, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: 15th June 2011

Date story went live: 17 August 2011