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What does Hans Bethe do with his money?
Jeremy Bernstein Scientist
Comments (1) Please sign in or register to add comments
Physics Hobo
Thursday, 08 February 2018 01:53 AM
I talked to Jeremy Bernstein by phone more than 20 years ago.

In my Institute days, the bachelor used to eat at night in the cafeteria and Dirac, who was visiting, was temporarily a bachelor and he came down, he ate with us occasionally. And I was talking with John Sakurai, who had come from Cornell, who knew Bethe. I said to John, 'Bethe must earn a lot of money, he's a consultant and so on and so on. I hear he lives very modestly (I didn't know him at that point). What does he do with his money?' And Sakurai said, 'Well, I think he invests it'. I said, 'Well, if he invests it, he makes more money, so what does he do with it?' Dirac had been listening to this in complete silence and then he suddenly piped up and he said, 'Maybe he loses it'. And I'm sure that Dirac was not trying to be funny. Dirac was never trying to be funny. It's just he was pointing out to us another logical possibility and that's all he was doing. And he was right, maybe he does. Maybe that is a possibility, he might lose it. I'm sure he didn't but that was a possibility.

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: Cornell University, Hans Bethe, John Sacrow

Duration: 1 minute, 19 seconds

Date story recorded: 15th June 2011

Date story went live: 28 October 2011