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Planck time


Becoming friends with Freeman Dyson
Jeremy Bernstein Scientist
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At the Institute, he kept pretty much to himself. He… I think he ate with us occasionally but he didn't say very much and kept pretty much to himself, and there was no reason… I didn't have anything to say to him, except, you know, 'I admire you very much' and so on and so forth and whatever, but then I'd been to New York or somewhere and I came back, and Dyson and I were on the same train and we found ourselves in the same odd… we were stuck in the same station outside of Princeton. And somehow, whether we had a car or took a taxi, or… anyway, we went back to his house. And we had some drinks. And we talked a lot. Now it turned out that he was in the process of getting a divorce.

So he was living by himself in this house and he was a little bit, I think, a little bit less… well, he was more open to this. So we talked and after that, we became pretty good friends. And of course we never worked together. I… we did work on the Orion together but I mean, I… I have nothing… I mean, I couldn't contribute anything to anything Dyson was doing. He is so fast and so incredibly smart.

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: Institute for Advanced Study, The New Yorker, Princeton University, Freeman Dyson

Duration: 1 minute, 44 seconds

Date story recorded: 15th June 2011

Date story went live: 28 October 2011