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EO Thorpe: the card counter
Jeremy Bernstein Scientist
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I have an email friend called EO Thorpe. There's a guy you should interview, by the way, EO Thorpe. EO Thorpe lives in California. He was a physicist turned mathematician. Then he taught for a while in universities and, while he was getting his degree, was at the time when this blackjack thing I told you about in Los Alamos was invented. And a teacher of his told him about it. And he was going to Las Vegas or somewhere with his wife and his teacher gave him this and Thorpe became interested. And Thorpe invented card-counting. He was the inventor of card-counting. And he wrote a book, I think it was called Beat the Dealer. And there's a movie, 21, which is kind of based on this stuff. And then he got out of physics and ran money. And he's a money manager for… he used to run billions of dollars in university endowments. I've never met him but we email a lot. He's an extraordinarily interesting guy.

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: Blackjack, Los Alamos, Las Vegas, Beat the Dealer, 21, EO Thorpe

Duration: 1 minute, 10 seconds

Date story recorded: 15th June 2011

Date story went live: 28 October 2011