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Colleagues in Copenhagen: Impressions of Werner Heisenberg


Colleagues in Copenhagen: Otto Frisch and James Franck
John Wheeler Scientist
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In Copenhagen, the first of the colleagues that I met, coming out of Germany to escape, was Otto Frisch. He was working in nuclear physics and he had an important part in getting the atomic bomb project started later on. Then, a little later, called James Franck, a wonderful man, a hero to everybody that knew him, I think. And he had been a hero in World War I. He had an Iron Cross. He had gone in no-man's land to bring back wounded. And, as I understand it, Hitler had said he could stay in Germany, Jewish though he was, because of his World War record, but he didn't want to stay. I remember in a long walk and talk he and I had one day, his telling me it would be fifty years before Germany would get over Hitler.

John Wheeler, one of the world's most influential physicists, is best known for coining the term 'black holes', for his seminal contributions to the theories of quantum gravity and nuclear fission, as well as for his mind-stretching theories and writings on time, space and gravity.

Listeners: Ken Ford

Ken Ford took his Ph.D. at Princeton in 1953 and worked with Wheeler on a number of research projects, including research for the Hydrogen bomb. He was Professor of Physics at the University of California and Director of the American Institute of Physicists. He collaborated with John Wheeler in the writing of Wheeler's autobiography, 'Geons, Black Holes and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics' (1998).

Duration: 1 minute, 25 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008