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Meeting Millionshchikov (Part 1)

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Pugwash meeting in India
Murray Gell-Mann Scientist
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In February 1964 a lot of things happened. The letter to the Physical Rev…  to Physics Letters about quarks appeared, I think on February 1st. The omega minus was reported about February 1st also. I accepted the invitation to Harvard only to reject it a couple of weeks later… only to cancel my acceptance a couple of weeks later, which made them really angry. And also I went to India to Udaipur, to the Lake Palace Hotel [sic] in the middle of the lake, and to attend a Pugwash meeting. It was the only Pugwash meeting I've ever attended. Originally the Pugwash meetings were somewhat out… out of the mainstream; people who wanted to do something fairly radical about arms control, about the Cold War, and so on and so on. And people were…   who attended were suspected of leftist sympathies and that sort of thing. But by February 1964 this was not the case: US government officials went; former US government officials who had just been in the government until a few days earlier; and so on and so forth, and it represented a sort of informal negotiating forum, at which proposals could be brought up that were later brought up between governments. It was quite interesting. I had a very, very remarkable time there. Of course I love bird-watching and India in winter is fantastic for bird-watching. I saw lots of new things. I made lots of new friends. Just had a really good time.

New York-born physicist Murray Gell-Mann (1929-2019) was known for his creation of the eightfold way, an ordering system for subatomic particles, comparable to the periodic table. His discovery of the omega-minus particle filled a gap in the system, brought the theory wide acceptance and led to Gell-Mann's winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1969.

Listeners: Geoffrey West

Geoffrey West is a Staff Member, Fellow, and Program Manager for High Energy Physics at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is also a member of The Santa Fe Institute. He is a native of England and was educated at Cambridge University (B.A. 1961). He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1966 followed by post-doctoral appointments at Cornell and Harvard Universities. He returned to Stanford as a faculty member in 1970. He left to build and lead the Theoretical High Energy Physics Group at Los Alamos. He has numerous scientific publications including the editing of three books. His primary interest has been in fundamental questions in Physics, especially those concerning the elementary particles and their interactions. His long-term fascination in general scaling phenomena grew out of his work on scaling in quantum chromodynamics and the unification of all forces of nature. In 1996 this evolved into the highly productive collaboration with James Brown and Brian Enquist on the origin of allometric scaling laws in biology and the development of realistic quantitative models that analyse the influence of size on the structural and functional design of organisms.

Tags: Physics Letters, Harvard University, India, Udaipur, Lake Palace Hotel, Pugwash Conferences, US government

Duration: 2 minutes, 6 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1997

Date story went live: 24 January 2008