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Pole dominance

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Talks about banning anti-ballistic missile systems
Murray Gell-Mann Scientist
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George and Paul and Carl then had conversations with a number of relatively high officials and apparently the idea of an agreement to ban the deployment of ABM, large scale ABM systems around metropolitan areas caught hold a little bit in both governments. And when Kosygin, the Soviet Prime Minister, showed up in Glassboro, New Jersey, the next year in ’65, Bob McNamara, Secretary of Defense, took it up with him. And then it was only the escalation of the war in South East Asia and then the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union that delayed reaching an agreement. And finally in the Nixon administration an agreement was actually reached and we were spared all this extra expense and extra instability. Then of course, when Reagan came in, when we had Star Wars proposed and so on and things went… things went in the opposite direction for a while.

New York-born physicist Murray Gell-Mann is 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: Glasboro NJ, Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, New Jersey, Carl Kaysen, Paul Doty, George Kistiakowsky, Alexei Kosygin, Robert McNamara, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan

Duration: 1 minute, 21 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1997

Date story went live: 24 January 2008