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The atmosphere at Princeton. Getting a job in Chicago


Murray Gell-Mann Scientist
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Oppenheimer very much appreciated this formal piece of work that Francis and I did...

[Q] On the bound states?

...on the bound states, he liked it very much. That was the kind of thing that appealed to him.

[Q] You didn't discuss the representation of spectro functions?

No! For example, no I didn't, I didn't talk about that with him. It never occurred to me that I had discovered something interesting or important. And... well  anyway I used to talk with him about a lot of things and what he did mainly was to express his great enthusiasm for whatever Freeman Dyson was doing. And of course shortly afterwards he attracted Freeman back to the institute and he was very happy about that. He loved formal work and claims of formal achievement.

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: Institute for Advanced Study, Robert Oppenheimer, Francis Low, Freeman Dyson

Duration: 55 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1997

Date story went live: 24 January 2008