, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 77-109
Date: 27 Mar 2008

A Conversation with Valentine L.Telegdi – Part II

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In this wide-ranging and anecdotal interview, the Hungarian experimental physicist Valentine L. Telegdi, who died on April 8, 2006, offers recollections of Enrico Fermi and Gregor Wentzel in the early 1950s at the University of Chicago. He recalls the discovery of quarks in 1963 independently by Murray Gell-Mann at Caltech and George Zweig at CERN. Comments on the establishment of the Erice summer school. Describes his work on the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon (the “g-minus-2” experiment) with Richard Garwin at CERN. Recalls the colloquium given at the ETH (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in the late 1940s by Richard Feynman. Recalls his 1956 sabbatical at the Institute for Advanced Study; recollections of John Archibald Wheeler. Comments on the decline of physics at the University of Chicago after Fermi’s death (1954) and the switchover from liberal military funding to the more cumbersome NSF grants process; contrasts that with the generosity of the ETH. Comments on his early days at Chicago and his longstanding friendship with Murph [Marvin L.] and Mildred Goldberger. Recalls his three-month stay at Bristol University in 1947 while still a graduate student at ETH and his friendship with Richard Dalitz. Comments on Stephen Hawking. Recollections of P.A.M.Dirac.Comments on Jerome Friedman, Richard Taylor,and Henry Kendall; on Nobel Prizes and the reason for Arnold Sommerfeld’s failure to receive one. Recalls receiving the Wolf Prize in 1991 (along with Maurice Goldhaber) and an honorary degree the same year from the University of Chicago.

Sara Lippincott is an editor specializing in books about science for the general public. Among authors she has edited are the science writers Timothy Ferris, John McPhee, and James Shreeve; the physicists John Barrow, Paul C.W. Davies, David Goodstein, Lawrence Krauss, Seth Lloyd, and Lee Smolin; and the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. She is the editor for the Caltech Archives’ Oral History Project. Requests for reprints should be directed to Judith R.Goodstein, Institute Archives 015A-74, Caltech, Pasadena CA 91125, USA; e-mail: jrg@caltech.edu.