Amazing Light pp 351-354 | Cite as

Knowing Charlie: In the 1950s and Since

  • Ali Javan


It is hard for me to believe that I first met Charlie forty-five years ago, in the spring of 1950. It was in his office on the tenth floor of the Pupin Building at Columbia University. In my recollection of that first meeting with him, it seems as if it occurred just yesterday. And just as fresh are my remembrances of him throughout the years I have known him since: first as my mentor and thesis advisor, and then as a colleague and dear friend. I had just come to the United States some months earlier, and had enrolled at Columbia to do graduate work in physics with a passion; my English was still rusty. When I went to see him in his office, I asked a close friend to come along to act as a translator in the event that I needed help— other than my native Persian (Iranian), I speak French as my second language. As it turned out Charlie insisted in conversing in French. Although his French was just as shaky as was my English, we did fine. I was in search of the right kinds of physics to put my hands on, although I had yet to matriculate as a graduate student. He spoke of his work with microwaves and molecules; I still remember his words. He asked that I look him up after my graduate entrance was completed—at that time I had only applied for admission to Columbia. And I did look him up, in the Spring of the following year.


Radiation Laboratory Microwave Spectrum Thesis Advisor Graduate Entrance National Defense Research 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1996

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  • Ali Javan

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