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By Shapley H.

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Extra info for A Note on the Simple Device for Increasing a Photographic Power of Large Telescopes (1920)(en)(4s)

Example text

It does little good to second-guess history. But I cannot avoid reflecting on my own role. I could have understood the gravity of the German threat sooner than I did. I could—probably—have influenced the decision makers if I had tried. For more than fifty years, I have lived with the fact of my brother’s death. I cannot easily untangle all of the influences of that event on my life, but one is clear: my obligation to accept government service when called upon to render it. But what of my 1939 work with Bohr, when we were driven more by curiosity about the atomic nucleus than by any thought of weapons?

It is probably true. I, too, like to work in free-wheeling talk sessions with colleagues, with more questions than answers flying back and forth. I, too, try always to emphasize the positive in my junior colleagues’ work, give them all credit that is due, and build their confidence. But was I drawn to Bohr (and he to me) because my approach to physics and to people was similar to his—or did I acquire my style from him? Some of both, I suspect. The word fission, borrowed from cell biology, was suggested by Frisch to describe this newly discovered nuclear process, the splitting of an atomic nucleus into two large fragments.

I, too, like to work in free-wheeling talk sessions with colleagues, with more questions than answers flying back and forth. I, too, try always to emphasize the positive in my junior colleagues’ work, give them all credit that is due, and build their confidence. But was I drawn to Bohr (and he to me) because my approach to physics and to people was similar to his—or did I acquire my style from him? Some of both, I suspect. The word fission, borrowed from cell biology, was suggested by Frisch to describe this newly discovered nuclear process, the splitting of an atomic nucleus into two large fragments.

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A Note on the Simple Device for Increasing a Photographic Power of Large Telescopes (1920)(en)(4s) by Shapley H.


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