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Interview with Hans A. Bethe

Bethe, Hans A. (2001) Interview with Hans A. Bethe. [Oral History]

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Two interviews conducted at Caltech in 1982 and 1993 with theoretical physicist Hans Bethe. The recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1967 for his work on nuclear reactions in stars, Bethe was born in Strasbourg and educated at the University of Frankfurt and at the University of Munich, where he earned a PhD in 1928 under A. Sommerfeld at the Institute for Theoretical Physics. From 1928 to 1933, Bethe held a variety of teaching positions in Germany, also visiting the Physics Institute of the University of Rome in Via Panisperna 89A in 1931 and 1932. Hitler's rise to power forced Bethe from the University of Tubingen in 1933. Two years later he became an assistant professor at Cornell University, garnering a full professorship there in 1937. In the 1982 interview Bethe speaks principally about his contacts at Caltech, including L. Pauling, R. Millikan, T. von Karman, F. Zwicky, C. C. Lauritsen, W. A. Fowler, R. Feynman and R. F. Bacher. He discusses his relations with other prominent physicists, including E. Teller, N. Bohr and J. R. Oppenheimer. He also describes his first impressions of nuclear physics, the political climate in Italy in the 1930s, and the Rome school of physics, including E. Fermi, F. Rasetti, and E. Segre. The 1993 interview concerns R. Bacher at Cornell and at work on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos during World War II.

Item Type:Oral History
Additional Information:A version of this interview is published as "A Conversation with Hans Bethe" in Physics in Perspective, 1 (1999), 253-281.
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Bethe_H
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Official Citation:Bethe, Hans A. Interview by Judith R. Goodstein. Pasadena, California, February 17, 1982, January 28, 1993. Oral History Project, California Institute of Technology Archives. Retrieved [supply date of retrieval] from the World Wide Web:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:Subjects > Physics
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ID Code:96
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:07 Jan 2005
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:23

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