physics and Fermi
am just reading the December/01 issue, and the article on Enrico Fermi ("Beyond
the Bomb"). After receiving my master's in physics in 1944
I served in the U.S. Navy for two years. In 1946 I returned to Chicago to continue
studies for a Ph.D. I was fortunate to receive an assistantship, working with
Enrico Fermi in his course for undergraduates. This experience remains one of
my fondest memories of the University. Fermi was willing to devote his time to
inspire first-year physics students. In other universities such work was assigned
to junior instructors or graduate students. Fermi personally presented all the
lectures, while grad students helped with sectional lab work. I am sure a considerable
number of students took up physics seriously because of Fermi's lectures.
am writing from Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I am spending two months as consultant
to Payap University, the first accredited private university in Thailand. When
I first went to Thailand in 1947 I used some of the subject matter gleaned from
Fermi's lectures with my high-school students-some of whom became physicists and
contributed to the development of academic institutions in Thailand.