AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXVIII, No. 2, Fall 1996


Physics, History, and Political Dissent

From an interview with Liu Gang, a physics graduate student and prominent member of the democracy movement in China:

I have read biographies of great scientists like Einstein, Galileo, and Madame Curie. I found their search for truth inspiring, their personal integrity admirable, and their scientific accomplishments beautiful. I believe that their spirit is rooted in their discipline as physicists....

There was a disproportionate number of physicists among the [Tiananmen Square] dissidents.... almost all the student movements in Beijing were started by physics students. Six of the 21 most-wanted student leaders are physicists. This phenomenon can be explained... Among all the disciplines, physics is least controllable by Communist ideology. People with an inquiring mind naturally take up physics as their major in the universities. Human creativity in the search for truth requires freedom.

From The American Physical Society's APS News, Ser. II, vol. 5, no. 9 (October 1996), p. 2.

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