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Oral History Transcript — Robert V. Pound

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Interview with Robert V. Pound
By Ursula Pavlish
At Cadbury Commons Retirement Home, Cambridge, MA
February 19, 2007

open tab View abstract

Robert Pound; February 19, 2007

ABSTRACT: Gravitational Redshift experiments, 1960-1964. Use of cyclotrons to make radioactive sources. Joe Snyder, Robert Dickey. Competition with The Harwell Group on Gravitational Redshift. The role of temperature in GR experiment. Einstein’s celebrity status. George Gamow’s letter to Pound. Ed Condon. John H. Van Vleck. Year at Oxford and Oxford friends. I. I. Rabi. The Harvard Society of Fellows. Expert advisor to government. The New Yorker. Visits to Paris.

Transcript

Session I | Session II | Session III | Session IV | Session V

Pavlish:

Today is February 19, 2007. My name is Ursula Pavlish. I am here to interview Professor Robert Pound. Today I would like to talk to him about his work, his experiment, on the Gravitational Redshift, here at Harvard University, from 1960 to 1964. Is that an accurate time window?

Pound:

You can put it that way, yes. 1964 was the last time we were involved in doing anything experimental on it, yes.

Pavlish:

But you were in preparation before 1960?

Pound:

Oh, yes. That kind of thing had been on my mind way back into World War II and back during the 1950s. I hoped to be able to find a way to get accurate enough frequency resolution to measure the small effect due to gravity. That came along with the Mossbauer Effect.

Pavlish:

Do you recall when you were first introduced to General Relativity?

Pound:

I do not recall it, no. I guess, probably when I was an undergraduate in Buffalo.

Pavlish:

The experiment is one of the key tests of General Relativity, right? But you thought of it more in relation to the Mossbauer Effect?

Pound:

No. At issue was confirming the effects in gravity. The Mossbauer Effect simply provided a tool to be able to get enough resolution to see the small effect within the height of our buildings. The height of our building was only 75 feet. Therefore, the effect is in the area of 10 to the minus 15, fractionally. Do you understand what that means? That is a thousandth of a millionth of a millionth of one.

Pavlish:

Before this, you had been working on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Were there any techniques that carried over from Nuclear Magnetic Resonance to this experiment? Did you use any of the same equipment or the same theoretical ideas? In one of the articles you wrote about it, you are talking about resonances, so I suspect there is a relationship.

Pound:

I do not know.

Pavlish:

For example, in your article, “Weighing Photons,” you write, “With this achievement we published the first data on the resonance of Iron-57, including some hyperfine structure, and announced our plan to apply the example to the test of the redshift in the laboratory.”

Pound:

Most of the background for those experiments came out of some nuclear physics research I had been doing before that, using equipment to observe the directional correlations of Gamma rays.

Pavlish:

Was that at the Jefferson Laboratory?

Pound:

Jefferson and Lyman, and even in the Harvard Cyclotron Lab, where we would make radioactive sources for some of the experiments. We used the Harvard Cyclotron, which was not designed to make sources for nuclear physics experiments but we were able to do it anyway.

Pavlish:

When I was an undergraduate in Physics, it seemed like there was a definite separation between High Energy Physics and Atomic, Nuclear, Molecular Physics. Either you did one or the other. I get the impression that after World War II these subfields were closer to each other.

Pound:

Particle Physics become much more involved with high energy and the use of big accelerators, compared with cyclotrons. Our cyclotron was aimed at doing particle physics so we had to borrow other people’s cyclotrons to make radioactive sources for our kind of experiments. In particular, there was one at Princeton that we got to borrow. My former associate, Joe Snyder, came to work with me from Princeton. He had worked with Don Hamilton who became the Dean of the Graduate School at Princeton but had been a Columbia research student originally and then he got a faculty position at Princeton. He was a member of the MIT Radiation Lab during the war. So many of the people I worked with, were. Robert H. Dickey, for example.

Pavlish:

You mention these people in your article here, when you mention your graduate students and the people you were in contact with at the time of The Gravitational Redshift experiment. Dickey wrote to you, to ask what you were doing. You shared what you were doing so that he would not have to reproduce the same thing.

Pound:

He did not ask me so much as to what I was doing but to say he saw that what I was doing was competing with him. [laughs] He thought he was going to do what I was going to do.

Pavlish:

But you were friends?

Pound:

Oh yes. We were old friends from the war years. Bob decided to throw in the towel in his project because I already had a leg up. I already had a student who had gone further. And Dickey had some overly naïve ideas of what to put his student on. He told me that he had a student working on something-or-other. I pointed out that what he was working on was rather counter-productive. It did not get to the point. We were old friends. Bob just died, I think. There was an obituary for Bob Dickey in Physics Today just recently. He was a dear friend of the war years. We used to go to lunch fairly regularly. [laughs] The same kind of venture to lunch that got me going with Purcell. It was in that connection that we got our NMR project underway.

Pavlish:

You would go to the same lunch place with Dickey?

Pound:

It was a lovely sandwich shop in Central Square. We would walk up Mass Avenue. I forget what they were called, but they made their own Molasses bread. It was usually still hot when we went there for lunch. I used to buy a loaf and take it home to my wife. [laughs] We had a waitress effect, which was a rather helpful thing. They always had a 40 cent special. I always got her to convert the 40 cent special to my special, which meant Boston cream pie with ice cream. I do not know how they managed that in those days because one of the games was that we were under rationing, you know. Milk was okay, but butter and cream were rather tight for some years because of rationing.

Pavlish:

I apologize for grasping onto the sensationalist aspect of this experiment, but one thing that I would like to explore further, especially for nonscientists, is the tower in the physics building from 1884 that you used for this experiment. After the initial experiment, you were looking for other places to do this. You visited mine shafts. You visited the Empire state building.

Pound:

William James, across the way, the tall building. The point was, we did not use the height even of the internal tower in Jefferson. It was not really the fact that it was a tower. All it provided was a wall to affix things to that was pretty stable.

Pavlish:

You did not end up using the entire length of it?

Pound:

No. It was not really an important factor. That is because (I show it there, maybe) the resolution of an experiment like that has nothing to do with the height of the building. That is to say, if you increase the height of the building, the effect is increased, but the uncertainty is also increased by exactly the same amount. So you end up not gaining at all by changing the height. You might as well do it on the tabletop in the lecture room.

Pavlish:

However, you were visiting these tall buildings. There must have been some motivation.

Pound:

I went to see the Empire State building, because I thought I might start a new experiment, which I would get new equipment for, and a new source which would be more suited to the higher building. But I never did. I got to know the manager of the Empire State building. I think I may have said there…

Pavlish:

That he was like the mayor of a town, with something like 4,000 employees.

Pound:

Yes. One of the residents there came out to see him…it was as if the mayor had come to town, yes. He was proud of his role, because it is a big building. I guess Joe Snyder came along with me.

Pavlish:

Do you recall having a special status as a physicist? With the manager of The Empire State Building humoring you with a tour of his building?

Pound:

Yes. I had approached him to begin with to ask if there was a possibility of being able to use that facility for an experiment in the future. They were very friendly, and of course, I think they would have been very happy to have the publicity of their building being used for a physics experiment. There is a woman who gets bad vibes sometimes in the public media, who owns that building now. She also owns a number of hotels in New York City, and she also owns the Empire State building.

Pavlish:

How much of your time was actually in a lab at Jefferson, and how much of it was spent negotiating with other institutions like Brookhaven and The Empire State Building?

Pound:

I sensed that I had competition from the Atomic Energy Establishment in England. I realized that they had an advantage over the fact that there were subsidiary groups there that specialized in measuring and developing radioactive methods and so forth, that could help do the chemistry that was necessary to separate sources from the things that got irradiated. I used to say that there was “a man and a boy” working on that here at Harvard. The English press had an article describing how The Harwell Group in England was in competition with a group at Harvard University. I said, this group at Harvard University was a man and a boy. [laughs] We did not have on the side a group of radio-chemists to work with us, to figure out things. But there really was not a problem. We came out okay.

Pavlish:

I wonder what your wife’s understanding of the work was at this time?

Pound:

It would not be fair to say that she was very conversant with the technology as such, but she was very helpful with and very considerate about the issue of day-to-day activities that I had to do.

Pavlish:

It seems like you were at one time competing with a group who was running its experiment 24/7. You did not mention whether your group was doing the same, but I inferred that you were, like before your presentation at The American Physical Society meeting in New York, of January 1960. You said you began taking data on Sunday, January 24, of 1960. “Earlier in the week I received a telephone call…” Let’s see, somewhere here you mention, ah yes, here, “They had been operating at Harwell for about three weeks, around the clock, but with a weaker source than ours.”

Pound:

Right. And also, they were working at a Water Tower outdoors in an English winter. I felt that they had to justify that they had properly taken account of various temperature variations. They had not really recognized the importance of that yet. And so, that is why we went into a rather detailed experiment to demonstrate the effect of temperature on the phenomenon that we were using. And that unless you had that under control, you could not really make a claim for the accuracy or the precision. A half a degree centigrade of temperature change produces as big an effect as the whole effect we were looking for.

Pavlish:

That was not a problem for you? What was that tower you used originally built for?

Pound:

Jefferson Lab was built in 1884. The fact that it was a tower was not really significant to me, except that the bottom room was regarded as the constant temperature room because it was essentially below grade, below the floor level. I believe they originally hoped to isolate the walls of the tower from day to day traffic noise in the building. If you look at the building, you will find that there are two walls that are about a foot apart going up through the building. There is now some mortar between the two walls in certain areas, but that was not sufficient to carry the structural vibrations from the one to the other. The structural vibration was not a serious problem in my experiment anyway.

Pavlish:

How did the other physicists in your department regard your experiment? Did you think of it as weighing photons? Did they think of it as something different? Was there an understanding of what Professor Pound’s lab was doing?

Pound:

We generally called it, in the old days, the gravitational redshift. The description that was originally given was as one of the three major tests of Einstein’s General Relativity. The gravitational redshift was one of them. That was expected to be a redshift, in the sense that it was expected to be measured from the stars or from the sun. It was therefore thought to need from the gravitation of a major object like a star or the sun. We were able to show that the signal to noise ratio was just as good for a local experiment done within the height of a building and so forth.

Pavlish:

Were you the first to show that?

Pound:

I suppose we were the first. Dickey was trying to do something along the same lines. Bob Dickey did some related experiments on gravitation and became rather well-recognized for it.

Pavlish:

I have a book from the library, Einstein’s more popular exposition about relativity. That came out in 1961, it looks like. Did you ever meet Einstein? What was the atmosphere around his celebrity status amongst physicists?

Pound:

I did not get excited about Einstein’s celebrity status. It seemed like every time we wrote down something that suggested some contact with Einstein’s ideas, then the general press jumped on it. I mention that somewhere in my writings. I got an offer to buy etchings of Einstein, as if I had become a fan.

Pavlish:

What do you mean?

Pound:

I got promotions in the mail, addressed to me saying, “I can offer you this print for a song,” as if I was in the wings carrying on a kind of one-man admiration society.

Pavlish:

Einstein was in Princeton at the time, so he did not come by to see your experiment.

Pound:

No, but I had a very sweet letter that I would like to find again, from George Gamow. He wrote, admiring the ideas, and hoped to meet some day. I never did get to meet him after that. He was a wonderful guy. He had gone to The University of Colorado. They had built a building called The Gamow Tower. Two people had offices there. One was his mentor Edward U. Condon. There is a corner room in the top floor of that building which is all glass, beautiful large glass windows. The reason for that is that Ed Condon was director of research of Corning Glass in Corning, New York. I spent a sabbatical leave at The University of Colorado and occupied an office adjacent to that room that was in the corner, the Condon room. I do not know if I told you my little description of musical chairs. People move from one job to another. How do I start this, now? Condon was one of the people that figured in this. Condon had been director of The National Bureau of Standards. He got attacked by the Congress. The Congress tried to get him fired from that job, because Condon had made certain statements that he was a little bit liberal. This went against the grain of certain Congressmen who did not want to provide funds to the National Bureau of Standards to a ‘Commie’ like that. He was no Commie. He was what we now call a ‘Good Liberal.’ He was a very intelligent person. My colleague, John H. Van Vleck was appointed to chair a committee that would look into Condon. He was furious about that.

Pavlish:

Van Vleck was furious or Condon was furious?

Pound:

Van Vleck was furious. [laughs] Van Vleck was never considered one of the stronger liberals in our area. He always had a somewhat cautious conservative position in any public position he took. I was very fond of him. I am happy to say that I believe he was rather fond of me too. He and his wife were especially fond of me and my wife. We traveled together one summer, the first summer I was at Harvard, of 1948. We were in Europe—in Oxford first, and then in Paris together. There was a conference on Radio Spectroscopy at Oxford, one of the first international conferences in that field. Van Vleck went to that, and then went to Paris, and got me invited to the Paris conference.

Pavlish:

That was also on Radio Frequency Spectroscopy?

Pound:

Technically, the conference was on metallurgy, but Van got me invited to it anyway. [laughs] I was not a metallurgist but he thought there were things that I knew that would be useful at the conference.

Pavlish:

That was the first Radio Frequency Spectroscopy Conference?

Pound:

I think that probably it was. That is right.

Pavlish:

Held at the university?

Pound:

At Oxford University. A person I got to be very fond of during World War II who worked in the British area on the same things that we worked on at MIT, in the air defense program. This man’s name is Revis Bleeney [sp?]. He continues to be the head of the Physics Department at Oxford. There was another dear friend I got to be very fond of when I spent a year at Oxford. That is Nicholas Kerti. He was of Hungarian origin, but had developed his career with Franz Simon, the man who had set up Oxford in the Low Temperature Physics business. They both had been in Berlin together. Oxford became a very important source of research in low temperature physics. In England, everybody supposed that Cambridge was the only place in England that worked in that field, but it turned out, what with Simon and Kerti having come to Oxford. Do you know the books of C.P. Snow?

Pavlish:

Yes, “The Two Cultures.”

Pound:

Snow is very down on Lord Charwell. I think that CP Snow did not give Lord Charwell the proper credit that he deserved, because Charwell put Cambridge and Oxford — particularly Oxford — in touch with the latest European Low Temperature Physics. He was able to bring a couple of significant German research people into Oxford. I later learned that he tried to get the significant developer of Quantum Mechanics, Schrodinger, to Oxford. Schrodinger would not go. Why? Because he was reputed to have claimed that Oxford was not friendly with women. I later learned [laughs] that the reason for that was that Schrodinger had a mistress at the time who was the wife of a colleague in mathematics. Schrodinger wanted to get that mathematician into Oxford too, if he accepted a position at the university. Oxford was a little bit touchy about that. I talked to Lady Simon (she is the widow of Franz Simon who was the head of the physics department.) I told her that I had heard this story. She said, oh yes, that Schrodinger was carrying on with the wife of this mathematician friend of his.

Pavlish:

Do you remember where Schrodinger was before they tried to take him away?

Pound:

He came there from Berlin. They had him there as a visiting professor at Oxford.

Pavlish:

Getting back to 1948, you had just joined the Harvard Society of Fellows, and you immediately went on leave to go to Oxford? You were there over the summer with Van Vleck.

Pound:

It was just the summer months that time yes. During World War II our group at MIT was the focus for visits from a number of people from the British universities of Cambridge and Oxford. Drevis Bleeney [sp?] who became the head of the Physics Department at Oxford had become one of my close friends as a result and remains so. We would love to be able to go over and spend some time there again.

Pavlish:

What was that conference like at Oxford?

Pound:

I never got to that conference myself. Purcell went to that conference.

Pavlish:

Did you see Purcell in Oxford?

Pound:

No, no. I did not go to Oxford then. I had this problem, you see. The bigger name in the field was Purcell, always. They gave him the Nobel Prize for what we did together. And so, I never got as much notice as he did. The number one name that always came up was Purcell. I should not talk that way, but anyway.

Pavlish:

It is true that your names are all on the paper and then Purcell and Bloch got the Nobel Prize.

Pound:

Yes, people are always talking about the work of “Purcell and Bloch.” I have colleagues and friends who think I have gotten considerably short-changed over all that. I was an important factor that just writing it up that way, people do not get recognize. Of course, I was only a poor undergraduate from college. I did not have the credentials that some of my colleagues did. I always think of there being two generations in the work during World War II. Those who had completed some kind of graduate work with PhDs and so forth. One of the people I think of in those terms is Norman Ramsey. Norman was more than that though, because he had already been appointed to a professorship, which he resigned from before he ever took it up.

Pavlish:

Would you class Rabi together with Ramsey and others who had their Ph.D.s?

Pound:

Rabi was our number one. Rabi played a significant role in supporting me in my various professional pursuits after the war. I do not know how it came that he got to think highly of me [laughs] but he seems to have done that. I do remember him saying in my presence once, that he was not going to support anybody anymore in The Harvard Society of Fellows, because it meant he lost control of them, he lost them from his own establishment for the future. The main thing was to get people to Columbia where he was the big cheese. [laughs]

Pavlish:

He wanted to keep great physicists within his sphere of influence.

Pound:

That is right.

Pavlish:

Rather than let them go off. I know there is a tree with Rabi at the trunk of the tree and others as the branches.

Pound:

Yes. There is such a picture in a book by Rigden. I think he has got me in that tree. I have always been fond of Rigden.

Pavlish:

I think you have at least one article, “Weighing Photons II” in Rigden’s journal, “Physics in Perspective.” In this article, “Weighing Photons,” you narrate your visit to Moscow, Russia, in depth. It is a wonderful story, as a story in itself, regardless of the physics.

Pound:

I will always remember the automobile ride when leaving Moscow.

Pavlish:

I could not figure out exactly how you did that measurement. You explain, “I determined the speed by averaging the swings of the speedometer […] at a rate of about two Hertz over half the scale.”

Pound:

You just had to average it.

Pavlish:

Why is that?

Pound:

Instead of indicating that it was either five or 70 miles an hour, you said it was 40. [laughs]

Pavlish:

The car was going so fast that the speed was beyond the speedometer? It was swinging back and forth?

Pound:

I think that meant the car had some kind of faulty cable driving the speedometer. That is what happens. It does not spin smoothly. What it does is wind itself up a bit and put in extra speed as it unwinds. That is the way I understood such things. It was rush hour. There were pedestrians all over the sidewalks and the streets. Rabi did not really have a lab of his own [at The MIT Radiation Lab]. He leaned on his former students. There were three of them I can think of at the moment. Ramsey was one. Another one was Don Hamilton. Don Hamilton went to Princeton after the war. He was the mentor of Joe Snyder who worked with him at Princeton. The thing is, some of these people, like Don Hamilton, had come to Harvard to The Society of Fellows. He was one of the people who Rabi regretted having let go to Harvard. That is how I got to know him. The Society of Fellows at Harvard has a certain character as if it were a fraternity. A lot of the people who have been members there continue to be lifelong friends, for having had that experience in common.

Pavlish:

I have heard from more recent members that it was like a dinner club.

Pound:

Oh, yes, but it is not like it was in my day. It was especially wonderful to come to Harvard to that group. A large number of the junior fellows who went back to the early 1930s, had come back after having done their own things in the war years. They came back to be at Harvard again. I can think of a man named Engels [sp?], for example, who spent his war years in Afghanistan as the teacher of a prince of Afghanistan. Betty and I spent an evening at his house. He had come back to Harvard as a professor. It was such a significant experience to come to Harvard where there was such a wide variety of specialties and people with diverse experiences. So many people came back. I was thinking of Dick Howard, for example. He came back to Harvard as a professor in the Botany Department and became the director of the Arnold Arboretum. His wartime experience was training people in the US military how to recognize things that were edible. He gained quite a world reputation for that knowledge.

Pavlish:

Did you talk with and make friends with nonscientists as well as scientists in The Society of Fellows?

Pound:

Yes.

Pavlish:

You mentioned C. P. Snow. Was there an equality between, say, an English professor and a Physics professor?

Pound:

There was no snobbishness about that, I would say, no. [laughs] The university catalog lists all the members of The Society of Fellows each year, for several years there, from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s. It was quite an experience. So many people had been into different kinds of specialties during the war, as I mentioned. Dick Howard was advising the military in how to recognize the things that they would not poison themselves with. There was quite a range of backgrounds of these people. John Kelleher is now deceased. He became a professor of Celtic and Irish history. He had a very dedicated sponsor named Henry Shadduck. Henry Shadduck had been a politician in the Massachusetts legislature. I do not know if you know of the concept of Boston Brahmins. Shadduck is one of the names of people from that world. My wife hates that concept. Henry Shadduck was a Boston politician. He became a great friend of the Boston Irish. That is a non-sequitur. People do not expect that of a Boston Brahmin type of politician. The Irish became very fond of him. You know the name of MacGeorge Bundy [sp?]? He was one of my colleagues in The Society of Fellows. Mac thought that he could take over from Henry Shadduck as a scholar in the legislature. He tried to run for it. He even got Henry Shadduck to give a little talk on the radio, suggesting that they support Mac. Unlike most Boston Brahmin types of politicians, he had generated a great friendship from the Irish Bostonians. In fact he endowed a professorship at Harvard in Celtic History and Literature. Kelleher held that for a while but I think they decided not to keep him in that role. He retired some years ago.

Pavlish:

Did you, as a physicist, as an expert ever serve in advising politicians on policy?

Pound:

I was on many study committees. I was particularly on a list of people that usually got added to committees that Gerald Zacharias established at MIT. MIT was the center of that sort of thing, which as I was mentioning is probably the center of the resentment by people in the other parts of the country who think that this Charles River bank had oversight of science and the military. This actually sprung from that unending willingness of Gerald Zacharias to establish a new committee and advise the military. I was a member of many of those, yes.

Pavlish:

Would you go to Washington for those?

Pound:

Oh yes. I always remember one which was originally going to be held at Woods Hole on the Cape. The Navy decided they could not lay on sufficient security to give some of the briefings they wanted to give from the Pentagon. They could not make it secure enough at Woods Hole to speak openly about these subjects and so they had the whole organization go to the Pentagon. That is my major experience in a visit to the Pentagon. [laughs] I went that summer.

Pavlish:

What summer?

Pound:

I think it was in the 1940s. I was rather annoyed with it in the end. I could see no excuse for being so protective of the security issue. In the briefing that they gave us down there when we got to the Pentagon there was only one slide they showed that had anything that you would ever be concerned about.

Pavlish:

Do you recall who else was there with you?

Pound:

Van did not play that game as much. The person who probably did more of that than I did, was Purcell. If Van Vleck were in something like that, he would be there in his own right not as a member of a bigger group.

Pavlish:

One of the big trends in History of Science is to look at how science and society interact; both coming into the laboratory from the outside and also science going out in society. I believe that to a certain extent that is a productive way to think as a historian of science. But physics especially seems to be more impervious to that coming in from the outside — say TV or literature coming in and effecting what goes on in the laboratory. Did you ever use outside analogies or metaphors in the physics, from the culture that you were surrounded with?

Pound:

I imagine so. I do not quite know.

Pavlish:

I think you mentioned that you read “The New Yorker.”

Pound:

I used to read The New Yorker pretty religiously — for many years before World War II and then through the war. My wife is particularly in the habit. Before we were married and before she came down here, we always talked about The New Yorker. I have told the story about the fact that the night we had to carry out our first experiment in NMR, I had to go out and lean against the rain. [laughs]

Pavlish:

At the end of his Nobel lecture, Purcell talks about his wonder at the precession of the atoms in the snowflakes outside — how he looked at the snow with new eyes. Is that similar or different to the kind of thing you experienced?

Pound:

Well, I always found that a little bit pretentious. I had not looked at it that way myself, no.

Pavlish:

The experiments did not necessarily affect the way you looked at things outside the laboratory? Let us say, your gravitational redshift experiment that did not make you look at the outside world differently?

Pound:

No.

Pavlish:

I have difficulty understanding the science of the gravitational redshift experiment.

Pound:

I do not think it is very complicated.

Pavlish:

I understand the redshift from expansion of the universe and the basics of the curvature of space time.

Pound:

We use The Principle of Equivalence. How gravity is the equivalent of an accelerated frame. That is all you need really.

Pavlish:

As a historian of science I am interested in the facts and in the science, but I also interested in good stories. That is part of how I got into physics in the first place.

Pound:

Good, good, good.

Pavlish:

Is there a kernel that you remember in your trip to Europe with your wife, Van Vleck and his wife that might be, say, in The New Yorker for its story-telling merit?

Pound:

I always just remember how the Van Vlecks who were much more used to traveling in Europe than were we stayed at The Lutasia [sp?], which is a Right Bank hotel in Paris. We were staying on the Left Bank, of course. So they would come over to visit us. That was sort of like going down to the Boondocks [sp?], but they never made that point, really.

Pavlish:

Did you do some touring in Paris between the conference talks?

Pound:

Yes. It happened there was a wonderful movie that we had seen here in Cambridge, called “Les Effants du Paridi,” “The Children of Paradise.” They showed it in Cambridge and we had become very impressed with it. It turned out when we got to Paris, they were showing that over on the Right Bank in Paris, but it was twice as long as it had been when shown here. It was a five-hour movie, I think. We made a special effort to go see that, that day. [laughs] I always remember the little hotel where we stayed. One of my colleagues in The Society of Fellows, Pierre Snyder, gave us the address of a hotel that we stayed at. We have always gone back there. It was called the D’ Isley. We stayed in that hotel and we have gone back there several times. We had a corner room on the second floor, which had French doors that could be opened out and you could look out onto the street. I have some photographs at home that I took out through that window. On one occasion there had been a rainstorm Rue Jacob [sp?] was all very wet and glowing the after-the-rain light. And there was a push cart with fruit coming down the street in the picture. I have always been rather proud of that picture. When I went back in the 1970s one year, I decided to try to get that room again because I would love to take a picture out that window. I figured it would look very different. Because there is not a car in sight in that 1948 picture; just the pushcart, with a man pushing that cart full of fruits and vegetables down the street. I thought that maybe I could get something more relevant and show how things had changed. I made a reservation at that same hotel. When I got there, they apologized to me to say they had found that they were over-booked and therefore they had moved my reservation over to the Hotel D’Angle [sp?] on the street that intersected there and goes up a ways. So, I spent the night there. But I went down to the hotel D’Isly in the morning and talked to the man at the desk. I said that the reason I wanted to be there was because of this picture I had from back in 1948 when I had been in that hotel. He was very friendly and he asked, would I like to see that room? I said, sure. He took me up to the room which had just been vacated by the people who had been using it overnight. The bed was still unmade. I went to the window and looked out and I could see right up the street to where I had stayed the night already. And so, he was very friendly, and helped me to see the same situation I had come to see. [laughs] So I took a picture. I have a Polaroid taken out that window to compare to the one taken in 1948. It sits on a chair in our living room at home. There is another picture; the one from 1948 is still there, which I have made a big print of. There are no cars in that picture but there are certainly parked cars all along the street in the 1970s picture.

Pavlish:

That is a beautiful story.

Pound:

I thought I would not be able to get a picture in the 1970s without the place being full of cars but there are not that many cars in the picture. I thought it would be just full.

Pavlish:

That certainly is the height of story-telling and a beautiful place to end the tape.

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