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In this interview, William Davidon discusses his political and social activism and its relationship to his scientific career.
Early interest in physics. Education and career prior to joining JASON: two years in the Royal Air Force; switch from mathematics to physics after the war; enrollment at Cornell University in 1947; difference between American and British physics. Exposure to science policy (Federation of Atomic Scientists, Philip Morrison); U.S. citizen 1957. Motivation for joining JASON; JASON work vs. work in Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; work on active optics in JASON; technical tasks vs.
Education at Northwestern University and University of Chicago (Enrico Fermi); membership in Federation of American Scientists (FAS); founding member of JASON. Discussion of the beginnings of JASON (project 137); Wheeler's initiation laboratory, and Marvin Goldberger's (et al.) plan for a private consulting firm. Goldberger becomes the first chairman. Early JASON activities; Treiman's JASON activities in the first decade; reasons for leaving JASON in 1968. Rejoins JASON in 1979; extensive remarks on the changes within and around JASON.