Interview with Wit Busza, Francis L. Friedman Professor of Physics Emeritus at MIT. He recounts his birth in Romania as his family was escaping Poland at the start of World War II, and his family's subsequent moves to Cyprus and then to British Palestine, where he lived until he was seven, until the family moved to England. He describes the charitable circumstances that allowed him to go to Catholic boarding school, his early interests in science, and the opportunities that led to his undergraduate education in physics at University College in London, where he stayed on for his PhD while doing experiments at CERN working with Franz Heymann. Busza describes the development of spark chambers following the advances allowed by bubble chambers, and his thesis research using the Chew-Low extrapolation to calculate the probability that the proton is a proton plus a pi-zero. He describes meeting Martin Perl and the opportunities that led to his postdoctoral position at SLAC, which he describes in the late 1960s as being full of brilliant people doing the most exciting physics and where he focused on rho proton cross-sections. Busza describes meeting Sam Ting at SLAC which led to Busza's faculty appointment at MIT, where he discovered his talent for teaching. He discusses the complications associated with the discovery of the J/psi and his developing interest in relativistic heavy ion physics, the E178 project at Fermilab to examine what happens when high energy hadrons collide, and the E665 experiment to study quark propagation through nuclear matter. Busza describes the import of the RHIC and PHOBOS collaborations, and he discusses his return to SLAC to focus on WIC and SLD. He describes the global impact of the LHC and CERN, and his satisfaction at being a part of what the DOE called the best nuclear physics group in the country. In the last part of the interview, Busza reflects on the modern advances in atomic and condensed matter physics, which were inconceivable for him to imagine at the beginning of his career, he describes the considerations leading to his retirement, and why, if could re-live his career, he would think harder about being a theorist.
In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Samuel Aronson, Director Emeritus of Brookhaven National Laboratory. He discusses his more recent work as director of the RIKEN Institute and his involvement with the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium. Aronson recounts his childhood on Long Island, and he describes the impact of Sputnik on him personally and on the country generally. He describes his undergraduate education at Columbia and the relationship he developed with Mel Schwartz, and he discusses Schwartz’s collaborations with Leon Lederman and Jack Steinberger. Aronson describes his decision to pursue his graduate degree at Princeton, and his interest in working at the Princeton-Pennsylvania Accelerator Center. He discusses his involvement in the study of the decay of neutral K mesons into a pion and an electron and a neutrino. Aronson recounts his work with Valentine Telegdi at the Fermi Institute, and he describes Telegdi’s research at the ZDS in Argonne in kaons. He discusses his faculty appointment at the University of Wisconsin and his research on neutral kaons, and he describes the fundamental and concurrent work going on at Brookhaven and SLAC. Aronson explains the origins of his collaboration with Ephraim Fischbach on the Fifth Force, and he describes his attraction in moving to Brookhaven where the ISABELLE proton-proton collider was in development. He describes the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and PHENIX program, and he explains his promotions and increasing responsibilities culminating in his being named director of Brookhaven. Aronson discusses the rise of cosmology from within the field of particle physics, and he describes the role of DOE in supporting basic science at the lab. At the end of the interview, Aronson shares his views on the future of particle physics and some major outstanding questions that will continue to animate the field.