Interview with Charles H. Bennett, IBM Fellow and Research Staff Member at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center, IBM Corporation. Bennett recounts his childhood in the Hudson Valley, and he describes his exposure to the earliest versions of computers. He explains that his first interest as an undergraduate at Brandeis was in biochemistry, and how his focus shifted to chemical physics by the time he became a graduate student at Harvard where he studied under David Turnbull. Bennett discusses his postdoctoral research with Aneesur Rahman at Argonne National Laboratory and his growing interest in using computers for data analysis. He describes the opportunity that led to his job offer at IBM and he surveys the field of quantum information in its earliest formation. Bennett discusses his involvement in quantum cryptography and its relation to the uncertainty principle. He explains the origins of quantum teleportation, and he reflects on some of the central mysteries of quantum mechanics. Bennett discusses his work on entanglement distillation, and he describes some of the early naysaying about quantum computation. He surveys his more recent interests in the quantum reverse Shannon theorem and rediscovering rate distortion theory. At the end of the interview, Bennett puts some of the “buzz” regarding quantum computing in historical perspective and he explains his interest in applying mathematical models to understand questions about equilibrium in cosmology.
In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for the American Institute of Physics, interviews John Fan, CEO and Founder of Kopin Corporation. Fan explains the origins of the name Kopin and discusses how the company has fared during the pandemic. He recounts his childhood first in Shanghai and then in Hong Kong and he discusses the opportunities leading to his undergraduate admission at UC Berkeley, where he studied electrical engineering. He describes a formative internship at the IBM Thomas Watson Lab. Fan explains his interest in pursuing a PhD at Harvard in Applied Physics and Engineering and he discusses the exciting technological developments coming online from Boston-area companies in the early 1970s. He describes his thesis research on vanadium oxide conducted under the direction of Bill Paul. Fan discusses his collaborations at MIT’s Lincoln Lab and the process of creating Kopin. He reflects on his long tenure as CEO of Kopin and emphasizes the central importance of business integrity as the key to longevity. Fan conveys his interest in wearable technologies and Kopin’s work at the cutting edge of this field, and he muses on the extent to which wearables are a harbinger for a fuller interface between biology and technology. He discusses the impact of supercomputing on Kopin’s operations, and he survey’s his contributions to LCD and LED technologies. Fan prognosticates on the long term impact of artificial intelligence and the utility of virtual reality, and at the end of the interview, he emphasizes that technology should always be applied to the fundamental effort to improving the lot of humanity.
In this interview Richard Garwin discusses topics such as: hydrogen bombs, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Enrico Fermi, nuclear weapons, uranium enrichment, nuclear reactions, Edward Teller, thermonuclear burning, Greenhouse George, Stanislaw Ulam, Soviet Union, Richard Rhodes, Marshall Rosenbluth, International Business Machines (IBM), IBM Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory, Project Lamplight.This interview is part of a collection of interviews on the life and work of Richard Garwin. To see all associated interviews, click here.
This short interview touches briefly on Erwin Hahn's education at Juniata College, Purdue University, and the University of Illinois; initial interest in nuclear magnetic resonance; his postdoctoral years with Felix Bloch's group at Stanford University; and his three years as a research scientist with IBM. Hahn also comments briefly on his consultantship with Hughes' maser group; his work on self-induced transparency; and his collaboration with Richard Brewer at IBM. Also prominently mentioned are: Sam Bass, Jesse Wakefield Beams, Felix Bloch, Nicolaas Bloembergen, Richard Brewer, John Clarke, Gene Commins, Harry Daghalian, Robert Henry Dicke, Gordon Gould, Donald W. Kerst, Theodore Maiman, Sam McCall, Mitsunaga, Arthur Leonard Schawlow, Norman Shiren, Charles Slichter, Dick Slusher, Russell Harrison Varian; Bell Telephone Laboratories, Columbia University, IBM Watson Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Science Foundation (U.S.), United States Navy, and University of Virginia.
The interview discusses Brodsky's family and education in Florida and Pennsylvania, and his undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania. He also received his Ph.D. in physics there under the supervision of Elias Burstein. He also discusses his participation in ROTC, and his subsequent work at military research facilities, including Frankford Arsenal, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, and the Army Night Vision Laboratory.
Brodsky began his work at IBM Research in 1968. There is substantial discussion of early research work at IBM, particularly on amorphous silicon, and his transition to management circa 1980, interactions with John Armstrong, James McGroddy, Ralph Gomory, and others.
There is some discussion of later involvement in consumer products development, particularly the patent for digital video recording technology.
Finally, he discusses his transition to Executive Director and CEO of the American Institute of Physics in 1993, including the mission of AIP and the move from New York to College Park.