Renormalization (Physics)

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Teleconference
Abstract

In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Anthony (Tony) Zee, professor of physics and a member of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara. He recounts his family’s escape from revolutionary mainland China to Hong Kong, and then to Brazil where his father pursued economic opportunity in Sao Paulo. Zee explains the opportunities leading to his undergraduate study at Princeton, where John Wheeler was a formative influence, and he describes the connection from Wheeler to Steve Weinberg that allowed him to pursue his graduate studies at Harvard where ultimately he studied under Sidney Coleman. He discusses his postgraduate work at the Institute for Advanced Study where he worked with Michael Green and Bob Carlitz on hadron-hadron scattering. Zee explains his reasons for accepting his first faculty appointment at Rockefeller University and all of the contemporary excitement surrounding asymptotic freedom and renormalization. He describes his return to Princeton, where he stayed until he was denied tenure and he moved to Penn. Zee explains the origins of the ITP (before Kavli’s endowment made it the KITP) and his interest in coming to Santa Barbara after a brief appointment at the University of Washington. At the end of the interview, Zee describes the pleasures of writing popular physics books, he emphasizes the importance of reinventing oneself within and beyond the broad world of physics, and he shares that his big non-scientific ambition is to have a cartoon submission accepted in the New Yorker.    

Interviewed by
Tian Yu Cao
Interview date
Abstract

In this interview, K. G. Wilson discusses the development of the renormalization group. Topics discussed include: Andrew Pickering; the Kondo problem; Ken Johnson; Francis Low; Freeman Dyson; field theory; A. A. Katanov; Michael Fisher; G. Jona-Lasinio; Carlo Di Castro; Franz Wegner; Alexander Patashinski; Valery Pokrovsky; Curtis Callan; Kurt Symanzik; University of Washington Department of Physics; research on teaching physics; s-matrix theory; Peter Carruthers.

Interviewed by
Lillian Hoddeson
Interview date
Location
Hischegg, Austria
Abstract

In this interview, Konrad Bleuler discusses his memories of Wolfgang Pauli. Topics discussed include: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich; quantum physics; Werner Heisenberg; mathematics; Gregor Wentzel; Ernst Stueckelberg; Friedrich Dürrenmatt; renormalization.