Achieving the Rare: Robert F Christy's Journey in Physics by I-Juliana Christy

By I-Juliana Christy

Robert F Christy was once a mythical physicist, one of many key gamers in the most dramatic occasions of the twentieth century. He used to be a scholar of Oppenheimer, who known as him the best on the planet. He used to be an important member of Fermi's staff once they first unleashed the unheard-of energies of nuclear energy, growing the world's first nuclear reactor on December 2, 1942. at the ny venture he used to be the foremost physicist within the profitable attempt of the world's first atomic bomb, the Christy equipment, at Alamogordo on July sixteen, 1945. shortly he grew to become his skills to selling the peaceable makes use of of atomic strength. He effectively adverse atmospheric checking out of atomic bombs and fought nuclear proliferation, a crusade that at last ended in the SALT talks with the Soviet Union. His favourite topic was once astrophysics the place he made primary contributions to the knowledge of Cepheids, variable stars which are the most important distance symptoms within the universe.

Robert used to be both attention-grabbing as a guy. In his mid-50's he grew to become irresistably interested in an astrophysicist, yet they have been a continent and a iteration aside. close to his 60's they began a contented and pleasurable lifestyles jointly. He remained full of life either mentally and bodily into his 90's: he was once nonetheless galloping his horse at age ninety three.

Robert's tale is certainly one of overcoming hindrances, of wish, and of success.

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Recently he has taken up a position as a technical consultant with an international company. Robert said about his older son Ted: Ted tried just about everything. He started off [at Haverford College, a liberal arts college] in chemistry because he didn’t want to clash with me on physics. But when he was there he went into physics and tried that, and then into biology and tried biology. And I think he enjoyed biology more. He left Haverford and 44 Achieving the Rare went to Berkeley as a graduate student in biology in the late 60’s.

But it was not until probably 1946 or ’47 when a group with — I think it was Powell — in England, studying the mesons in cosmic rays, was able to find that the meson decayed and had a lifetime of some two microseconds actually. Later, it was then realized that the solution to this puzzle was that there were in fact two mesons, which are now called the mu meson (which is the one that I used to call the mesotron in the earlier days), and the pi meson (which is the one that is in fact involved with the 30 Achieving the Rare interactions in nuclei).

Even at UBC itself there were some amusing incidents. Once during Robert’s first year there was a meeting in the auditorium and a group of sophomores came in to disrupt it. Robert had stretched his long legs out into the aisle (he was nearly six and a half feet tall), and as the students came rushing down it they tripped over his legs and fell down in a heap. Chapter 2. The Formative UBC Years 17 Summer Jobs While at UBC Robert’s scholarship covered his tuition at UBC but not his living expenses.

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