The first blog entirely devoted to the history of physics.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pauli's opinion of various physicists

''I related to Feynman other anecdotes about physicists. Some of these were Pauli stories. I told him what I had learned from Pauli when I asked him about his opinion of various physicists. Feynman especially enjoyed the following remarks of Pauli. About Oppenheimer, Pauli had said: 'He always acts like the caricature of God in action!' About Hermann Weyl: 'One must first penetrate his fa├žade [literally 'makeup', Schminke in German] in order to understand his thoughts.' About Leon Rosenfeld: 'He is the choirboy of the Pope [Niels Bohr]!' About Freeman Dyson, which I had heard from Telegdi: 'Everyone wants to learn something from me; no one wants to teach me anything. I had hoped Dyson would do it, but he's only a mathematician!' By now, Feynman was becoming quite eager: 'Did you ask Pauli about me?' I said, 'Yes.' 'Well, what did he say?' I replied, 'When I asked Pauli what he thought of you, he was amused, and replied, "Oh, Feynman, that Feynman, he talks like a gangster!"' This story made Feynman's day; nothing could have pleased him more.''

In Mehra, The Beat of a Different Drum, p. xxix.

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