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Klaus Fuchs. The US Reactor Safeguard Committee


Richard Feynman and Arline Greenbaum. Klaus Fuchs' car
John Wheeler Scientist
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Feynman had, in his community on Long Island, the acquaintance of a young woman, Arline Greenbaum. And he would invite her down to Princeton from time to time for dances at the graduate college, and we put her up at our house. That poor girl had very little money, so to get instruction in art, which was what her favorite subject was, she gave piano instruction by day and had art instruction by night. And this wore her out, and she had got what the doctors, with their blundering diagnoses, did not realize until too late, was tuberculosis. She kindly gave us a couple of her drawings but I don't know what has happened to them now. But against the advice of his parents, they married, but to give her a place to live, which would be better for somebody in her condition, he was happy to accept the offer to go to New Mexico on the atomic project, then she could be in the Tuberculosis Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I recall, having stopped there once, a week before she died, seeing her lying there in the bed with the tubes feeding oxygen in. But the car which Richard Feynman, from time to time used to go from Los Alamos to Albuquerque and back to visit Arline, was the car of Klaus Fuchs, who turned out to be a spy.

John Wheeler, one of the world's most influential physicists, is best known for coining the term 'black holes', for his seminal contributions to the theories of quantum gravity and nuclear fission, as well as for his mind-stretching theories and writings on time, space and gravity.

Listeners: Ken Ford

Ken Ford took his Ph.D. at Princeton in 1953 and worked with Wheeler on a number of research projects, including research for the Hydrogen bomb. He was Professor of Physics at the University of California and Director of the American Institute of Physicists. He collaborated with John Wheeler in the writing of Wheeler's autobiography, 'Geons, Black Holes and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics' (1998).

Duration: 2 minutes, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008