Discovering the depths of an old friend, Victor Weisskopf…

Letters and notes from an old friend…

In 1976 Prof. Dr. Victor Weisskopf invited me to join him for lunch at the faculty club at MIT where I introduced him to a friend, a journalist with the Wall Street Journal. The agenda was to have a discussion about science and religion. Professor Weisskopf was an active member of the Pontifical Academy in the Vatican. The question to be addressed was, ” How can the chairman of the MIT Physics Department be working with the Pope? What are you doing there?”

Not too many months had passed since that lunch when Professor Weisskopf, at one time the Director General of CERN in Geneva (1961-1965), cleared a path so that in October 1977, I could go to meet with Dr. John S. Bell at CERN for the first time to discuss his work and the EPR paradox.

Upon my return, Professor Weisskopf invited me to debrief in his study in his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He introduced me to his artwork and we paged through his art books, particularly focusing on those images that grappled with a representation of infinity. Of course, I awkwardly did my best to promote my concept of a moment of perfection within space-time: continuity-order, symmetry-relations, and harmony-dynamics. Little did I know that it would take another 25 years to find a container for the universe.

Victor F. Weisskopf, MIT, 1979

In July 1979, my little display project about shared first principles between each of the academic disciplines went up under the MIT dome just off of 77 Massachusetts Avenue.

Then, rather symbolically, in 2012 I wrote my first note to Alan Guth who is known as the “Weisskopf Professor” because he holds MIT’s Victor F. Weisskopf Professor of Physics chair.

Then, in January 2013, meeting with MIT physics professor and Nobel Laureate, Frank Wilczek,  I was encouraged to continue to explore the meaning and value of the Planck base units.

So I readily say, “Thank you, MIT” for the likes of these people and all the others with whom I have corresponded and had discussions over the years, people like Jerome Friedman, Sigurdur Helgason, David Kaiser, Leonid LevitovAlan Lightman, Seth Lloyd, Joe Pickett (MIT OCW), Isadore Singer, and Rai Weiss, and then also for all my MIT friends from long ago, including Phil Morrison, Noam Chomsky, Marvin Minsky, Gian-Carlo Rota, and Jay W. Forrester.