My father and mother treated us children as intellectual equals, thus greatly bolstering our self-confidence and our interest in ideas of all kinds.
Reading history, one rarely gets the feeling of the true nature of scientific development, in which the element of farce is as great as the element of triumph.
The progress of science is much more muddled than is depicted in most history books. This is especially true of theoretical physics, partly because history is written by the victorious.
When I was at Berkeley, the framework of quantum field theory could calculate the dynamics of electromagnetism. It could roughly describe the motion of the weak nuclear force, radiation. But it hit a brick wall with the strong interaction, the binding force.
Actually, I was more or less determined to be a theoretical physicist at the age of thirteen.
Fortunately, nature is as generous with its problems as Nobel with his fortune. The more we know, the more aware we are of what we know not.
I had set out to disprove quantum field theory - and the opposite occurred! I was shocked.
I strongly believe that the fundamental laws of nature are not emergent phenomena.
I was born in Washington, D.C., on February 19, 1941, the eldest of four sons.
Indeed, the most important product of knowledge is ignorance.
Since the founding of quantum mechanics in the 1920s, theoretical physics had nurtured an extremely radical tradition.
The early 1960s, when I started my graduate studies at UC Berkeley, were a period of experimental supremacy and theoretical impotence.
Theorists can be wrong; only nature is always right.
Theorists have wonderful ideas which take years and years to be verified.
From the age of 13, I was attracted to physics and mathematics. My interest in these subjects derived mostly from popular science books that I read avidly.
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