Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
John Bell and I met and became acquainted in 1967, when I went to CERN for a year-long research visit, soon after finishing my doctoral studies a Cornell. At that time, particle physics theory was dominated, as it happens from time-to-time, by a single idea; there was broad agreement among theorists what the important problems are and how they should be solved — these days one hardly remembers the details of that program. But attaching my scientific activity to a consensus was not my ambition; I had much admired the independent attitude of one of my research supervisors at Cornell, Ken Wilson. So I looked among the staff at CERN for someone who pursued interesting issues that were neither ’central’ nor ’important’, and I was delighted to find such a scientist in John Bell. Moreover, he was generous in giving his time; he tolerated my coming to his office and appeared willing to discuss without limit. I appreciated the magnitude of his generosity only years later when I too became installed in an office and people began coming in and taking my time to talk about things.
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