"Life Views and Particle Physics"
Physicists have made very positive contributions to the "science and society" issues. In this brief essay I thought it would be interesting to describe the particle-physics subset, to see how they have reached beyond their discipline to make a difference in the areas of national security and energy/environmental matters. The basic conjecture is that those who think the deep physics thoughts have the basic tools to reach outside of themselves and consider science-related societal issues. This is not to say that one must have deep scientific thoughts to make a contribution, it only says scientific training can assist in this pursuit. Let us explore this conjecture by describing seven particle physicists who also did credible work on nuclear arms and energy/environment. This essay is not statistically-based, but rather it contains anecdotal observations of the lives of particle physicists that I have known over the past couple of decades. Because of the quality of their work, the American Physical Society has honored them with the Szilard and Burton-Forum awards.
W.K.H. (Pief) Panofsky obtained his PhD from Cal Tech and become a Professor at UC Berkeley and at Stanford University, first in the Physics Department and then at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. As graduate students, many of us first became aware of Pief because of his well-received text, Classical Electricity and Magnetism (with Melba Phillips). Panofsky carried SLAC from its basic concepts to a viable, two-mile accelerator, which he directed from 1961 to 1984. Panofskys contributions to particle physics convinced the American Physical Society in 1985 to create the Panofsky Prize "to recognize and encourage outstanding achievements in experimental particle physics." The Panofsky ratio results from one of his discoveries which determined the ratio of the electromagnetic interaction as compared to the strong interaction for pion-nucleon interactions. By using a negative pion beam stopping in a hydrogen target, two outgoing channels were observed, namely the electromagnetic n + g channel and the strong n + po => n + 2g channel channel. The experiment using a deuterium target established that the intrinsic parity of the pion is odd since a channel leading to two neutrons only was observed from capture in deuterium.
As a twenty-three year old, Panofsky first encountered nuclear weapons at Los Alamos. Panofsky was in an airplane above the Trinity test using monitoring devices he developed. During the Eisenhower Administration he chaired the technical working group on the detection of nuclear weapons exploded in space for the Geneva negotiations on the Limited Test Ban Treaty. In recent times Panofsky has chaired the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control from 1985 to 1993. Under his leadership, the Academy panel has made many useful recommendations on arms control and nonproliferation.
Arthur Rosenfeld obtained his PhD from the University of Chicago and became a professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley and the founding Director of the Center for Building Sciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is currently a Commissioner on the California Energy Commission. Rosenfeld coauthored the 1949 classic text Nuclear Physics with E. Fermi, J. Orear and R. Schluter. Rosenfeld led the particle physics group at Berkeley after Luis Alverez shifted his interests to astrophysics. After the 1973-74 oil embargo, the American Physical Society created a panel to study the question of enhanced energy efficiency from improved technologies. This issue captured Rosenfelds heart as he soon established what is todays foremost center for research on energy-savings in buildings and appliances, an area that consumes 40% of U.S. energy. The Center for Building Sciences and its predecessors with a staff of 200 soon developed successful products, each of which, as they "saturate" the market, will save about $5 billion/year, or 1% of the U.S. energy bill. The list includes electronic power supplies for fluorescent lamps (which in turn led to compact fluorescent lamps), low-emissivity windows and later selective windows, and the DoE-2 program for energy design of buildings. It also advanced understanding of indoor air quality and of cool roofs and shade trees to mitigate summer urban heat. For this work, Rosenfeld received the Carnot Award for Energy Efficiency from DOE in 1993.
Sid Drell obtained his PhD from the University of Illinois in 1949, became Professor of Physics at Stanford University in 1956, and Deputy Director at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center from 1969 to 1998. In 1970 Drell and Tung-Mow Yan developed the Drell-Yan process, which extended the parton/quark concept to time-like regions for the creation of lepton pairs as a result of quarkanti-quark annihilation in high energy hadron-hadron collisions. For collisions in which the lepton pair is produced with a large positive (time-like) invariant mass squared by an intermediate virtual photon, or W/Z weak vector boson, they derived the analogue to Bjorken scaling for deep inelastic lepton scattering. Drell and James Bjorken also authored the well-known book, Relativistic Quantum Mechanics and Fields.
Drell has held a wide variety of government positions over the years, including being the chair of the House Armed Services Panel on Nuclear Weapons Safety, the Senate Intelligence Committee Panel on Technology Review, and various JASON Panels, as well as being a member of the Presidents Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and Science Advisory Committee. Drells technical analysis on the safety and reliability of nuclear weapons played an important part in the U.S. decision to support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Among his awards are the Fermi and Lawrence Awards from the Department of Energy and the MacArthur prize fellowship.
Frank von Hippel received his PhD from Oxford in 1962 and is Professor of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. For ten years he worked mostly on tests of SU(3)xSU(3) symmetries and symmetry-breaking in low-energy interactions and also on neutrino-proton interactions. In 1974, von Hippel shifted his research interests to public policy and organized a group at Princeton on nuclear-security problems. Von Hippel is well known for his insightful calculations on public policy issues, but more importantly for working with the Soviet scientists who advised Gorbachev on initiatives to reduce nuclear tensions between the two superpowers. In many ways von Hippel was ahead of his time and the U.S government in making contacts with Russian scientists. At the end of the Cold War, the U.S. government used these contacts to help set the agenda for cooperative programs to help Russia safeguard and dispose of nuclear materials and downsize its nuclear-weapon complex.
Martin Perl obtained his PhD from Columbia University and is a Professor at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Perl is most famous for obtaining the Nobel Prize in 1995 for the discovery of the tau lepton, the heaviest known member of the electron-muon-tau sequence of charged leptons. This work also led to the discovery of the third generation of elementary particles. While Perl was doing his basic research on the tau lepton, he was one of the key persons in organizing the APSs Forum on Physics and Society. While Perl was chair of the Forum he organized workshops on graduate education held at Penn State University in 1974 and 1976. The proceedings from this conference gave excellent and still-timely advice to the physics profession.
Henry Kendall obtained his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a professor at MIT until he died in 1999. While at Stanford, Kendall used 20 GeV electrons to examine the internal structure of the proton. By examining the highly inelastic electron-proton scattering events, Kendall, Jerome Friedman and Richard Taylor observed copious events which indicated that the proton was made-up of point-like charges, or quarks. In 1990 Friedman, Kendall and Taylor were awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of quarks, which vindicated the standard model of particle physics. In the 1960s Kendall worked on classified work for the Pentagon, but ultimately withdrew from much of this work as he lead the Union of Concerned Scientists from 1973 to 1999. In this role, Kendall helped shepherd a number of arms control studies.
Kurt Gottfried obtained his PhD from MIT and is Professor Emeritus at Cornell University. He was chair of the Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society. His work in particle physics encouraged him to write the books, Concepts of Particle Physics (Vol. I/II, with V.F. Weisskopf) and Quantum Mechanics, Vol. I: Fundamentals. Gottfried (with J.D. Jackson) studied meson-nucleon reactions, devised sum rules for deep inelastic scattering, and was very active in unraveling the spectroscopy of heavy-quark bound states.
Gottfried has a long history of research and publication on arms control matters, publishing in the Scientific American and elsewhere on such topics as "Space-based Ballistic-Missile Defense," "No First Use of Nuclear Weapons," "Anti-satellite Weapons," and he directed a major study on Crisis Stability and Nuclear War (Oxford University Press). Gottfried worked diligently with his individual efforts as well as with the SOS Committee (Sakharov, Orlov and Sharansky) organization to support the human rights movement during the years of oppression in the Soviet Union. He is a cofounder of the Union of Concerned Scientists and is currently the chair of its board of directors.
` It has been a pleasure to know these particle physicists and write their brief biographies. They have given us important lessons, which must be written for the next generations before they pass on to a higher calling. They have been the thin blue line that has examined national security and energy/environment issues when they needed quantification. We rejoice that this fine group of particle physicists laid aside their busy cares to think about future implications. We of the physics community thank you and toast you wherever you are.
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC