Stephen Hawking was one of the greatest experts on gravity and cosmology of the twentieth century. Graham met him (over lunch) three times but never spoke to him – the awe was too great. But in the 1970s Graham did once come close to putting him in hospital ……
Finn Aaserud has done more than anyone in the past fifty years to illuminate the memory of the most revered Danish theoretical physicist of the twentieth century. Following Finn’s recent retirement, dozens of colleagues and peers gathered on Monday afternoon last week to thank him for his great service and to wish him well for the future.
‘He was probably the most influential person of my life’, Graham said during his remarks at the funeral of the quantum mechanic John Bendall this week (Order of Service (PDF)). Bendall was the mathematical physicist who first introduced the fourteen-year-old Graham to the work of Paul Dirac, as Graham described in The Strangest Man (page 420).
‘If I had to pick one event that changed the course of my life’, Graham said, ‘it was when John opened the door of his house and we began to talk.’
Graham’s praise of Wolfgang Pauli’s ‘lovely sex’ in the brothels of Hamburg has recently drawn criticism from on-line commentators. This followed the live broadcast of Radio 4’s In Our Time about Pauli’s Exclusion Principle, a programme that also featured the physicist Frank Close and the historian of science Michela Massimi.