Friends, I rejoined the SftP discussion list a day or two ago.
Today I read Michael's June 1, 2011e-mail and the brief exchange
between him and Stuart Newman, learning a bit more than I already knew
about Michael's dad. Maurice was a good person, and so was (or is)
Gertrude. They were both at the Champaign-Urbana campus when my wife
Freda and I were graduate students there more than a half century ago.
I'm reminded of the discrimination that women students faced by the
following bit from my website:
"Actually there was some instruction by a woman physicist at
Illinois. Occasionally, when Maurice Goldhaber couldn't get to one of
his lectures in nuclear physics, his wife Gertrude would conduct the
class in his place. And she did a fine job, although I believe it is
true that she did not, as Maurice did, know from memory every single
isotope of every element and the spin and parity and energy and
lifetimes and half widths and decay modes and probabilities for every
excited state of every isotope. Neither did any of the other physics
faculty. But it was their good fortune that they were not married to
Maurice, and therefore they were, unlike Gertrude, eligible to be on
the faculty. We were told that the anti-relative practice at the
University of Illinois was a carry-over from the depression."
I want to send my condolences to Michael. Nancy - my companian -
and I are now in our 13th year living in Oaxaca, after coming here in
1999 to "try it out for six months". Oaxaca is phenomenal -- I wish
all the people who are "Westernized" could experience the richness of
the truly loving culture that many of the indigenous peoples here
enjoy. There's lots of compassion, lots of sharing, lots of touching
-- so foreign to American social patterns.
Materially relatively impoverished by comparison, but much more
focussed than Americans on what makes life really rich. A friend said
to me as we were enjoying a beer together, "Somos chingados pero
felices." We're fucked but happy. And it's not untrue. I've learned
from them how wonderful life could be for everyone if we weren't
obsessed with "winning".
Michael, you wrote "Iím looking for a replacement. Iíd like to
retire from being the moderator of the list by September 1, this year,
or sooner if possible. Nominations havenít been forthcoming. Please
step up; this means you!" I know you weren't thinking of me, but if
you're still without a replacement, I'd be willing to take it on. Like
your dad, I'm opposed to censorship, and would not seek to control
what folks can and cannot post. For me it would, I think, be a
minimally demanding responsibility. Sincerely --George