Einstein and the Nazi Scientist Who Hated Him

Bruce Hillman ’69

Bruce Hillman ’69

Germany in the first half of the 20th century often is associated with the Nazi movement that ultimately ravaged the country. In the world of physics, however, it had become a battleground for opposing schools of thought: One side embraced experimental physics, which was based on the work of Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton and driven by the scientific method; the other believed in theoretical physics, which revolved around theories that sometimes were untested experimentally and was grounded in the work of Albert Einstein.

For Philipp Lenard, the recipient of the 1905 Nobel Prize for physics and an adviser to Adolf Hitler, the conflict between experimental and theoretical physics was personified in his hatred for Einstein. In The Man Who Stalked Einstein: How Nazi Scientist Philipp Lenard Changed the Course of History, Bruce Hillman ’69 and co-authors Birgit Ertl-Wagner and Bernd C. Wagner recount the events that led to Einstein’s rise, his rivalry with Lenard, and his eventual self-exile from his homeland, bringing to life the “smoldering, personal cold war” between the two men. The book’s publication coincides with the 60th anniversary of Einstein’s death. Continue reading

Names in the News: Advice for Grads from Schmidt ’76, Obama ’85, Kopp ’89, and More

Former Environmental Protection Agency administrator LISA JACKSON *86, now the vice president of environmental initiatives at Apple Inc., will deliver Princeton’s Baccalaureate address at the University Chapel May 31. But Jackson is not the only alum speaking to graduates this spring. Below, read commencement advice for the Class of 2015 from six other Princetonians.

Eric Schmidt ’76 delivered the Commencement address at Virginia Tech. (Courtesy Virginia Tech)

Eric Schmidt ’76 delivered the Commencement address at Virginia Tech. (Courtesy Virginia Tech)

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At Virginia Tech, Google chairman ERIC SCHMIDT ’76, drew on inspiration from Metallica lead singer James Hetfield, who has said, “I choose to live, not just exist.” Schmidt expanded on that idea: “Choosing to live means life is not lived in the glow of a monitor. Life is not a series of status updates. Life is not about your friend count — it’s about the friends you can count on.”

Be True to Yourself

In more than six years as first lady, MICHELLE OBAMA ’85 told Tuskegee University graduates, she has endured a range of criticism and name-calling — some of it particularly cruel — but she came to realize it was “just noise.” “It did not define me,” she said. “It didn’t change who I was. And most importantly, it couldn’t hold me back.  … So, graduates, that’s what I want for all of you.  I want you all to stay true to the most real, most sincere, most authentic parts of yourselves.” Continue reading

#ThrowbackThursday: Princeton Reunions, 1915

(PAW Archives)

(PAW Archives)

The June 16, 1915, issue of PAW featured this photo of Saturday evening at Reunions — the first of its kind in the magazine. Then, as now, alumni were eager to come back to Old Nassau. William H. Vail 1865 walked a symbolic 50 miles from his home in Newark to celebrate his 50th reunion. (“His story is attested by numerous automobilists who offered him a lift at different points along the journey,” one reader wrote in a letter to the editor.)

In the P-rade, the younger classes wore creative costumes — the Class of 1912 in artists’ smocks and berets, the Class of 1910 in Greek garb — while the older classes donned blazers and straw boaters. And the seniors were on hand to witness it all. Dean Christian Gauss relayed the story of one graduate in an essay for PAW. “It makes me feel pretty blue to think that very soon this class, with which I have spent the best four years of my life, will break up and never meet again with all present,” the senior told Gauss. “It sort of breaks you up — you can’t help it. I hate to think of leaving them, but I am anxious to get started.”

Tiger of the Week: Four-Star General Mark Milley ’80

Gen. Mark Milley ’80 (U.S. Army)

Gen. Mark Milley ’80 (U.S. Army)

Gen. Mark Milley ’80 has been described as “an Ivy League graduate and career grunt” (Army Times), “a soldier’s soldier” (defense adviser Maren Leed), and “a warrior and a statesman” (Defense Secretary Ashton Carter). He’s also Princeton’s first four-star general and, pending Senate approval, will soon head the Army as its next chief of staff. Carter introduced Milley as President Barack Obama’s choice for the post at a press conference in Washington May 13.

Milley, a politics major, ROTC cadet, and varsity hockey player at Princeton, was commissioned after graduation. In the last decade, he served on the secretary of defense’s staff at the Pentagon and oversaw NATO operations in Afghanistan. He currently directs the U.S. Army Forces Command, known as Forscom, the Army’s largest command. Based in Fort Bragg, N.C., Forscom includes more than 750,000 active-duty, reserve, and National Guard soldiers.

In a 2014 interview with PAW contributor E.B. Boyd ’89, Milley spoke about the pressures of being responsible for the lives of soldiers, specifically the 100,000 NATO troops who were under his command in Afghanistan:

“It’s incredibly high stress. You’re looking at four hours of sleep, maybe five on a good night. Usually it’s interrupted. I had 122 [U.S. and NATO soldiers] killed in action while I was over there, and several hundred more seriously wounded. That weighs on you heavily — every day, day in and day out — and it’s never far from your mind. But through training, through experience, through a strong sense of purpose and a strong sense of the moral rightness of your cause, you learn to deal with the stress.”  Continue reading

Without the Wa: Muller ’05 Sings a Nostalgic Tribute

Where’s the Wa?

Reunions visitors may be asking that question next week as they wander west in search of sandwiches and snacks from the familiar Wawa convenience store on University Place. The store relocated in November to a new home at the new Dinky station.

One alumna — Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Nikki Muller ’05 — even composed a song about the demise of the old Wa, released earlier this month:

Muller, whose song was inspired by a story in the Dec. 3 PAW, says that Wawa was her “go-to place” during stressful, sleep-deprived stretches or after a night out on the Street. She will be back for her 10th reunion next week and plans to check out the new Wa.

After Reunions, Muller and collaborators from her musical improv team are slated to debut a new musical, Timeheart, at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. For information about show times and tickets, visit hollywoodfringe.org.

Duke Eliminates Princeton Women’s Lacrosse in NCAA Quarterfinals

Erin McMunn ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Erin McMunn ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Erin Slifer ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Erin Slifer ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

It was an odd way to go out, even though the No. 11 women’s lacrosse team was facing stiff competition in No. 5 Duke. The Tigers were held to just three points in their NCAA quarterfinal loss, ending a tournament run and a season that had been marked by offensive prowess.

Midfielder Olivia Hompe ’17 scored one of Princeton’s three goals, but the Blue Devils managed to silence senior standout Erin Slifer ’15, who had 41 goals on the season and moved into second place on Princeton’s all-time assists leaderboard Saturday. Princeton’s all-time assist leader, attacker Erin McMunn ’15, added another to her total but also failed to find the net herself.

The Tigers did not lose for lack of possession. Princeton scooped up ground balls left and right, particularly during the first half, and had just four turnovers to Duke’s seven in the second. The problem was simply that the Blue Devils never gave them an easy shot. Time and time again, the Tigers took possession and circled the crease, but even when they found an inroad Duke’s sticks were right there to break up the attempt.

“They were starting well, they were really out on our hands,” head coach Chris Sailer said. “We did get opportunities, but we just weren’t able to get great shots off.”

Duke’s offense did not fare much better. Ellie DeGarmo ’17 played the entire game in the net for the Tigers and notched eight saves, holding the Blue Devils to three points in the first half. Continue reading