Isidor Isaac Rabi

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I think physicists are the Peter Pans of the human race. They never grow up, and they keep their curiosity.

Isidor Isaac Rabi, born Israel Isaac Rabi, (July 29, 1898January 11, 1988) was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1944 for his discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance, which is used in magnetic resonance imaging. He was also one of the first scientists in the United States to work on the cavity magnetron, which is used in microwave radar and microwave ovens.


What more do you want, mermaids?
  • My mother made me a scientist without ever intending to. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school: So? Did you learn anything today? But not my mother. "Izzy," she would say, "did you ask a good question today?" That difference — asking good questions — made me become a scientist.
    • As quoted in "Great Minds Start With Questions" in Parents Magazine (September 1993).
The suspension of the clearance of Dr. Oppenheimer was a very unfortunate thing and should not have been done. In other words, there he was; he is a consultant, and if you don't want to consult the guy, you don't consult him, period. Why you have to then proceed to suspend clearance and go through all this sort of thing, he is only there when called, and that is all there was to it So it didn't seem to me the sort of thing that called for this kind of proceeding at all against a man who had accomplished what Dr. Oppenheimer has accomplished. There is a real positive record, the way I expressed it to a friend of mine. We have an A-bomb and a whole series of it, and we have a whole series of Super bombs, and what more do you want, mermaids? This is just a tremendous achievement. If the end of that road is this kind of hearing, which can't help but be humiliating, I thought it was a pretty bad show. I still think so.
  • Testifying during Oppenheimer's 1954 security hearing on why he felt the hearing was an unnecessary and inappropriate activity given the accomplishments of Oppenheimer. Testimony of I.I. Rabi in U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, _In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer_ (GPO, 1954), on 468. The line "and we have a whole series of Super bombs" was censored in the public version and only released in 2015.
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