David Kaiser

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G eorge Gamow, the wisecracking theoretical physicist who helped invent the Big Bang model of the universe, was fond of explaining what he liked best about his line of work: He could lie down on a couch and close his eyes, and no one would be able to tell whether he was working or not. A fine gag, but a bad model for thinking about the day-today work that(More)
This paper analyzes the choice of academic scientists to commercially exploit their research. I build a model of the timing of entry into commercial activities by an academic research team, and analyze the returns and costs of these activities. In order to focus on the peculiarities of academic entrepreneurship as opposed to industrial entrepreneurship, I(More)
Historians and sociologists have highlighted the importance of skills, local practices and material culture in their studies of experimental sciences. This paper argues that the acquisition and transfer of skills in theoretical sciences should be understood in similar terms. Using the example of Feynman diagrams – first introduced by the US theoretical(More)
The influential Berkeley theoretical physicist Geoffrey Chew renounced the reigning approach to the study of subatomic particles in the early 1960s. The standard approach relied on a rigid division between elementary and composite particles. Partly on the basis of his new interpretation of Feynman diagrams, Chew called instead for a "nuclear democracy" that(More)
The author hereby grants to MIT permission to reproduce and to distribute publicly paper and electronic copies of this thesis document in whole or in part in any medium now know or hereafter created. ABSTRACT This thesis is a biographical snapshot of physicist Herman Feshbach (1917-2000). Herman Feshbach was a nuclear physics that spent over three-quarters(More)