6 June 1933|
Buchs, St. Gallen, Switzerland
|Died||16 May 2013
|Known for||Co-inventor of Scanning tunneling microscope|
|Notable awards||Nobel Prize in Physics (1986)
Elliott Cresson Medal (1987)
The scientists do not get enough help, enough encouragement, to change their field from time to time because the pressure is too high or is to perform something. And once you start in a new field, you are a nobody to start with, you see.
Even in technology, you have the freedom to solve a problem your way, you see. But it naturally sits in a certain framework whereas, in the physics, everybody had to come up with his own idea what he was going to do.
Science means constantly walking a tightrope between blind faith and curiosity; between expertise and creativity; between bias and openness; between experience and epiphany; between ambition and passion; and between arrogance and conviction – in short, between an old today and a new tomorrow.
Scientific fraud, plagiarism, and ghost writing are increasingly being reported in the news media, creating the impression that misconduct has become a widespread and omnipresent evil in scientific research.
In all the years with IBM Research, I have especially appreciated the freedom to pursue the activities I found interesting and greatly enjoyed the stimulus, collegial cooperation, frankness, and intellectual generosity of two scientific communities, namely in superconductivity and critical phenomena.
In 1974/75, I spent a sabbatical year with Professor Vince Jaccarino and Dr. Alan King at the University of California in Santa Barbara to get a taste of nuclear magnetic resonance. We solved a specific problem on the bicritical point of MnF2, their home-base material. We traded experience, NMR, and critical phenomena.
In summer 1961, Rose-Marie Egger became my wife, and her stabilizing influence has kept me on an even keel ever since. Our honeymoon trip led us to the United States where I spent two post-doc years working on thermal conductivity of type-II superconductors and metals in the group of Professor Bernie Serin at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
The new generation of researchers must be given the skills and values – not just scientific ideals, but also awareness of human weaknesses – that will enable it to correct its forebears' mistakes.
End of the sixties, Keith Blazey interested me to work on GdAlO3, an antiferromagnet on which he had done optic experiments. This started a fruitful cooperation on magnetic phase diagrams, which eventually brought me into the field of critical phenomena.