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Dalmatian Pelicans-touch down

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Pen Portraits-Robert Browning
Robert Browning (1812-1889) Largely taught at home his genius had to find a clear direction. In the 1830s switching from verse drama he settled on dramatic monologue. His real talents lay in taking a single character and allowing him to discover himself to us by revealing more of himself in his speeches and as a result in Paracelsus (1835) we see him as a poet sure of his genius. It got encouraging reviews but the difficulty and obscurity of his long poem Sordello (1840) turned the critics against him, and for many years they continued to complain of obscurity even in his shorter, more accessible lyrics. Perhaps the pitfall lay in his mode of education as self taught and range of scholarship he acquired had overshot those of his reading public. In 1845 his encounter with Elizabeth Barrett at her father’s place at Wimpole Street was remarkable. Although she was an invalid and very much under the control of a domineering father, the two married in September 1846 and a few days later eloped to Italy, where they lived until her death in 1861. The years in Florence were among the happiest for both of them. Her love for him was demonstrated in the Sonnets from the Portugese, and to her he dedicated Men and Women, which contains his best poetry. Public sympathy for him after her death (she was a much more popular poet during their lifetimes) surely helped the critical reception of his Collected Poems (1862) and Dramatis Personae (1863). The Ring and the Book (1868-9). In his day he was ranked with Tennyson as the foremost poet.
Although he lived and wrote actively for another twenty years, the late ’60s were the peak of his career. His influence continued to grow, however, and finally lead to the founding of the Browning Society in 1881. He died in 1889, on the same day that his final volume of verse, Asolando, was published. He is buried in Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey.(ack:www.victorianweb.org)

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Hans Bethe (1906- 2005 )

 

Theoretical Physicist

 

He was a German and American nuclear physicist. He also credited as  the first scientist to come forward with a theory how the sun and other stars burn by nuclear fusion for which he won the Nobel Prize in  Physics(1967).

Along with Mathematician Peieris, Bethe showed that neutron could fuse with the proton which is the positively charged particle in the nucleus, to form a heavier stable particle deuterion and in the process releasing lot of energy. Neither chemical reactions nor gravitational energy can account for the enormous heat and light, which Bethe concluded as due to nuclear fusion as the basis of thermonuclear energy.

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He was a versatile theoretical physicist, Bethe also made important contributions to quantum electrodynamics, nuclear physics, solid-state physics and astrophysics. During World War II, he was head of the Theoretical Division at the secret Los Alamos laboratory, which developed the first atomic bombs. There he played a key role in calculating the critical mass of the weapons, and did theoretical work on the implosion method used in both the Trinity test and the “Fat Man” weapon dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. For most of his career, Bethe was a professor at Cornell University.He is one of the few scientists who can claim a major paper in his field every decade of his career, which spanned nearly 70 years. Freeman Dyson called Bethe the “supreme problem solver of the 20th century.”

He was also noted for his sense of humor and courage.

Bethe and Oppenheimer

 In 1954, Bethe testified on behalf of Oppenheimer during the latter’s high-profile security clearance hearing. Specifically, Bethe argued that Oppenheimer’s stances against developing the hydrogen bomb in the late 1940s had not hindered its actual development, a topic, which was seen as a key motivating factor behind the hearing. Bethe contended that the developments, which led to the successful Teller-Ulam design were a matter of serendipity and not a question of manpower or logical development of previously existing ideas. During the hearing, Bethe and his wife also tried hard to convince Edward Teller against testifying. However, Teller did not agree, and his testimony played a major role in the revocation of Oppenheimer’s security clearance. While Bethe and Teller had been on very good terms during the pre-war years, the conflict between them during the Manhattan Project, and especially during the Oppenheimer episode, permanently marred their relationship.(ack: wikipedia)

Trivia:On the day he learnt that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, he still insisted on teaching his regular physics class.Tailspin:

Science has always his alter ego, Technology like Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde and it is the latter who showed it could be applied to make lethal hydrogen bomb. It must be however said it held out the promise of unlimited supply of energy for the future. As to the verdict ‘whether it fulfilled in making a better world’ the jury is still out and no consensus has been reached. 

benny

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fighting eagles

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