OSA STORIES

OSA members share about their work, sources of inspiration, tales from recent events, the value of OSA membership, and more.

 

 

Francisco Duarte

One evening, the 1st week of December, 1992, in Houston, Texas, I had the good fortune of having a long conversation with Willis E. Lamb on the subject of quantum measurements. We had been introduced by Marlan Scully and, at the time, I had initiated an N-slit laser interferometric measurement program back at the Research Laboratories of Eastman Kodak, in Rochester, NY. Quantum measurements was a favorite subject of his. I had been introduced to quantum physics via Dirac’s notation by John C. Ward, a friend of Lamb’s. Thus, towards the end of our conversation the topic drifted towards Dirac and somehow the subject of the monopole came up. Dirac had passed away a few years earlier and I said something along the lines… “It is a pity that Dirac went away not knowing if he was right… or wrong.” Lamb looked back at me with a spark in his eyes, smiled, and replied… “He knows… he knows.” Back at Rochester, about a week later, I received a two page letter from Lamb together with a few of his reprints on the subject. His letter was almost a technical summary of our conversation and included a number of valuable teachings and suggestions.

Credit: Francisco J. Duarte