Arthur Schawlow recalls how Isidor Isaac Rabi inspired him to make discoveries

Interviewed by Joan Bromberg, 1984

Click here to listen to the interview.



Schawlow:

My lab [at Columbia] was right next door to a lab occupied by one of Rabi's students, or some of Rabi's students, and in fact, there was a whole block of rooms occupied by Rabi's students, and this one of Townes' was at the end of them. And so, Rabi would come around once in a while, and of course, I was much intimidated by the great man, Nobel Prize winner and all that. He went off to Japan for a month, then he came around and he stuck his head in my door, and said, "Well, what have you discovered?" And this really struck me, because I never thought I could discover anything, you know. I might do something, but to discover something! It just sort of helped to raise your standards, and raise your sights, and so on: let's see if I can't pick out what's important to do, and not just do something.