The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Citation of Books Detail

Click here to return to the main list

Author QuotedNiels Blaedel
Title QuotedHarmony and Unity: The Life of Niels Bohr
Date (Year/Month/Day)1967/06/03
Imprint 
QuotationLast evening: eating sardines and drinking a couple of cans of Schlitz, and reading the life of Niels Bohr, I was again astonished at the "nearness" of the whole development of atomic physics, to my own life. Things going on at the Cavendish Lab at Cambridge when I was there. In January 1939, when I was taking my exams for the M.A. and had presented my thesis, the uranium atom was split in an experiment at Columbia (Jan. 25) and I knew nothing about it (though it got into the papers). At that time there was an immense ferment going on in Germany and the U.S. over the atom. Bohr had just arrived for 3 months at Princeton. Everyone was splitting the uranium nucleus and wondering if Hitler was on the way to producing a bomb. I had no idea that it went back that far. A sense of awe at the fact that people like Bohr were so much at the heart of what was happening - so truly "prophetic." For this is a truly modern kind of prophetism: I mean in men like Bohr, [Werner] Heisenberg, [Leo] Szilard etc. who grasped all the consequences of their discoveries in a widely human way.
Quotation SourceLearning to love: exploring solitude and freedom. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 6, 1966-1967.; Edited by Christine M. Bochen. / [San Francisco] : HarperCollins. 1997, p. 243-44
Link to Merton's Copy