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Talking with Alfred

Steven Shapin: Mr Loomis’s Obsession, 15 April 2004

Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science that Changed the Course of World War Two 
by Jennet Conant.
Simon and Schuster, 330 pp., £9.99, July 2003, 0 684 87288 9
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... fashion, philanthropy and philandering in ways that could have made him a character in a Henry James novel. More consequentially, Loomis’s mother was a Stimson, of the patrician New York banking and professional family. Loomis was extremely close to his older cousin Henry Stimson, who, after establishing himself as a corporate lawyer to the East Coast ...

Kant on Wheels

Peter Lipton: Thomas Kuhn, 19 July 2001

The Road since Structure: Philosophical Essays, 1970-93 
by Thomas Kuhn, edited by James Conant and John Haugeland.
Chicago, 335 pp., £16, November 2000, 0 226 45798 2
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Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times 
by Steve Fuller.
Chicago, 472 pp., £24.50, June 2000, 0 226 26894 2
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... At a New York cocktail party shortly after the war, a young and insecure physics postgraduate was heard to blurt out to a woman he had met there: ‘I just want to know what Truth is!’ This was Thomas Kuhn and what he meant was that specific truths such as those of physics mattered less to him than acquiring metaphysical knowledge of the nature of truth ...

At Los Alamos

Jeremy Bernstein, 20 December 2012

... member. Hall was also one of the three known Russian spies at Los Alamos. Of course, the chemist James Conant, who was president of Harvard, had been one of the people who ran the whole enterprise. I was closer to Ken Bainbridge, who had selected the test site and was in charge of arming the device that was successfully tested at Alamogordo on 16 July ...

Lectures about Heaven

Thomas Laqueur: Forgiving Germany, 7 June 2007

Five Germanys I Have Known 
by Fritz Stern.
Farrar, Straus, 560 pp., £11.25, July 2007, 978 0 374 53086 0
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... was nothing to stop him making up for this omission in his memoir. The ‘marvellously austere’ James Conant, a former president of Harvard, one of Stern’s mentors for a brief time and high commissioner in Germany after the war, a man whose vigour and knowledge, Stern says, were matched only by Arthur Burns in the 1970s and Richard Holbrooke in the ...

Paradigms Gone Wild

Steven Shapin, 30 March 2023

The Last Writings of Thomas S. Kuhn: Incommensurability in Science 
edited by Bojana Mladenović.
Chicago, 302 pp., £20, November 2022, 978 0 226 82274 7
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... chicken-shit.’ Then, while Kuhn was still a PhD student, Harvard’s president, the chemist James Bryant Conant, asked him to teach a new undergraduate course – science for non-scientists – conceived as a response to the new cultural and political importance of science in the post-Hiroshima world. ...

Maximum Assistance from Good Cooking, Good Clothes, Good Drink

Frank Kermode: Auden’s Shakespeare, 22 February 2001

Lectures on Shakespeare 
by W.H. Auden, edited by Arthur Kirsch.
Faber, 398 pp., £30, February 2001, 9780571207121
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... of person who becomes a statesman or a college president. (Mendelson describes his reaction to James Bryant Conant, the President of Harvard: ‘This is the real enemy.’) But he loves Falstaff, not in the old vacant, adoring, incomparable Sir John way, but as a man with a life, and an antitype to the ghastly ...

A Degenerate Assemblage

Anthony Grafton: Bibliomania, 13 April 2023

Book Madness: A Story of Book Collectors in America 
by Denise Gigante.
Yale, 378 pp., £25, January, 978 0 300 24848 7
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... Montgomery Wetmore took home Margaret Cavendish’s Philosophical Letters, which Lamb’s friend James Kenney had not only borrowed but taken to live with him at Versailles (Lamb had to make a special trip to recover it). The ‘Conant’ who picked up Cavendish’s World’s Olio was probably the philologist Thomas ...

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