Biographical

Biographical

M y curriculum vitae has been on my personal page of the University of Lausanne’s website for a long time. Few people had looked at it so far. Suddenly, with the news of the Nobel Prize, it became a worldwide buzz almost overnight. All of this because people found it, let’s say, “unusual”. But why…

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Biographical

My youth I was born in 1940 in Logan, Utah, USA, a college town of 16,000, nestled in a verdant valley in the Rocky Mountains. My father, David Wynne Thorne, was a professor of soil chemistry at the Utah Agricultural College (since renamed Utah State University). Over his lifetime he had a major impact, through…

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Biographical

R eflecting on my background, it is not at all apparent why my life did not go in other directions, rather than my becoming a physicist, and one dedicated to an academic career and pursuing research on some of the most fundamental problems in nature. My families’ backgrounds are not very well documented, but I…

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Biographical

My father came from a well-off German Jewish family in Berlin with connections to the Rathenau family that had begun the Allgemeine Electrische Gesellschaft (AEG). As a young man he had become an ardent and idealistic communist. After finishing medical school he worked in a communist workers’ hospital as a neurologist in Berlin. My mother…

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Biographical

Niels Ryberg Finsen was born on December 15, 1860, at Thorshavn in the Faroe Islands. His father, Hannes Steingrim Finsen, belonged to an Icelandic family with traditions reaching back to the 10th century, and occupied prominent (from 1871 the highest) positions in the administration of the Faroe Islands. The mother, Johanne Formann, was born in…

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Biographical

I was born on the 8th of October 1918 into a wealthy family in Lemvig, a town in the western part of Denmark. The town is nicely situated on a fjord, which runs across the country from the Kattegat in East to the North Sea in West. It is surrounded by hills, and is only…

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Biographical

The first 21 years of my life were spent in Provo, Utah, then a city of about 15,000 people, beautifully situated at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. Hardy Mormon pioneers had settled the area only 70 years before my birth in 1918. Provo was a well-designed city with stable neighbourhoods, a pride in its…

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Biographical

A typical question I am often asked as a Nobel Laureate in physics is “what brought you to physics?” I am not sure but I do know that in school in geography when looking at the presentations of the planets orbiting around the sun I asked myself: “What is the reason for this strange behavior?”…

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Biographical

I was born in Helsinki in 1949. My sister Marianne was born in 1946. Our parents were married when the war against the Soviet Union ended in 1944. My father had spent five years on the front like so many young Finnish men. The post-war years were challenging socially and economically. The government had to…

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Biographical

On my mother’s side I come from Midlands engineers and on my father’s from tenant farmers near Oxford. As far back as I remember, and earlier, I was an artisan, a maker and doer. Mechanically minded, my parents said. Ted, my father, was an Anglican priest; after serving as an army chaplain in the second…

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