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joel hanes

You don't mention it, so I'd be remiss if I didn't provide a reference to the famous story about a much-cited paper in physics. Alpher and Gamow collaborated on the research, on the nucleosynthesis of elements in the cores of stars, and when it came time to publish, Gamow added Bethe (who IIRC knew nothing about this shenanigan) to the list of authors, so that the official cite is Alpher, Bethe, Gamow.

So your Pop was citing Gamow's famous joke.


The Alpher-Bethe-Gamow paper was the first to present the big-bang theory of the origin of the universe. The story is that Alpher and Gamow recruited Bethe as the missing letter.

Uncle Merlin

That looks like a good read! I attended a Bethe lecture I am proud to say. It was one of the few times my Dad took me to something special so its also a fond memory for me. Hans Bethe was working at the GE Lab for a short stint and he was giving a general lecture to the whole assembly in the auditorium. My Dad kept leaning in as Bethe spoke telling me how he had advanced our understanding atomic structure. As I recall he was a very mild speaker his manner was not overbearing yet he had the whole room.

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