Notes from Evan Smith
"Since the last time science crossed my mind in a serious way was in the seventh grade, the prospect of talking to a Nobel Prize-winning physicist was scary to say to the least. For all I know about the subject, I may as well been interviewing the captain of a curling team. But fortunately, Steven Weinberg made it easy, as he always does, when he stopped by recently for a chat,. So diverse are his interests, so casual and comfortable is he in conversation, that you almost forget you’re sitting across from one of the smartest men in Texas, if not to say on this planet. And he makes you feel smart too, since—and this is rare for many high-falutin’ academics—he’s not the lecturing or hectoring sort. Whether the topic is everything that’s wrong with manned space flight, his work as a supporter of the late, lamented Superconducting Supercollider, the paltry level of funding for research at the state university level or—a current favorite—religion vs. science, 74-year-old Weinberg is happy to engage or be engaged in a spirited debate.
Born in New York City, a graduate of Cornell University and Princeton University, where he earned his Ph.D. in physics, Weinberg taught has at Columbia University, the University of California at Berkeley, and M.I.T., as well as Harvard University two different times. In 1982, he accepted a position on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, where his equally smart wife, Louise, had been teaching at the law school. Twenty-five years later, they’re both still fixtures on the Forty Acres, and Steve—now the Josey Regental Chair in Science—is appropriately something of an eminence. Three years ago, when he received the Benjamin Franklin Medal from the American Philosophical Society, he was said to be 'considered by many to be the preeminent theoretical physicist alive in the world today.' That he’s right here among us is one of the many reasons we should be thankful to live in Texas."
- Evan Smith, Texas Monthly Talks, Broadcast 2.8.07