Recollections of John Bell

Michael Nauenberg

Submitted to “Quantum Nonlocality and Reality – 50 Years of Bell’s theorem”

It is a pleasure to contribute to this anthology some of my recollections of John Bell.

I first met him at SLAC, when we were visitors during 1964-65 when he was on leave from CERN, and I was on leave from the Columbia University Physics Department. Soon I found that we had a common interest in the foundations of quantum mechanics, and we had lively discussions on this subject. We were concerned with the `reduction of the wave packet’ after an experiment in quantum mechanics has been completed, and wrote a tongue in cheek article on this subject for a festschrift in honor of Vicki Weisskpof [1], stating that

“We emphasize not only that our view is that of a minority but also that current interest in such questions is small. The typical physicist feels that they have long been answered, and that he will fully understand just how, if ever he can spare twenty minutes to think about it”

Now, 50 years later, this topic, known as the measurement problem. has become the source of numerous articles representing as many different viewpoints.

Nauenberg – Bell paper

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