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szdaily -> Speak Shenzhen -> 
German refugee scientists
    2020-10-01  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

James Baquet

British and American technology helped bring an end to World War II in the Pacific. But those scientists were “standing on the shoulders of giants.” (This statement comes from a comment by Sir Isaac Newton, the English physicist, who was quoting an earlier statement: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants,” meaning that whatever truths he discovered were built on previous discoveries.)

The “giants” in this case were, surprisingly, scientists who had fled Hitler’s Germany. The most famous of these was also the most famous scientist of his day: Albert Einstein.

Like many of the other refugee scientists, Einstein was a Jew. A law passed in Germany in1933 said that anyone in a government position who had at least one Jewish grandparent (or who openly opposed the Nazi Party) was to be dismissed. Thousands of judges, police officers, teachers and professors fell into this category, and many of them left for the U.S., the U.K., and a number of other countries.

It has been referred to as an “intellectual exodus.”

Einstein was already visiting the U.S. when Hitler came to power, and chose not to return. Though he opposed the use of nuclear fission as a weapon, deeming it too dangerous and uncontrollable, still he encouraged American President Franklin D. Roosevelt to engage in such research because, as he stated in a letter, the Germans were already developing “extremely powerful bombs of a new type.”

He later told the American scientist Linus Pauling, “I made one great mistake in my life — when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but,” he continued, “there was some justification — the danger that the Germans would make them.”

Prominent refugees from the Nazis included three who had already won Nobel prizes: Einstein and James Franck, both of whom became U.S. citizens; and Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger, who worked in the U.K. and the U.S. before returning to Austria and then moving to Ireland, where he became a citizen. Five more refugees from the Nazis became Nobel laureates later.

Vocabulary:

Which word above means:

1. splitting the nucleus of an atom, causing a release of energy

2. proof that something is right

3. winners

4. of the mind

5. fired

6. ran away

7. considering, thinking to be

8. large movement of people out of a place

9. famous, important

10. person who leaves his or her country to gain safety from war or upheaval

ANSWERS: 1. fission

2. justification 3. laureates

4. intellectual 5. dismissed 6. fled 7. deeming 8. exodus 9. prominent 10. refugee

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