Science: Time to Leave the House

The short (5 ft. 4 in.), white-haired professor perched on a small stool, his feet hooked in the lower rung, his hands extracting scrawled lecture notes from a manila envelope. Isidor Isaac Rabi (rhymes with Bobby) gazed stolidly up at his 30 selected students in Columbia University's tiered, 286-seat Pupin physics lecture hall. His eyes suddenly wrinkled with laughter, self-inspired by a quick quip; then his voice turned passionate as he summed up his lifetime concern that science "should be the foundation for the community of man."

On that theme, Physicist Rabi, 68, who was born in the old Austro-Hungarian empire, grew...

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