I was a student at the same time as Yuval Neeman, and our general supervisor was Abdus Salam. When I returned from Princeton in 1961, Yuval was putting the finishing touches to his thesis. I thought it was a very beautiful piece of work. The particles were fitted to various representations of SU(3), and none was left out.
Ne'eman joined us late in the first term of the session 1957-1958, and had missed the starts of all the courses. He asked me if he could copy MY notes. I was a bit dubious, since I might never see them again. In fact, he returned them the next day. I could not believe that he had copied them out so quickly; he must have been writing all night. Then he told me his secret: he had used a PHOTOCOPIER, an unheard-of luxury.
Salam had asked me to arrange the tea for our research group every day at four o'clock. I collected one shilling from every research student and member of staff at the Tuesday seminars, which was enough for one week's sub to the tea-club. In spite of Salam's request that everyone come to tea every day, there were enough slackers that I was able to make a saving, and by Christmas I had 30 shillings left over. Salam suggested using it for a Christmas party; because of the high tax on alcohol, we decided to ask for two shillings from each member of the group coming to the party. Yuval then suggested to me that I delegate to him the task of buying the alcohol, since he had connections at the Israeli embassy. The day of the party, a black limo backed into the drive of the old Maths Dept at Imperial College, and Ne'eman jumped out, and opened the boot. We lifted out crate after crate of liquor, all for the party. As he was about to leave, he said: by the way, we did not use all the money; here is 35 shillings change.
Yuval had to leave the seminar early on some days; this was to attend diplomatic receptions, which were part of his duties. In 1961, his thesis was ready; but he could not submit it since he had not registered for the degree! He then registered, and needed two more years of residence in London to qualify. During the next two years, whenever he visited London from Israel, he asked us to note that he was here... he was clocking up his two years.
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© 20/6/00 by Ray Streater.