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aving arrived at the University of Bristol I visited

K.rner, the head of the philosophy department and chairman

of the interview panel. He described the arrangements and

introduced me to the committee: the president of the university, a

short and lively man with a great sense of humor; Maurice Pryce, a

theoretical physicist; Lang, a solid state physicist; and other assorted

characters. I had never met any of them and knew nothing

of their habits or achievements. On page 278 of his 1985 book Bird

of Passage, Rudolf Peierls says of Pryce, “He could be a devastating

critic and it is said that after each of his visits to Harwell someone

had to go round to comfort the young people he had seen and assure

them there was still a chance they might turn out to be competent

theoreticians.” I can testify to Pryce’s destructive propensities

—I was soon going to experience them myself. On the other hand,

I helped him, somewhat to his surprise, when he got stuck in a

lecture on quantum mechanics. But all that was still in the future.

What I then saw was a row of faces, some expectant, some bored,

some impatient—about fifteen of them—and I was ready for battle.

K.rner asked about my studies, my interests, the things I had

read. At one point (so K.rner told me) Pryce objected, “But this is

not a philosophical problem.” “It’s a problem,” I am supposed to

have replied; “and that’s good enough for me.” I got into hot water

when I said that my favorite theory of planetary origin was von

Weizs.cker’s. “Can you give us a brief account of it?” asked Pryce. I

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