11
Return to MIT (1946-1947)

It was in the cool, blustering month of September that Tsien arrived in the Boston area, looking for a place to live. He settled on a large, red-brick Georgian Colonial home on 5 Hobart Road in the prosperous suburb of Newton, Massachusetts. The neighborhood was quiet, the streets lined with gold and crimson maples, oaks, and gingkos. The brilliant colors of autumn, however, were lost on Tsien, who began to miss California almost immediately upon his arrival on the East Coast. After ten years of living in a virtual paradise, Tsien had to adjust, once again, to the shock of changing weather.

"It rained here yesterday all day," Tsien complained in a letter on October 1, 1946. "Today it is almost cold! I imagine in [ Pasadena] it is hot." Nor was the chill in Boston restricted to the weather. "I have yet," Tsien wrote, "to break down the icy attitude of my landlady."

Tsien lived about thirty minutes away from MIT by car. As he drove from Newton to campus, the landscape changed from suburban houses and wellgroomed lawns to the massive brick and concrete apartment complexes of Brighton, and then Boston University, marked by the cold, clean lines of modernist buildings. Here, during his commute, Tsien would have driven past the brick rowhouses of the Back Bay, a familiar sight during his student days as a

-121-

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Thread of the Silkworm
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Hangzhou (1911-1914) 1
  • 2 - Beijing (1914-1929) 8
  • 3 - Shanghai (1929-1934) 22
  • 4 - Boxer Rebellion Scholar (1934-1935) 35
  • 5 - Mit (1935-1936) 40
  • 6 - Theodore Von Kármán 47
  • 7 - Caltech (1936) 61
  • 8 - The Suicide Squad (1937-1943) 68
  • 9 - The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1943-1945) 93
  • 10 - Washington and Germany (1945) 110
  • 11 - Return to Mit (1946-1947) 121
  • 12 - Summons from China (1947) 132
  • 13 - Jiang Ying 136
  • 14 - Ascent (1947-1948 140
  • 15 - Caltech (1949) 144
  • 16 - Suspicion (1950) 149
  • 17 - Arrest (1950) 158
  • 18 - Investigation (1950) 163
  • 19 - Hearings (1950-1951) 167
  • 20 - Waiting (1951-1954) 172
  • 21 - The Wang-Johnson Talks (1955) 184
  • 22 - "One of the Tragedies of This Century" 191
  • 23 - A Hero's Welcome (1955) 199
  • 24 - Missiles of the East Wind 208
  • 25 - Becoming a Communist 231
  • Epilogue 261
  • Notes 265
  • Index 319
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