Memoirs: A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics

By Edward Teller; Judith L. Shoolery | Go to book overview

11
COPENHAGEN
1933-1934

AS A TEENAGER, I had known that Budapest could not be my home.

Now, at twenty-five years old, I painfully discovered that the community of German physicists was also closed to me. And for the two long years that Mici—the one person who still tied me to the many things that were dear to me from my youth—had been in America, we had neither spoken nor written to each other. As I was finishing in Germany, I learned that she was coming home; so before I left for London, I went to Budapest.

I went to see Mici almost immediately. As I climbed the stairs in her apartment building, a completely inappropriate quote from Goethe popped into my head. Mephistopheles says to Faust: "Ihr sollt in eures Liebchens Kammer, nicht etwa in den Tod." (You go to the chamber of your sweetheart, not to your death.) 1 I suspected that if I were ever to marry, I would marry Mici. I also knew that if I were to marry her, I should marry her now.

Seeing Mici again swept away all my sorrows and questions. She was enchanted with America and enthusiastic about her switch from mathematics to personnel work. She was now studying sociology and psychology and had learned of a wonderful scientific discovery that made the precise measurement of intelligence possible! I protested: "IQ tests have nothing to do with science, and they certainly cannot measure a person's intelligence, whatever that is." Mici began a spirited defense of her new studies. 2 We managed to avoid irrational debate on an irrational subject only because we were so pleased to see each other again. We made a date to go walking the next day.

____________________
1
Goethe's Faust (Hamburg: Christian Wegner Verlag, 1949), p. 107.
2
Forty years later, after many decades of experience in personnel work, Mici was noticeably less enthusiastic about IQ tests.

-94-

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