It was a little over fifty years ago that George Uhlenbeck and I introduced the concept of spin. The United States, celebrating its bicentennial, is only four times as old as spin—not even an order of magnitude older. It is therefore not surprising that most young physicists do not know that spin had to be introduced. They think that it was revealed in Genesis or perhaps postulated by Sir Isaac Newton, which young physicists consider to be about simultaneous. There are many other fifty‐year mileposts in physics, which also have been forgotten, such as the radio‐pulse experiments of Merle Tuve and Gregory Breit that later led to radar.
Compared to the competitive struggles of today's highly specialized physicists for recognition, the atmosphere in the “springtime of modern atomic physics” was like that of a “Peyton Place without sex.”