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Nobel Laureate Martin Karplus was eight years old when his family fled Nazi-occupied Austria, shortly after the arrival of German forces in 1938. They escaped via Switzerland and France to the United States, where he became a theoretical chemist.

Karplus conducted groundbreaking work in the 1970s to develop multiscale models for complex chemical systems, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013. He is the Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus at Harvard University and the Director of the Biophysical Chemistry Laboratory in France. He credits his life as a refugee as a decisive influence on his worldview and approach to science.

In this Stories Survive program, Karplus explores his childhood and accomplished career in science.

Watch the program below.

Stories Survive is made possible by the Goldie and David Blanksteen Foundation.

 

This program’s original recording transcript is below. This transcription was created automatically during a live program so may contain inaccurate transcriptions of some words.

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Ari Goldstein: Alright, welcome everyone i'm already Goldstein Senior Public programs producer at the Museum of Jewish heritage, a living memorial to the Holocaust.

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Ari Goldstein: And it's my pleasure to welcome you to today's story survive program with Martin karplus a theoretical chemist who escaped Australia, with his family in October 1938 and went on to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2013.

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Ari Goldstein: Martin is the Theodore Williams richards professor of chemistry emeritus at Harvard University and visiting professor at the University of Strasburg.

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Ari Goldstein: Martin has recently released a wonderful book called just going to put it up on screen here.

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Ari Goldstein: spinach on the ceiling, the multifaceted life of a theoretical chemist.

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Ari Goldstein: You can order the book at the link in the chat and the first 20 people who order will receive a signed copy.

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Ari Goldstein: Today, Martin will speak about his life and share some passages from his book with us and then we'll have time for audience q&a so please feel free to share questions in the zoom chat throughout the program and we'll address as many as we can, towards the end.

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Ari Goldstein: Without further ado welcome Martin, thank you for spending time with us today.

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Martin Karplus: Oh, let me begin by thanking you already Goldstein for organizing this interview and for being willing to act as moderator.

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Martin Karplus: Why did I write this book.

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Martin Karplus: First, to try to inspire young people, particularly students in science, by showing that even I.

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Martin Karplus: had some difficulties, sometimes in my own research and, importantly, that the faith, I had in myself.

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Martin Karplus: led me to be able to overcome them.

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Martin Karplus: A striking case in point.

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Martin Karplus: In fact, is the research that bled my Nobel Prize.

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Martin Karplus: I propose to extend studies.

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Martin Karplus: made in the.

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Martin Karplus: Of the simplest chemical reactions that have a hydrogen atom with a hydrogen molecule which involves only three particles.

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Martin Karplus: Two biological macro molecules like proteins and DNA, which consists of hundreds to thousands of atoms.

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Martin Karplus: When I mentioned this to my chemistry colleagues.

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Martin Karplus: They said such calculations, could not be meaningful because to get accurate results for four or five atoms was still very difficult.

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Martin Karplus: My biology colleagues said, even if I could do it.

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Martin Karplus: It wouldn't be very interesting to them.

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Martin Karplus: As history in time, as shown both of them.

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Martin Karplus: Fortunately, I suppose we're wrong.

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Martin Karplus: Because nowadays the methodology that I developed are widely used throughout the world.

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Martin Karplus: And many people there are thousands of people is probably real realistic to say you that are utilizing them even research and universities or an applications to drug design in companies.

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Martin Karplus: So what is the lesson that should students should learn from.

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Martin Karplus: What has happened to me.

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Martin Karplus: It is that so if a student.

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Martin Karplus: Has.

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Martin Karplus: An idea.

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Martin Karplus: for solving an important problem.

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Martin Karplus: of interest to him or her.

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Martin Karplus: That student should have enough faith.

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Martin Karplus: To continue to be able to do the work.

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Martin Karplus: and not be discouraged by the COMP comments of others.

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Martin Karplus: Now, of course.

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Martin Karplus: One has to nuances a little bit the students should certainly listen to their professors, because sometimes they may really be wrong.

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Martin Karplus: The second.

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Martin Karplus: reason why I wrote this autobiography.

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Martin Karplus: Is that I hoped it would.

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Martin Karplus: bear witness to future generations of what happened in Austria during the Nazi period.

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Martin Karplus: As and then mayor hopeful said when he was in tough thing me into the.

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Martin Karplus: honorary citizenship of Vienna.

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Martin Karplus: We cannot undo what happened, but we will do our best to not let it happen again.

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Martin Karplus: it's really an important thing, which will hopefully be true for the future.

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Martin Karplus: And finally, for in writing my autobiography.

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Martin Karplus: I wanted to remind myself.

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Martin Karplus: of how lucky I am to be where I am today.

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Martin Karplus: and also to remind or let my children know.

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Martin Karplus: What.

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Martin Karplus: happened in my life.

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Martin Karplus: So that they will be able to remember it for the future.

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Martin Karplus: Now let me go and read a few paragraphs from my autobiography.

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Martin Karplus: it's maybe a little always.

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Martin Karplus: know where they see the book but.

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Martin Karplus: here.

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Martin Karplus: Because sin pages so it's sometimes hard to find what i'm looking for, but I hope it'll work out pretty well, so let me begin, where does the title spinach on the ceiling come from.

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Martin Karplus: There was the infamous spinach incident mitzi our main.

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Martin Karplus: told me that I must eat my spinach.

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Martin Karplus: pop I did not exist in Austria, and unfortunately spinach did.

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Martin Karplus: With all the vm inside but master I took a spoonful of the spinach and through that the ceiling.

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Martin Karplus: The spinach staying remained visible on the ceiling for a long time, and was pointed out at appropriate moments, and my parents wanted to indicate whether or not a child, I was.

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Martin Karplus: And I was.

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Martin Karplus: The wild in those days as a youngster.

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Martin Karplus: Also, I can say that I really like spinach now in fact we had it last night, as part of our dinner.

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Martin Karplus: Another.

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Martin Karplus: Section I want to read to you is based on the fact that in Austria.

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Martin Karplus: You were an extended family of about 20 or more people consisting of.

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Martin Karplus: cousins uncles and.

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Martin Karplus: grandmothers.

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Martin Karplus: And we used to go for vacations in the summer, for several months, either on a lake in Australia, like the other say.

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Martin Karplus: or.

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Martin Karplus: rent a house for this whole group of us on the Adriatic coast.

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Martin Karplus: And during one such summer in the early 1930s.

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Martin Karplus: The following event happened.

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Martin Karplus: One day at the beach, a friend of my parents picked me up and cut me much to my dismay.

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Martin Karplus: A yoga each been a Nazi Nazi which so shocked her that she dropped me.

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Martin Karplus: kaylee I had somehow realize presumably from listening to my parents and others that being a Nazi was the worst possible thing to be.

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Martin Karplus: Now, as part of my.

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Martin Karplus: career i've had for a long time and interest in cooking going all the way back when I was a boy, and my mother, does the cooking in the kitchen, with the help of my grandmother.

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Martin Karplus: This developed over the years to my be able to.

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Martin Karplus: be admitted to work for.

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Martin Karplus: weeks or so in famous restaurants.

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Martin Karplus: One particular experience.

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Martin Karplus: In this career working in three star restaurants, for people who know this, in France, or in Spain.

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Martin Karplus: i've always remember this one this especially one lesson I happened.

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Martin Karplus: What by what happened after work in the kitchen of Joel robuchon.

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Martin Karplus: In Paris.

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Martin Karplus: romy Sean I mean, as I mentioned, there about 23 stars so so but, but it will be shown with the chef amongst all chefs it one is, first, second, third star.

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Martin Karplus: According to the mission like classification for people who know about that.

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Martin Karplus: In successive years, which has never happened to anybody else before, and so the opportunity to work in his restaurant was something very special.

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Martin Karplus: Let me now what.

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Martin Karplus: happened at the end of my.

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Martin Karplus: What happened at the end of my.

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Martin Karplus: As my stars was nearing the end it had been so special but I thought it would be nice to finish by having a lunch, there is marcy.

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Martin Karplus: I was working in Paris and marcy was already in Strasburg where we were actually living.

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Martin Karplus: I waited to request a reservation until a few days before so not surprisingly, when I asked the maitre D, he said he was sorry, but the restaurant was fully booked.

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Martin Karplus: him back later.

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Martin Karplus: And said he had managed to find a table for us.

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Martin Karplus: Presumably robuchon had intervened.

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Martin Karplus: marcy arrived from Strasburg by train that morning, and we were actually to a well situated table with a bottle of champagne in the cooler waiting for us.

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Martin Karplus: marcy's menu did not have any prices, this was not in itself unusual like in restaurants were only the host was given prices.

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Martin Karplus: However, mine did not miss any prices either.

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Martin Karplus: I pointed this out to marcy and asked her whether what they should do, she said well it's pretty clear to me when it's going on.

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Martin Karplus: Robert Shaw is inviting us.

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Martin Karplus: It was a wonderful and gracious luncheon at the end of the Fritz the maitre D escorted us to rubbish as private sitting room where we had coffee in Kenya with him and chatted for a while.

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Martin Karplus: After he returned to stress work, I sent him a special bottle of older the the proud.

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Martin Karplus: Here brandy, for which of us was famous he turned sent me a letter thanking me.

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Martin Karplus: which was very speech I won't be here for votes in French anyway rubbish.

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Martin Karplus: Not only a great chef but also a real gentleman.

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Martin Karplus: I mean now turned in experience.

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Martin Karplus: My graduate student days I was pauline's last student, as he generally only work with postdocs and visiting.

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Martin Karplus: faculty at the time I was a graduate student.

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Martin Karplus: However, something special had happened that.

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Martin Karplus: john kirkwood who had most of the theoretical students in chemistry.

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Martin Karplus: including me who I just started to work for him, decided to go to Yale and so Pauling invited all of these graduate students who are working with kirkwood.

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Martin Karplus: to work with him.

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Martin Karplus: If they were going to stay at caltech.

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Martin Karplus: I took it up, I took us up on him.

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Martin Karplus: And it turned out, I was calling Celeste graduates to.

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Martin Karplus: Try.

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Martin Karplus: What happens in my interactions with him.

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Martin Karplus: In the book.

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Martin Karplus: Talk about the beginning of my.

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Martin Karplus: Working with him.

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Martin Karplus: I sometimes felt intimidated, when I went into talk with calling.

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Martin Karplus: It was wonderful to be exposed well, not necessarily to understand is intuitive approach to chemical problems.

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Martin Karplus: One day, I asked calling about the structure of a certain hydrogen bonding system, whether the hydrogen bomb would be symmetric as it was in Dubai for them, you pause for thought for a while he always said back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling.

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Martin Karplus: Obviously thinking and he gave a prediction for the structure.

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Martin Karplus: When I asked him why he thought again and offer an explanation.

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Martin Karplus: I left this office, and soon realize in part by discussion with my circle of friends with his explanation made no sense.

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Martin Karplus: So into us calling again thinking that perhaps it would cause the different conclusion instead Pauling said he believed to predict the structure was correct, and he proposed an entirely different explanation.

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Martin Karplus: After going over his analysis that was again dissatisfied with his rationale and caught up with him, as he was leaving his office.

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Martin Karplus: He produced yet another rationale this one made sense to me, so I did some crude calculations that indicated that Pauling was indeed correct.

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Martin Karplus: and still does today is appalling came to the correct conclusion, apparently, on the basis of intuition.

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Martin Karplus: work through the analysis he knew the right answer.

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Martin Karplus: But it took more thought to figure out why.

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Martin Karplus: it's.

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Martin Karplus: Very close to the method used by Richard fineman.

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Martin Karplus: Who was one of the professors in physics very famous one probably all have heard about him connection with the challenge exactly accident.

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Martin Karplus: And he similarly.

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Martin Karplus: work.

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Martin Karplus: Through something in very crude way to get an answer, once he had.

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Martin Karplus: An answer which he thought was correct, and it was important that go back and work it out, you never really care for.

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Martin Karplus: describe an experience that resonates with what is still happening today.

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Martin Karplus: My parents and given me their old car as a graduation present in several times during my cal tech career, I drove across the country to our home in Newton Massachusetts.

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Martin Karplus: Where it spent part of the summer, with my parents, each time I took a different route once through Canada with visits to ban and Jasper National Park another time through the deep south.

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Martin Karplus: One such are driving through Texas, and a very hot summer day my friends and I decided to take a swim and cool off the past one designated swimming error that was full of people.

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Martin Karplus: where's.

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Martin Karplus: My mom drive the long river or quiet places.

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Martin Karplus: miles downstream, you came upon another swimming area with broken down steps leading into the water as it was inserted, we decided it was the perfect place for us.

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Martin Karplus: As in the water for about 10 minutes a couple of pickup trucks drove up and several men jumped out guns ready.

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Martin Karplus: It turned out to be the local law enforcement offices, the order of the water and the men to know what we thought we were doing.

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Martin Karplus: White folks swimming in an area reserved for niggers you had noticed the Massachusetts license plate on the car and had concluded northern troublemakers.

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Martin Karplus: After some effort, we succeeded and explain that, given our scruffy state, we have not wanted to Bob and the other white people the offers Finally, let us go with the admonition drive through Texas without stopping anywhere, which we did.

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Martin Karplus: I Isabel vulcan seven i'm cast.

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Martin Karplus: Just a profound description of the role of race in America today.

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Martin Karplus: She describes the role of the purity of water in the prejudice against African American.

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Martin Karplus: Quote white whites were shot for going into pools wizards for African Americans, as well as the reverse.

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Martin Karplus: So now I realize how lucky we were.

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Martin Karplus: To actually escape.

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Martin Karplus: Let me mention my experience hosted.

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Martin Karplus: ambassador's residence shortly after the announcement.

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Martin Karplus: Of the Nobel Prize the residents in Washington DC.

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Martin Karplus: Gala dinner held of the Swedish ambassador's residence was preceded by exception which had so many people milling around but there's hardly any room to move.

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Martin Karplus: But the end of the reception is shown to are assigned places at the dinner table, I will see between the reason the name Federal Reserve Chairman Janet yellen and Supreme Court justice because I made it in square I could have had.

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Martin Karplus: dinner companions.

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Martin Karplus: The wonderful justice Ginsburg died.

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Martin Karplus: In September.

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Martin Karplus: 2020 not long ago with.

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Martin Karplus: The election of a new conservative justice to the Supreme Court.

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Martin Karplus: and

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Martin Karplus: Janet yellen.

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Martin Karplus: is now.

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Martin Karplus: Secretary of the Treasury and by the administration.

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Martin Karplus: Since I was a guest of honor the conversation turned to my life after some discussion I mentioned this, the 206 finished article, which was the Presidents predecessor.

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Martin Karplus: Of the book.

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Martin Karplus: Later I sent copies to both Janet yellen justice Ginsburg justice Ginsburg wrote me a note saying, she was looking forward to reading it, but that she would not he would have to wait until after the end of the term because she was too busy with the cases coming up.

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Martin Karplus: Janet yellen about.

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Martin Karplus: enjoyed reading the article that one of her best friends was the wife match the chemistry teacher at Harvard with played such an important role in my undergraduate education, he basically was one of the people who made me realize that, although I come to Harvard as a pre MED.

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Martin Karplus: I would much more.

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Martin Karplus: Much more interest that exposes the word actually finding out the reasons why certain medical.

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Martin Karplus: Practices actually work.

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Martin Karplus: This reminded me.

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Martin Karplus: When.

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Martin Karplus: When the gentleman mentioned this.

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Martin Karplus: Of the small world experiments that suggested that any two people know each other through a chain of what have no more than three or four people.

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Martin Karplus: Also interesting the small world type of connectivity as the reason, and so my work and.

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Martin Karplus: mentioned.

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Martin Karplus: Discussion of my autobiography.

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Martin Karplus: seems to me to be not really that relevant today.

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Martin Karplus: In the United States and the whole world focus on the large number of coronavirus cases and deaths during the past year and the whole provided by the Biden administration.

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Martin Karplus: And the newly available vaccines.

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Martin Karplus: From but everybody says by summer.

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Martin Karplus: All people in the United States will be.

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Martin Karplus: vaccinated hopefully Thank you.

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Ari Goldstein: Thank you so.

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Ari Goldstein: there's chapters of your book with us, Martin.

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Ari Goldstein: I will, before we transition to some questions and answers I will screen share some photos from your book, which I think add an great perspective to the stories you shared with us.

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Ari Goldstein: So this is a photo of the fungal Highlands salt and sure i'm not pronouncing that perfectly, but a private medical clinic that was run by your great uncle for many years and was owned by him between 1915 and 19.

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Ari Goldstein: i'm sorry your grandfather.

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Ari Goldstein: i'll ask you in a moment, a little bit more about your family's connection to the medical profession.

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Ari Goldstein: But this is your father on a bicycle with your brother and you your cousin Johnny and his nanny bessie.

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Ari Goldstein: steering a sailboat on otter see that these are great images showing your joyful childhood in Austria.

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Ari Goldstein: Your passport in 1938 at eight years old, as your family fled Austria.

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Ari Goldstein: The first page of the Nazi listing of your father's confiscation record when he went to jail and was several of your family's items were confiscated or sold under duress.

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Ari Goldstein: And then, this great image of you receiving the Nobel Prize in chemistry from King Gustaf of Sweden.

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Ari Goldstein: You with your family before the Nobel Prize award ceremony.

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Ari Goldstein: And you and marcy with the President, when you receive a Nobel Prize.

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Ari Goldstein: So, and I should mention all those images are from your book so i'm will.

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Ari Goldstein: Work with some questions from the audience, but I do want to begin by asking you, if you could describe your family's long connection to the medical profession, Austria and wish there were a lot of Austrian Jews involved.

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Martin Karplus: well.

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Martin Karplus: As you mentioned, there were many Austrian Jews who in the medical profession or in the legal profession, which were two areas where queues were accepted.

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Martin Karplus: to her and so it's already mentioned my maternal grandfather.

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Martin Karplus: Samuel belts turn had this clinic.

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Martin Karplus: which originally he worked at when they came to Vienna and finished his medical studies.

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Martin Karplus: And finally managed to buy the clinic.

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Martin Karplus: And what the clinic then.

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Martin Karplus: was just called the fungal high launched out as you pronounced so beautifully.

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Martin Karplus: And, as it turned out, I only much later discovered that fungal was the.

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Martin Karplus: Italian word for.

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Martin Karplus: That what they commit us was applications of this month, which was a slave a real radioactive to treat.

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Martin Karplus: Her sort of.

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Martin Karplus: diseases and.

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Martin Karplus: Sometimes of particularly of people who were obese and such.

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Martin Karplus: and

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Martin Karplus: Just interesting to respect.

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Martin Karplus: reflect on the fact that many of his customers are actually.

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Martin Karplus: Arabs shakes who came to be there.

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Martin Karplus: So that there was no please to that stage, good relationship.

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Martin Karplus: Between Arabs and Jews in this very narrow sense now, on the other side of my family.

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Martin Karplus: My grandfather Johann Paul karplus whether it's professor of neurology at the University of Vienna.

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Martin Karplus: And he is credited with having discovered the function of the hypothalamus.

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Martin Karplus: I won't go through the details of that here, then.

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Martin Karplus: Children in again on my maternal side.

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Martin Karplus: One of the daughters.

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Martin Karplus: Was.

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Martin Karplus: The.

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Martin Karplus: Firstly, who did the administrative work at the fungal.

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Martin Karplus: i'm not as involved in the cooking at the sun God.

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Martin Karplus: and on my.

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Martin Karplus: grandfather's side.

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Martin Karplus: Well that's an interesting thing that actually.

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Martin Karplus: By.

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Martin Karplus: Great grand.

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Martin Karplus: If she.

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Martin Karplus: was one of freud's first students so sorry subjects first subject.

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Martin Karplus: So we very much connected with the.

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Martin Karplus: Oh.

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Martin Karplus: neurological.

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Martin Karplus: Psychological environment in those days.

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Ari Goldstein: Now Nazi Germany and Austria on march 12 1938 actually called the angelus and I point out that it was at three years ago, two days ago it's not march 14.

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Ari Goldstein: And, but your parents had had been planning your escape from Austria before the analyst how much do you know about their their planning process and how they were able to arrange for your trip to Switzerland.

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Martin Karplus: well.

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Martin Karplus: What happened if it's.

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Martin Karplus: One thing to emphasize is you know the Nazis were welcomed into Austria.

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Martin Karplus: That weren't.

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Martin Karplus: Some ways conquered by the Nazis.

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Martin Karplus: But.

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Martin Karplus: And there have been you know rumblings going back to the 30s, as I pointed out in my.

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Martin Karplus: Little reading from spin a Nazi the parents were very aware that there might be something happening, which was the interest to us as Jews.

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Martin Karplus: And so they had started when I was about five years old actually.

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Martin Karplus: One of my mother's sister's Claire actually see what's the baby of the family.

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Martin Karplus: had been to England and he learned English and was teaching English and so both my brother and I.

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Martin Karplus: took English courses with her in prep when one of the things in preparation for leaving I mean I didn't know that at the time but it's clearly in my parents mind that that was a.

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Martin Karplus: good way of doing things the other was that.

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Martin Karplus: They had prepared.

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Martin Karplus: For us, which we have done, you know other times to take a so called skiing trip to Switzerland.

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Martin Karplus: it's For that reason I got this passport that you showed.

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Martin Karplus: and

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Martin Karplus: Shortly after the Nazis.

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Martin Karplus: entered Austria.

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Martin Karplus: They decided that it was time to leave.

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Martin Karplus: And so it was.

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Martin Karplus: In fact, it was it.

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Martin Karplus: was about the the Nazis enter the 12th and I think I don't remember exactly now it's 13th 14th we left Australia on this.

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Martin Karplus: On the ski vacation so called.

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Martin Karplus: And they had also reentered a.

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Martin Karplus: Two bedroom suite eBay.

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Martin Karplus: In what we call them in which still exists today in Syria.

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Martin Karplus: And we stayed there.

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Martin Karplus: waiting to be able to get a visa to come to the United States.

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Martin Karplus: which finally happened in October.

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Martin Karplus: Of 1938.

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Martin Karplus: Now.

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Martin Karplus: One thing that came as a surprise to me was that I taught the whole family that mainly my mother, father brother, and I would all be traveling together, Switzerland and it turned out that my father.

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Martin Karplus: was not able to come with me with us, and as you show them.

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Martin Karplus: This.

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Martin Karplus: document of all of the things that the Nazis force.

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Martin Karplus: him us to sell and he was in fact kept in jail and again.

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Martin Karplus: until all these transactions had been taken care of.

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Martin Karplus: Then he then he was released.

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Martin Karplus: And, as it turned out.

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Martin Karplus: He was able to join us.

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Martin Karplus: We went together.

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Martin Karplus: To the United States.

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Martin Karplus: My mother had always said, you know, yes, yes everything's fine my father will join us but i'm sure she was not she was just trying to keep us my brother me from worrying about this.

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Martin Karplus: And she must have been very concerned as to what would happen.

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Ari Goldstein: Among the items that were confiscated or sold under duress included your House in Vienna, did you or other family members later in life ever tried to regain the property through a restitution process.

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Martin Karplus: No remember did.

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Martin Karplus: To my parents just didn't really want to go through such things.

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Martin Karplus: Maybe we did visit the House and I was we were in Vienna.

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Martin Karplus: and

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Martin Karplus: It was now owned by the son of the person that the Nazis had given it to.

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Martin Karplus: And the only.

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Martin Karplus: sort of.

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Martin Karplus: institution that we got was that there was service standard way.

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Martin Karplus: That automatically anybody who had fled the Nazis could get.

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Martin Karplus: I don't remember something around $5,000 or so.

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Martin Karplus: automatically and that.

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Martin Karplus: I actually did my parents never did.

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Martin Karplus: Otherwise we didn't try to get anything back.

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Martin Karplus: My.

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Martin Karplus: uncle, who was the.

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Martin Karplus: One brother.

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Martin Karplus: of my mother's.

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Martin Karplus: who had gone to New Zealand.

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Martin Karplus: that's another interesting story.

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Martin Karplus: He was actually put into a concentration camp that how.

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Martin Karplus: And somebody came to my grandfather and said, if you sign over the fungal to me i'll make it possible for your.

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Martin Karplus: son.

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Martin Karplus: To be let out of the concentration camp.

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Martin Karplus: And, of course, he wouldn't have had to do it, but he didn't do it, he was released from the concentration camp, with the condition that he had to the fascia.

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Martin Karplus: In several weeks a very short time, which made it impossible for him to get a visa to go to the US and he also able to get a visa.

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Martin Karplus: To go to New Zealand, which was eager to get people and so he went to New Zealand and live there during the war and after the war he came back and took over the fungal.

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Martin Karplus: And ran it until is this when it became part of the.

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Martin Karplus: In these.

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Martin Karplus: System of hospitals.

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and remarkable.

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Ari Goldstein: I so by October of 1938 after spending time in Zurich at the end, and then in in France, your family made made it to the Boston area.

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Ari Goldstein: And and settled and you started school as an eight year old, but you were refugees with accents and you were Jewish how conscious of you were.

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Ari Goldstein: where you have been different from other students or your family being different and and were you aware, while you were spending the warriors in Boston of the full scale of what was happening back in Austria.

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Martin Karplus: In terms of us.

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Martin Karplus: happening in Australia and.

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Martin Karplus: There weren't any everything yeah I mean we were fully aware that the family talked about that.

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Martin Karplus: In terms of being different.

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Martin Karplus: I mean, I made every effort.

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Martin Karplus: To be a real American.

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Martin Karplus: I was extreme in that, in terms of my accent and such.

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Martin Karplus: And I went immediately both my brother and I went to school.

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Martin Karplus: After having spent a few weeks place where remember sort of it was for refugees.

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Martin Karplus: lovely estate outside of Boston where we were told you know how things worked in America and things like that what they had to do to get to register in school, and so, then I went to school and.

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Martin Karplus: I had a.

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Martin Karplus: Wonderful teacher.

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Martin Karplus: Who.

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Martin Karplus: realizing that I was.

353
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Martin Karplus: Right an ego young student.

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Martin Karplus: helped me in terms of my English.

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Martin Karplus: And, as I write in the autobiography Unfortunately I learned English so well.

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Martin Karplus: She was had sort of a crush on her, but after a very short time.

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Martin Karplus: She said well you know I can you don't need special special less lessons anymore, and so I was just the regular student.

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Martin Karplus: But in terms of belonging.

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Martin Karplus: I.

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Martin Karplus: We live in Brighton.

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Martin Karplus: and

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Martin Karplus: I very much.

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Martin Karplus: wanted to be like the other kids and go out and play with them.

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Martin Karplus: and playing street games sort of hockey in the street hockey and such and.

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Martin Karplus: There was.

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Martin Karplus: One event which happened is that, when we were.

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Martin Karplus: playing the car came along.

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Martin Karplus: and

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Martin Karplus: I sort of fell down and it turned out that he stopped with this one of the tires on my foot.

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Martin Karplus: And so.

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Martin Karplus: He got out of the car terribly concerned, and I just said, the screen, would you go low for the forward it off my foot.

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Martin Karplus: And then.

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Martin Karplus: That, then, he said, look I should take you home to your parents and.

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Martin Karplus: Make sure that everything is alright with you and I said, oh no don't please turn to that.

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Martin Karplus: Might not wanting them to know that I was playing this way the street, so they weren't really aware of what I was doing and i'm sure with then prohibited me grounded me I guess.

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Martin Karplus: expression and.

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Martin Karplus: And I know for a while also, I refuse to speak.

378
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Martin Karplus: German with them and only speak English.

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Martin Karplus: So I really wanted to belong.

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Ari Goldstein: Is a great question from an audience Member who asks later in your career, did you ever meet scientists who had worked for the Nazi regime and what was that, like if you did.

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Martin Karplus: You won't be answered answer is, I personally that I met a scientists that worked with the Nazis.

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Martin Karplus: They were.

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Martin Karplus: scientists and engineers.

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Martin Karplus: Who.

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Martin Karplus: have had worked for the Nazis in were accepted in the US.

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Martin Karplus: In terms of making making.

387
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Martin Karplus: missiles and such.

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Martin Karplus: Famous stories about that pressure and never.

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Ari Goldstein: So in in 2013 you won the Nobel Prize for the development of multi scale models for complex chemical systems now, it would be great if you could explain your Nobel Prize awarded work in a way that non scientists like myself and many of our audience Members will understand.

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Martin Karplus: But maybe the easiest thing.

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Martin Karplus: To do would be this to describe one of the.

392
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Martin Karplus: Studies that we made rather than trying to go through the details of.

393
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Martin Karplus: Multi scale and such.

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Martin Karplus: And one of the systems that we studied is what's called kinnison.

395
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Martin Karplus: Which is important in cells.

396
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Martin Karplus: To transport material from one part of the cell to another.

397
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Martin Karplus: Normally, if this.

398
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Martin Karplus: molecule or something which enters one cell and has to go all the way to the cell to be useful, it can take a very long time, so nature has developed this molecule called kinnison.

399
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Martin Karplus: which actually transports the materials so does this in.

400
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Martin Karplus: A number of minutes instead of, as it would by the fusion in ours and what's interesting is that can neeson it's a molecule it has in a curtain has two feet.

401
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Martin Karplus: In the cell, although it looks very disorganized actually has rails.

402
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Martin Karplus: Micro two meals they're called and kinnison it's a molecule which walks in this micro to build it really walks and it takes one foot forward and the other foot forward and so on.

403
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Martin Karplus: and work.

404
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Martin Karplus: As shown how, in fact, this walking takes place where the energies put in and so forth.

405
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Martin Karplus: And it's study that in fact we're still continuing, because it's very complex system, but I think it's a it's a type of thing.

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Martin Karplus: That we did, which led to the Nobel Prize I don't know if that's helpful.

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Ari Goldstein: I that was great I understood it, so I think that's a good barometer.

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Ari Goldstein: That you were sort of expected to be a physician but, given your family background, but you chose to become a scientist, but your daughters are physicians could you tell us a little bit about your family today and what your kids do.

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Martin Karplus: well.

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Martin Karplus: I have.

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Martin Karplus: two daughters.

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Martin Karplus: And one son one granddaughter and the two daughters reba and tammy one lives in.

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Martin Karplus: Now it's Washington State actually.

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Martin Karplus: she's a rheumatologist the other data lives in Israel.

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Martin Karplus: And is a infectious disease physician.

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Martin Karplus: And so, with she's been very busy with HIV and such which are.

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Martin Karplus: Many of the.

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Martin Karplus: People who come to Israel from African countries bring with them.

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Martin Karplus: she's also been very involved in.

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Martin Karplus: A project with Palestinians to try to.

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Martin Karplus: show how one can.

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Martin Karplus: Basically, treat you know, no one, no one can take HIV.

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Martin Karplus: so that people can be a lot less alive, as long as they take their injections regularly.

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Martin Karplus: And so she's been involved in this project, which ties to change train people that they don't have to be nurses or anything can make sure that people will take their medications regularly.

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Martin Karplus: And in fact.

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Martin Karplus: notice.

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Martin Karplus: I personally with my research group have been approved project in which we have been trying to find.

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Martin Karplus: methods to.

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00:54:12.060 --> 00:54:20.490
Martin Karplus: be able to vaccinate against HIV, this is something that many people have tried to do but there's never been a vaccine.

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Martin Karplus: and

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00:54:23.910 --> 00:54:25.380
Martin Karplus: We have a project.

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00:54:26.460 --> 00:54:52.890
Martin Karplus: Which is just waiting to be tested a vaccination schedule which is waiting to be where we made them what's the antigen Sir Sir call and it made up the schedule and it's just waiting we try in mice and if it works and, finally and ferrets which are also get the AIDS.

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Martin Karplus: And so, hopefully we'll see.

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Martin Karplus: If i'm just waiting.

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00:55:00.720 --> 00:55:14.820
Martin Karplus: Today there is an email come communication between us makes it designs using our theoretical methods, the people who have expressed designs.

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00:55:16.590 --> 00:55:19.260
Martin Karplus: And people who are going to test them.

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Martin Karplus: So.

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00:55:23.430 --> 00:55:29.490
Martin Karplus: So we have in a way, you know this is sort of going back to my.

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00:55:31.440 --> 00:55:41.460
Martin Karplus: college days, where I decided that I didn't want the recession physician wanted to find out how I can do things.

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Martin Karplus: understanding what happens in the body.

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Martin Karplus: that's what really we're focused on nowadays.

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Ari Goldstein: What an amazing.

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Ari Goldstein: initiative, I mean, which are great success, and you, you so you mentioned both your daughters and then your son misha is in Boston with you right.

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Martin Karplus: But yeah he.

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Martin Karplus: Law degree.

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Martin Karplus: And then decided he really didn't want to.

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00:56:15.270 --> 00:56:22.980
Martin Karplus: continue to be a lawyer and so he went to nyu.

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00:56:24.510 --> 00:56:24.840
Martin Karplus: and

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Martin Karplus: Whether they agree in.

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00:56:32.850 --> 00:56:36.120
Martin Karplus: I can't think of the word fridge right, but the moments where.

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Martin Karplus: He would be.

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00:56:42.300 --> 00:56:43.380
Martin Karplus: Trying to.

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Martin Karplus: not actually practice law.

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00:56:48.450 --> 00:56:57.060
Martin Karplus: But look at the various possible applications of law he's finished recently and it's.

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00:56:58.560 --> 00:57:00.480
Martin Karplus: Basically, looking for a job.

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00:57:01.650 --> 00:57:02.100
Martin Karplus: he's.

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Martin Karplus: Writing right at this very moment, while he's looking for a job is writing an article.

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Martin Karplus: concerned with.

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Martin Karplus: prisoners and prisoners rights.

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Martin Karplus: Particularly for prisoners that have mental problems and.

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Martin Karplus: i'm not getting the care that they should need and in a funny way it goes back to when he was.

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Martin Karplus: An.

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Martin Karplus: undergraduate when he spent the summers working on.

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Martin Karplus: A prison medical aid project.

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00:57:57.150 --> 00:57:58.740
Martin Karplus: where he you know.

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00:58:00.150 --> 00:58:06.390
Martin Karplus: He was just doing sort of busy work through like that he would get reports from.

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00:58:07.530 --> 00:58:15.780
Martin Karplus: From prisoners complaining about what was happening pass them on, and then the people in the Office for his work would.

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00:58:18.330 --> 00:58:20.340
Martin Karplus: try to do something about that.

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00:58:21.810 --> 00:58:27.900
Martin Karplus: In a certain sense now is actually work we're trying to.

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00:58:29.490 --> 00:58:35.220
Martin Karplus: to write an article that will show what is going on nowadays in the prisons and.

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00:58:37.890 --> 00:58:38.340
Martin Karplus: The.

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00:58:39.660 --> 00:58:40.500
Martin Karplus: Lack of.

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Martin Karplus: facilities.

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Martin Karplus: For taking care of prisoners who have mental health problems.

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Ari Goldstein: Martin an hour seems to have passed quickly, but I do I want to close by reading a quote from your book, which I think is beautiful and encapsulates.

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Ari Goldstein: Some of your career as a scientist and also our work at the Museum of Jewish heritage you wrote.

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Ari Goldstein: Being a refugee and not quite belonging played a pivotal role in my view of the world and approach to science.

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Ari Goldstein: It contributed to my realization that it was safe to stop working in fields that I felt I understood and to focus on different areas of research, by asking questions that would teach me and others something new.

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Ari Goldstein: So thank you for sharing some of your life story and some passages rebook with us today it's was particularly meaningful to spend this time with you on the.

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Ari Goldstein: Around the 83rd anniversary of when you have the Angeles, and when you left Austria, and also the day before your 91st birthday, which is an occasion for celebration so we're very grateful to you for your time.

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Ari Goldstein: And to everyone in the audience, thank you for joining us on this Sunday, we hope you will consider supporting the Museum of Jewish heritage and joining us for future programs.

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Ari Goldstein: If you are interested in Martin story, we also hope you'll order his books finished on the ceiling, the multifaceted life of a theoretical chemist.

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01:00:06.060 --> 01:00:09.360
Ari Goldstein: Signed copy of that book and there's a link in the chat we can access that.

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01:00:10.050 --> 01:00:18.660
Ari Goldstein: today's program was recorded, so we will send an email out tomorrow with a link to the recording to martin's book and to some other suggestions for.

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Ari Goldstein: Reading and watching, but we just want to thank all of you again, and thank you, Martin and we hope you stay healthy and well and have a great birthday tomorrow.

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Martin Karplus: Oh, thank you it's been a great experience, and I do miss the museum well for the future.

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Martin Karplus: idea of remembering the past is this, as I mentioned a very important one.

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Martin Karplus: for avoiding.

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Martin Karplus: anything like what has happened happening again.

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Ari Goldstein: Thank you, Martin and if you ever find yourself in New York, we hope we can host you in person, but until until then take care.

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bye everyone.