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Walter Kohn

My commitment to a humane and peaceful world continues to this day.

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I was fortunate to find an extraordinary mathematics and applied mathematics program in Toronto.

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Originally I had planned to revert to nuclear physics there, in particular the structure of the deuteron.

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My father, who had lost a brother, fighting on the Austrian side in World War I, was a committed pacifist.

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I was born in 1923 into a middle class Jewish family in Vienna, a few years after the end of World War I, which was disastrous from the Austrian point of view.

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During one or two summers, as well as part-time during the school year, I worked for a small Canadian company which developed electrical instruments for military planes.

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My project was radiation damage of Si and Ge by energetic electrons, critical for the use of the recently developed semiconductor devices for applications in outer space.

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I have just joined the Board of the Population Institute because I am convinced that early stabilization of the world's population is important for the attainment of this objective.

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In particular, I established a reasonably accurate energy threshold for permanent displacement of a nucleus from its regular lattice position, substantially smaller than had been previously presumed.

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However, while the Nazi barbarians and their collaborators threatened the entire world, I could not accept his philosophy and, after several earlier attempts, was finally accepted into the Canadian Infantry Corps during the last year of World War II.

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