David Fisher on the ups and downs of the 1960s
From - UM Libraries on August 13th, 2021
David Fisher, Professor of Geology, describes the 1960s as "the best of times and the worst of times." He recalls teaching at Cornell in the early 1960s and observing that there was only one bathroom for the faculty, because nobody had considered there might ever be women on the faculty. He remembers that when he came to University of Miami in 1966, the chairman overlooking graduate applicants dumped all the female students’ applications into the wastebasket. He describes the formal dress code at Cornell in comparison with the informality at Miami. Fisher gives his opinion on the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the official, but untrue, story that North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched unprovoked attacks against a U.S. destroyer. He suggests that President Johnson got us into Vietnam as a political maneuver against the rival presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater. But he offers Sputnik as one of the happy developments of the 1960s, because national paranoia resulted in massive federal funding for science, so that it was a good era in which to be a scientist. Fisher recalls President Kennedy’s determination to beat the Soviets to the Moon and chemist Harold Urey’s lunar theories.