ODD Comments

    Artie Shaw, Big Band leader, passes the baton

    Artie Shaw, the jazz clarinetist and big-band leader who successfully challenged Benny Goodman’s reign as the King of Swing with his recordings of “Begin the Beguine,” “Lady Be Good” and “Star Dust” in the late 1930’s, died December 30, 2004 at his home in Newbury Park, Calif. He was 94.

    He apparently died of natural causes, his lawyer, Eddie Ezor, told The Associated Press.

    Artie Shaw’s virtuosity on his instrument, his groups’ highly original arrangements and his explosively romantic showmanship made him one of the most danced-to bandleaders of swing and one of the most listened-to artists of jazz.

    He quit performing in 1954 , but the many re-releases of his discs, a ghost band, and his informed but often sardonic comments on music and many other subjects kept him in the public ear.

    Hans Bethe, ‘The Last of the Old Masters’ of Physics

    Hans Bethe, the nuclear physicist whose elegant calculations explained how stars shine and laid the foundation for development of both the atomic and hydrogen bombs, has died. He was 98.

    Bethe, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967, died Sunday at his home in Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell University announced Monday.  (And did you know that famous Ithacans include: “Roots” author Alex Haley, astronomer Carl Sagan, television writer Rod Serling, and former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz.)

    A reluctant but crucial participant in the World War II effort to develop nuclear weapons, Bethe later became one of the country’s most passionate and persuasive proponents of disarmament. He argued that the use of such weapons would cost not only countless lives, but “liberties and human values as well.”

    A brilliant, prolific and engaging theorist with an encyclopedic knowledge of nuclear physics, Bethe spent more than 60 years working with only a slide rule, a stack of blank paper and his enormous intellect, turning out page after page of mistake-free, complex calculations that fundamentally altered how scientists viewed the microscopic world of the atom.

    “He was the last of the old masters,” said astrophysicist Edward Kolb of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. “He turned out classic paper after classic paper.”