The bad effects of the loyalty oath storm mentioned in David Jackson’s article even spread to the University of Pennsylvania, where as a graduate student I wanted to do a thesis in theoretical nuclear physics. Around 1949 Theodore Welton, an excellent theorist with whom I planned to do my PhD thesis, left for Oak Ridge. Some months later our physics department chairman Gaylord Harnwell called me in and told me not to worry, that he had hired a fine theoretician named Gian-Carlo Wick, from the University of California, Berkeley, with whom I could do my thesis.

Unfortunately, several more months later Harnwell called me in again to tell me that his appointment of Wick had been overruled by the Pennsylvania trustees because they did not want to hire anyone who had refused to sign a loyalty oath at Berkeley! Finally, with almost a year of graduate school wasted, I started and completed a thesis with C. Wilbur Ufford as my adviser.

The negative effects of loyalty oaths and cold war hysteria across the political spectrum are mirrored in Pief’s trials and are a warning against hasty actions in the 21st century.