Celebrating Fourty Years of Communications in Mathematical Physics
Rudolf Haag visited Zürich on June 28, 2004
On June 28, 2004 Rudolf Haag gave a seminar in the theoretical physics institute on the Hönggerberg; it included his reminiscences on the founding of the journal Communications in Mathematical Physics.
Haag conceived this project with Res Jost some fourty years earlier, and Haag become the Founding Chief Editor. The first issue appeared in 1965, and I was still a graduate student at the time. One of my first papers appears in issue two of volume one. Haag guided the journal for the next 8 years. Then Klaus Hepp succeeded him for 3 years, followed by James Glimm, for another 3 years. I began as chief editor in 1979 and served for 21 years. Michael Aizenman became the fifth chief editor in the year 2000.
In 1990 an issue of C.M.P. appeared dedicated to Res Jost and Arthur Wightman. Res wrote the dedication to Arthur, signing it on the "Rigi." Res lived to see that issue appear in print, but died only a few days later following his long battle with cancer.
For the seminar, Rudolf brought to Zürich some of the original correspondence with Res Jost and others. Klaus read excerpts from these letters aloud, as Rudolf was recovering from eye surgery.
Rudolf also brought a copy of the recently-published book of autobiographical letters, "Leben und gelebt werden, Erinnerungen und Betrachtungen" written by his mother Anna Haag and edited by Rudolf. This is a fascinating autobiographical account of the life of Rudolf's mother, of her experiences during the Second World War, and of her political activity, much focussing on enhancing the rights of women. Today the Anna Haag Haus for women exists in Stuttgart.
A parenthetical remark: of course I could not have been chief editor without the extraordinary assistance of Barbara Drauschke. After finishing her training, Barbara had trouble finding a good place to teach school. It was extremely fortunate that her then-neighbor Blanche Mabee brought Barbara to work at Harvard, first at the Cambridge Electron Accelerator and shortly afterward in the physics department. I am extremely lucky that Barabara has worked with me practically ever since. While Barbara left after a few years in order to concentrate on raising her family, she returned to Harvard at my request when in 1979. Barbara seemed able to do the work of several persons; furthermore her memory, accuracy, efficiency, geneality, and general competance were legend. I knew that she was the perfect person for the job of C.M.P. administrator.
In that role, not only did Barbara corresponded with every author, but she also eventually personally met or talked on the phone with many of them. She seemed able to keep a photographic memory of these encounters. Unknowing authors often wrote letters to her as "Dr. Drauschke." Eventually a unique event occurred: Barbara spotted what turned out to be a mathematical error, rather than a stylistic error, in a manuscript. That paper had already been referreed, reviewed by an editor, and accepted by the joural! Barbara was in the course of copy-editing the paper to prepare it for publication. Afterwards, when the grateful author wrote an extraordinary lettter of thanks to Barbara, it came as no surprise to me that the envelope and salutation of the letter were addressed to "Professor Drauschke."