The Corner

Culture

Bros, Cont.

Earlier this week, I had a piece about the Browder family, and their progress from communism to capitalism. Earl Browder was boss of the CPUSA. His grandson Bill is a financier and human-rights crusader, and Bill’s son Joshua is a college-age tech whiz. As for Earl’s children, he had three — three boys, who became top mathematicians. They were chairmen at Chicago, Brown, and Princeton, respectively.

This gave a friend of mine a memory. Years ago, there was a great art historian at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton. That was Erwin Panofsky. He had two sons, Hans and Wolfgang, who became a top atmospheric scientist and a top physicist. Erwin would affectionately refer to his boys as “meine beiden Klempner,” or “my two plumbers.”

Anyway, the boys both went to Princeton, and they finished No. 1 and No. 2 in their respective classes. (I can’t tell you which was which.) Thus, they were known around campus as “the smart Panofsky” and “the dumb Panofsky.”

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