Brandeis University: A People's History 1979-1980
Brandeis Research: First Observation of Low Energy Positron Diffraction

The first observation of particles behaving as waves (and the flagship experiment of modern quantum mechanics) was carried out in 1927 with electrons by Davisson and Germer. This experiment was repeated nearly 50 years later for the first time with antimatter (positrons), by Professor Karl Canter and his graduate students Ira J. Rosenberg and Alex H. Weiss at Brandeis. The precision of the Brandeis positron beam technology has continued to evolve to the point that Professor Canter’s group has been able to demonstrate that positrons are actually superior to electrons for determining the structure of surfaces using particle diffraction.

— Professor Karl Canter, Physics

Telling It to the UN

As a prominent voice in the Divestment Movement, a student group dedicated to complete divestment from South African commercial interests, Mark Oppenheimer, ’81 spoke by invitation to the United Nations’ Committee Against Apartheid. He described the role of student pressure in bringing the University administration to consider the moral implications of holding stock in corporations doing business with South Africa. For Oppenheimer, who favored immediate and total divestment as opposed to the University’s approach of evaluating the practices of individual firms, the slower pace was frustrating. “University administrations,” he told the UN, “are becoming more subtle in their opposition to divestment.” His accusations notwithstanding, Brandeis established a policy of divesting from firms whose practices resulted in “social injury” in South Africa, either by exploiting black labor there or by enhancing the power of the minority white government.