How much do I want to read more? 7/10
It's been a long time I want to have a hand on this book.
It turns out to be a biography from the author, sharing his own memories.
It's interesting to see what's going on in the mind of a scientist that many consider a genius.
Like, setting alarms in his room, repairing radios, solving puzzles, doing mental maths, finding trigonometric formulas on his own, using his own maths symbols.
He's famous for having said: I wonder whar's wrong with people's knowledge, they seem to learn by rote.
On the contrary his way of learning his to the core, he make it his. He plays and feels it. If you repeat your lessons, you don't feel anything, it's just a memory exercice. He was understanding it and playing with it.
I remember when I was his student how it was when you walked into one of his lectures. He would be standing in front of the hall smiling at us all as we came in, his fingers tapping out a complicated rhythm.
As latecomers took their seats, he picked up the chalk and began spinning it rapidly through his fingers in a manner of a professional gambler playing with a poker chip, still smiling happily as if at some secret joke.
It was no secret joke that brought the smile and the sparkle in his eye, it was physics. The joy of physics! The joy was contagious. We are fortunate who caught that infection.
-- ALBERT R. HIBBS
I was born in 1918, on the outskirts of New York, near the sea.
I lived there until 1935, when I was seventeen. I went to MIT for four years, and then I went to Princeton, in about 1939.
PART I - FROM FAR ROCKAWAY TO MIT
He Fixes Radios by Thinking!
WHEN I WAS about eleven or twelve I set up a lab in my house.
About that time I invented a burglar alarm, which was a very simple-minded thing: it was just a big battery and a bell connected with some wire. When the door to my room opened, it pushed the wire against the battery and closed the circuit, and the bell would go off.
One night my mother and father came home from a night out and very, very quietly, so as not to disturb the child, opened the door to come into my room to take my earphones off. All of a sudden this tremendous bell went off with a helluva racket—BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG!!! I jumped out of bed yelling, “It worked! It worked!”
When a person has been negative to you, and then you do something like that, they’re usually a hundred percent the other way, kind of to compensate.
He got me other jobs, and kept telling everybody what a tremendous genius I was, saying, “He fixes radios by thinking!”
I finally fixed it because I had, and still have, persistence. Once I get on a puzzle, I can’t get off.
I remember in high school, during first period a guy would come to me with a puzzle in geometry, or something which had been assigned in his advanced math class. I wouldn’t stop until I figured the damn thing out—it would take me fifteen or twenty minutes. But during the day, other guys would come to me with the same problem, and I’d do it for them in a flash. So for one guy, to do it took me twenty minutes, while there were five guys who thought I was a super-genius.
So I got a fancy reputation. During high school every puzzle that was known to man must have come to me. Every damn, crazy conundrum that people had invented, I knew.
Once when I was explaining something to another kid in high school, without thinking I started to make these symbols, and he said, “What the hell are those?” I realized then that if I’m going to talk to anybody else, I’ll have to use the standard symbols, so I eventually gave up my own symbols.