Saturday, January 23, 2010

Anecdotes of some great scientists

I absolutely love compiling such stuff. These are a few personal favorites:-

Who's the creator?

The story is told of an atheist scientist, a friend of Sir Isaac Newton, who knocked on the door and came in after he had just finished making his solar system machine(i.e one of the machines like one in the science museum where you crank the handle and the planets and the moon moves round). The man saw the machine and said "how wonderful" and went over to it and started cranking the handle and the planets moved round. As he was doing this he asked, "Who made this?"
Sir Isaac stopped writing and said "nobody did". Then he carried on writing.
The man said "You didn't hear me. Who made the machine?"
Newton replied, "I told you. Nobody did".
He stopped to cranking and turned to Isaac, "Now listen Isaac, this marvelous machine must have been made by somebody-don't keep saying that nobody made it".
At which point Isaac Newton stopped writing and got up. He looked at him and said, "Now isn't it amazing. I tell you that nobody made a simple toy like that and you don't believe me. Yet you gaze out into the solar system-the intricate marvelous machine that is around you-and you dare say to me that none made that. I don't believe it".
As far as the record goes the atheist went away and he was no longer an atheist. He was suddenly converted to the idea that God was behind the laws that were found in the creation.

It's 'relatively' easy

Here's a story about how Albert Einstein was travelling to universities in a chauffer-driven car delivering lectures on his theory of relativity. One day while in transit, the chauffer remarked: "Dr. Einstein, I've heard you deliver that lecture 30 times. I know it by heart and give it myself."
"Well, I'll give you a chance", said Einstein. "They don't know me at the next college, so when we go there I'll put your cap and you introduce yourself as me and give the lecture."
The chauffer delivered Einstein's lecture flawlessly. When he finished, he started to leave, but one of the professors stopped him and asked a complex question filled with mathematical equations and formulae. The chauffer thought fast. "The solution to that problem is so simple," he said, "I'm surprised that you have to ask me. In fact, to show you how simple it is, I'm going to ask my chauffer to come up here and answer your question."

Srinivasa Ramanujam:1729

Srinivasa Ramanujam was a mathematical prodigy. "I remember once going to see him when he was lying ill at Putney," the mathematician G.H. Hardy once remarked. "I had ridden in a taxicab number 1729, and remarked that the number seemed to me a rather dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavourable omen."
"No, ' he replied, 'it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways."
[" Every positive integer," Hardy later remarked, "was one of his personal friends." Despite receiving little formal education, Ramanujam was discovered by Hardy, to whom he sent some of his first papers. Hardy later gave Ramanujam a rating of 100 on his own scale of "pure talent". Hardy's own rating? 25.]

Beating the drum

In 1996 the famed Nobel Prize winning physisist Richard Feynman, a passionate drummer, was asked by a Swedish encyclopedia publisher to supply a photograph of hiself "beating the drum to give a human approach to a presentation of the difficult matter that theoretical physics represents."
Feynman's reply?
Dear sir,
The fact that I beat a drum has nothing to do with the fact that I do theoretical physics. Theoretical physics is a human endeavor, one of the higher developments of human beings, and the perpetual desire to prove that people who do it are human by showing that they do other things that a few other humans do (like playing bongo drums) is insulting to me. I am human enough to tell you to go to hell.
Yours, RPF.

I have loads to write on life these days, but my old foe, one of the seven sins-sloth-is preventing me to type any further.
Peace out!
PS: The blog looks much better after adding a couple of fun gadgets. The fish pond is the best :)
PPS: That's precisely why blogging at blogspot is better than doing the same at wordpress, bigadda etc :) :)


Kardel Sharpeye.... aahh..ok Karn said...

Yo !!!
love this post. slay the beast called sloth and type in more of these.

Incidentally, I read your blog 'coz I was remembering you. Jab thoda free time mile to bata dena :P :P