I certainly remember building model rockets. It was fun to watch the rocket blast into the air, suspenseful to wonder if the parachute would open to bring the rocket safely back.
Travel provided many interesting experiences, but perhaps the most useful lesson I learned was that I really had no proficiency for learning the thousands of characters of the written Chinese language.
My father was a professor of civil engineering at MIT, and my mother taught high school English.
My fellow students there were very smart, but the really novel thing was that they actually seemed to put a lot of effort into their school work. By the end of my first semester there, I began to get into that habit as well.
As it was, I realized choosing the study of Chinese literature as my life's work was probably a mistake.
Conversely, I came to realize that being good at something is hardly a reason to avoid doing it.
I was born in Palo Alto, California in 1961.
I was partly old-fashioned and partly modern.
Most of my teachers probably found I made less trouble if they let me read.
With every passing year, BEC proves that it still has surprises left for us.
Keep everything in perspective if you wish to be happy. For example... Losing an arm is more an inconvenience than a catastrophe. Things could be a lot worse so why not be grateful they aren't and thereby happy rather than sad?
My head was always bubbling over with facts and it seems to me this had little to do with my paying close attention in school and more to do with my voracious and omnivorous reading habits.
After a semester or so, my infatuation with computers burnt out as quickly as it had begun.
My freshman year of high school I joined the chess and math clubs.
The postdoc explained to me how to distinguish different sorts of particles on the basis of the amounts of energy they deposited in various sorts of detectors, spark chambers, calorimeters, what have you.
Just before my final year of high school, my brother, sister and I moved with my mother to San Francisco.
The 1970s, the decade of my teenage years, was a transitional period in American youth culture.
Between rounds of speed chess I read enough of a programming manual to teach myself to write programs on the school's DEC mainframe in the language Basic.
It was there I met my future wife, Celeste Landry, although our lives took us separate ways for many years and we were not to marry until more than ten years later.
There are relatively few experiments in atomic physics these days that don't involve the use of a laser.
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