A parent being called to the school because their child had misbehaved was as serious as a parent being called to the police station because their child had robbed a bank.
Experimental science is a craft and an art, and part of the art is knowing when to end a fruitless experiment. There is a danger of becoming obsessed with a fruitless experiment even if it goes nowhere.
The experimenter dealing with nature faces an outside and often hard world. Natures' curriculum cannot be changed.
I read everything: fiction, history, science, mathematics, biography, travel.
My final remark to young women and men going into experimental science is that they should pay little attention to the speculative physics ideas of my generation. After all, if my generation has any really good speculative ideas, we will be carrying these ideas out ourselves.
I learned quickly, as I tell my graduate students now, there are no answers in the back of the book when the equipment doesn't work or the measurements look strange.
Their educations ended with high school - my father going to work as a clerk and then salesman in a company dealing in printing and stationary, and my mother working as a secretary and then bookkeeper in a firm of wool merchants.
Whatever the course, whether the course was boring or interesting to me, whether I was talented in mathematics or not talented in languages, my parents expected A's.
They wanted me to play more sports because they were acutely sensitive to their children being one hundred percent American, and they believed that all Americans played sports and loved sports.
There were two free public libraries within walking distance of my home; I remember taking six books home from every visit, the limit set by the library.
It was good fortune to be a child during the Depression years and a youth during the war years.
My parents regarded school teachers as higher beings, as did many immigrants.
I was also interested in chemistry, but my parents were not willing to buy me a chemistry set.
Going to school and working for good marks, indeed working for very good marks, was a serious business.
About 1900 my parents came to the United States as children from what was then the Polish area of Russia.
The remoteness of my parents from the schools, so unfashionable today, was often painful for me, but I learned early to deal with an outside and sometimes hard world.
My parents were determined to move into the middle class.
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