Wednesday, October 12, 2011


In a Harvard Square cafe with a famous theoretical physicist. Small talk after discussing some research. I am in my mid twenties, my counterpart is an older professor.

What do you think happens to those child prodigies?

Weren't you a child prodigy?

No, the real ones. Kid geniuses who finish college at age 12. There's always one in the paper.

I don't think any eighteen year old in the world understands quantum mechanics as well as I do.


Abhinav Singh said...

Wonder what he would have thought of Julian Schwinger talking as equals to Uhlenbeck and Rabi.

 I was in Columbia in 1938 and Schwinger was in trouble; he couldn't get his Ph.D. because he didn't go to lectures of the mathematicians and he didn't have enough credits. So Rabi had told Schwinger that he had to go to my lectures at Columbia; of course, he didn't because it was early in the morning, and I asked Rabi, 'What shall I do?'. I was of course perfectly willing to give him an 'A' on the course because he needed the credits. ... He clearly knew as much as I did - we talked as complete equals. ... Rabi said,

steve hsu said...

Good point. I doubt my friend had ever met any 18 year old like Schwinger.

It's also possible standards have gone up since 1938 ;-)

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