Monday, September 07, 2009

A Mediocre Student?

I read this Op-Ed piece in the NY Times this morning, without reading who wrote it. Now, why don't you do the same before you take a peak. In particular, what would you think about the author after reading this paragraph? The author is describing his "education" or what he gained from his college years at Cornell.

It didn’t work out quite as I had anticipated. I didn’t know enough to participate in the exciting physics research that was going on at Cornell. I took German, in which the main thing I learned was that I have no head for foreign languages. My courses in philosophy left me puzzled about how ideas of Plato and Descartes that seemed to me absurd could have been so influential. I did not become wise.


So who wrote that? Spoiler below:

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Would you have believed that that was written by Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg?

Now, compare that very humble view with some of the crackpots around the 'net who think that they know everything there is to know after reading some pop-science books.

Zz.

3 comments:

Christine said...

Wow, that's very interesting. It shows the Nobel laureates are just as human as the rest of us.
I read that Richard Feynman's I.Q. was tested at 124 when he was a schoolboy. It's above average, but nothing that we would think a Nobel laureate would have, which would be 150s or so.

Heumpje said...

Creativity is not measured in an IQ test...

Izno Good said...

OK, Weinberg's humbleness is certainly praiseworthy but nothing uncommon. It is relatively easy for people of his stature to show their "weak" sides since they don't need to prove anything about themselves. Besides, this kind of humble and wise behavior will also help to boost their popularity although I doubt Weinberg would have this in mind when making those statements.
Those crackpots, on the other hand, are desperately in need of public attention and as much as pitiful, their arrogant, know-it-all attitude is sort of understandable.