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I Am An Idea Man

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Posted by Richard Ruquist on December 18, 2001 14:52:57 UTC

A high school teacher once labeled me as an idea man. Over the years I came to appreciate the accuracy of her remarks. I got through a fairly rigorous education, many courses from Nobel Prize winners, by relying on my creativity rather than my smarts. For a scientist I am rather dumb. But I learned how to beat the system. I was 17th in my high school class in an ordinary town in Connecticut. But I was 3rd in my college class, and straight A's in grad school at the PhD level.

I beat the system by having more ideas than the competition. After PhD I went to work on Star Wars, which at that time was a bluff. So I was able to capitalize on my creative instincts. I knew how to make mathematics do anything I wanted. And then if you just program the solution, everybody believes it because it came out of a computer, especially if it came out of a computer programmed with full-wave optics. Even the Russians admitted that the Berlin wall came down because of Star Wars and Chernobyl.

So I do not pretend to be rigorous. Carelessuniverse is right on that one. I am more like a dumb Feymann. BTW, I learned how to make math work for me from George Carrier, but I do not imagine that you have ever heard of him, he was an applied mathematician; which is essentially what my professional training is, even though my PhD is in physics.

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