dangerousmeta!, the original new mexican miscellany, offering eclectic linkage since 1999.

Sunday, December 26, 1999.

Time magazine has announced Albert Einstein as ‘Person of the Century.’

Growing up in Princeton, we all lived with Einstein and his legacy. One of the favorite stories in town involves his sailing excursions on Lake Carnegie. He loved to sail, but couldn’t swim. During the war years the Secret Service would follow him along the banks of the lake, to make sure he didn’t drown.

There was an unwritten rule in town ... you drove VERY slowly. Oppenheimer, Einstein, von Neumann and others had the habit of getting into very deep discussions, and not looking where they were going. You didn’t want to be the person who ran over one of our country’s leading thinkers!

If you ever get the chance, visit the grounds of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. A beautiful large lawn out in front, with a circle drive, the pathworn woods behind. Princeton has changed mightily, but that area still remains much as it did when einstein walked to the institute from his home.

All these years later, you’ll still feel the buzz in your synapses.

You will find that the intelligentsia in Princeton are more impressed these days with the mathematician John von Neumann. Not many people realize he’s buried in Princeton Cemetery. His speed of thought (able to calculate complex equations in his head in seconds) are the stuff of legend. He apparently would work it all out in his head first, then write it down!

His “Theory of Games and Economic Behavior” still has wide-reaching effects. The aspiring mathematician is not the one behind the chess board ... he/she is the one playing poker.

12/26/99 • 04:16 PM • HistoryPersonal • No Comments

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