What makes a toddler choose to turn into a scientist?
• For Robert Sapolsky–Stanford professor of biology–it used to be an issue with a rabbi over a passage within the Bible.
• Physicist Lee Smolin lines his idea to a quantity of Einstein’s paintings, picked up as a diversion from heartbreak.
• Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist and the writer of Flow, came across his calling via Descartes.
Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Humphrey, Freeman Dyson . . . 27 scientists in all write approximately what it used to be that despatched them at the route to their life's paintings. Illuminating memoir meets very good technological know-how writing in tales that invite us to think about what it is–and what it isn’t–that units the clinical brain aside.
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Extra info for Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist
Her father, a son of a hotelkeeper in the Groningen countryside, was a teacher at a school for deaf-mutes; her mother came from a big farm. I have mentioned already that my mother had been a schoolteacher and had attended my father's lectures. She had three sisters and two brothers. The elder brother became a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church-he belonged definitely to the liberal nondogmatic wing of that institution. The younger one, after some unsuccessful attempts at a career in industry and in office work, acquired a considerable reputation (and earned a comfortable income) as a faith healer.
It stayed provisional for more than half a century. By 1909-the year of my birth-these hurdles had been taken and the school was officially opened. It had already been in operation for three years as an annex to a private elementary school. My father Family Background and Schooldays I 15 was devoted to his school. The telephone in our home might ring at any time, during meals or late at night and during the weekend. Then he would quote I Samuel 3:9, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth," before lifting the receiver, and he would listen patiently to whatever wish or complaint or problem a parent or a teacher might want to discuss.
Family Background and Schooldays I 13 when he came home and if I had heard the crying and sobbing of his wife and children when they were beaten up, I would have felt differently; my mother, who before her marriage had been a schoolteacher in a notoriously tough and poor rural area, wholeheartedly concurred. One of the men he met in the course of his extracurricular activities was Jan Ligthart, and it gives me real pleasure to devote a page ofa book that will deal mairily with the progress of science and with prominent scientists to this humble headmaster of an elementary school in a slum quarter of The Hague.
Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist