Monday, November 26, 2007

Pleasant memories

One of my cousins got married this weekend, and in the course of the festivities, my family (all my immediate and some of my extended) went to the MIT museum. It was there that I was reminded of one of the most exciting experiences of my life.

The MIT museum has an exhibit dedicated to the work of Harold, or Doc, Edgerton, "the man who made time stand still." When I was 16, I made a campus visit to MIT. I wanted to go to college there, as my very smart Aunt and Uncle had Ph.Ds from the place, and my very smart cousin, who worked on Apollo rockets, was an engineering alum (since then, yet another cousin got at Econ Ph.D. there--he now teaches at Northwestern). During the campus visit, I was taken to Doc Edgerton's lab, where the man himself was working (playing?) with his strobe. He asked if I wanted to see how it worked! And so it was for the first time that I saw milk drops falling and eggs smashing at a speed at which every detail was visible (it was like watching CSI for real, only not so bloody).

Boy, did that make me want to go to the Institute! In the end, they made the wise decision not to take me (I am really not good enough at math), so I spent four nice years a couple of miles down the street. But I hadn't thought about that day for a long time, and it was nice to have it returned to me.

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