Morning Thoughts on Bright People

Bill Gates: ability to look years ahead, and visualize it in the present. He started writing software for fun, and then developed a philosophy to be paid for the work, and to do more… And the works of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are praise-worthy. They are doing good to the global society in a very organized, scientific and effective way.

Andrew Grove (Founder of Intel) : Immigrated to the US from Hungary, failed a physics course and then got an ‘A’- grade in the same, PhD from UC-Berkeley, did not join Bell Labs and instead joined the then small company Fairchild semiconductors, co-founded Intel, evolved as the main business of Intel changed, managed two huge corporate crisis…

Warren Buffet: His ethical, long-term vision in the stock market – a perceived sphere of speculation and manipulation – has helped him create an immense enterprise of trust and huge returns, together! He started small, and rose to the highest… wow!

Steve Jobs: A fighter with a strong heart! rejects education that he cannot afford, works hard with passion and creativity, “co-inventor” of the personal computer with the vision of its large-scale personalized utility, thrown out of the company he founded (Apple computers), creates designs, animations, more companies, an alliance with Disney, invited back to Apple and spurs a renaissance, the launch of Ipod, Iphone… what a great blend of creativity, hunger and innovation! His speech at Stanford is very inspiring, and one of my favorites.

Dhirubhai Ambani: Not a creative genius like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, but a great visionary with infinite confidence and ambition… His self-belief to be the master of his own fate, and not an employee who seeks small gains, helped him rise from low middle-class poverty to the highest corporate peak, in spite of adverse market policies in the then India…

Richard Feynman: He knew the difference between reality and labels. He knew how the same thing could be expressed in different ways, by different-looking formulae… He was not afraid to question, and never scared to speculate, imagine, discuss and play… A very lively character, and an excellent teacher. His interview with the BBC (Horizon) is a wonderful summary of his vision. And the Nobel Physics lecture that he gave is great inspiration for a scientifically curious mind!

Albert Einstein: Not considered good enough for graduate science… so works as a clerk, and makes the most important scientific discoveries. The unified theory of gravitation, relativity, brownian motion, material properties, quantum statistics… there is hardly an area of modern science which does not derive some or the other important thing from Einstein! The fact that the greatest scientist did it in spite of such obstacles, and not through a pristine university scholarship inspires a lot of people, even mediocre ones like myself. His reluctance to accept quantum mechanics is famous, and current scientific attempts to address his doubts should spur even better understanding of reality.

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Future, Opportunities, and Science

‘Structure of Materials’ is a class that I had a lot of problems understanding. So, what’s big deal? Don’t all of us have problems with one or the other thing in life… ?

Well, yes, and no. This post is about the changing times of today, where most of us will have opportunities to solve most of our problems. For my structure class, I was looking across the web and I stumbled across video-taped lectures from an MIT prof. He has brilliantly conveyed subtle technical points of the subject, which could help even a sleepy student like me. At another place, I found this cool cartoon video which tries to make sense of the fascinating double-slit experiment, giving an insight in to wave-particle duality. Even a lay man would enjoy it. And then, there are hundreds of videos on physics, life, interviews, movies etc… (Someone had uploaded ‘Lagey Raho Munnabhai’ on google videos yesterday; of course it was brought down!)

I see a revolution here. I see light and education in villages… A rural kid can now listen to online lectures from MIT and Berkeley, for free. Curious students have all the resources accessible to them. Knowledge is getting decentralized like blitzkreig, and for the good!

Technology is bringing lots of positive changes in our world. And my heart tells me that this shall fare very well for a counry like ours, where we have so many bright people and enormous competition for even tiny opportunities. I am hopeful that this spread of knowledge will soon ensure that the ‘best’ and most deserving people will get an opportunity to make full use of their talent, be it as students of science, inventors, engineers, entrepreneurs or visionaries…