Many years ago, when the world was younger, and Dylan sang in “My back pages”
Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin’ high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
“We’ll meet on edges, soon,” said I
Proud ‘neath heated brow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.
I studied nuclear physics, radiophysics and astronomy. No kidding! Really!! How the world of physics lost me is a long story which will be told elsewhere. For now, it’s important to know that those years were my formative years, and I came across the works of many titans in various spheres of human activity. I worshipped Feynman, Einstein, Bohr, Shapley, Freeman Dyson, and many others.
One such titan was John Wheeler, who first used the phrase “black hole” to describe those strange things which we know by that name. He died two or three years ago, and in one of his interviews, he said this:
“I like to think of myself as having a sense of judgment. I’m willing to go anywhere, talk to anybody, ask any question that will make headway.
“I confess to being an optimist about things, especially about someday being able to understand how things are put together. So many young people are forced to specialize in one line or another that a young person can’t afford to try and cover this waterfront — only an old fogy who can afford to make a fool of himself.
“If I don’t, who will?”
I am glad to call myself a disciple of the great man – I am constantly trying to make a fool of myself; if I don’t, who will? And I really wish that there were more people in this world making fools of themselves – the world will certainly be a better place, and we will celebrate (without the regret that Dylan felt in his song) the fact that the older we grow, the younger we get.