It was good fortune to be a child during the Depression years and a youth during the war years.
Experimental science is a craft and an art, and part of the art is knowing when to end a fruitless experiment. There is a danger of becoming obsessed with a fruitless experiment even if it goes nowhere.
Natures' curriculum cannot be changed.
Going to school and working for good marks, indeed working for very good marks, was a serious business.
I always look for colleagues who are smart, and who know a lot in many fields. The obvious advantage is that he or she may be able to solve the problem that has produced trouble in your work. Also smart and knowledgeable colleagues can save you time, and are interesting and inspiring!
There were two free public libraries within walking distance of my home; I remember taking six books home from every visit, the limit set by the library.
I read everything: fiction, history, science, mathematics, biography, travel.
Imagination and obsession are the keys to getting a good idea. To help your imagination keep your eyes and ears open. Avoid the not invented here prejudice.
Their educations ended with high school - my father going to work as a clerk and then salesman in a company dealing in printing and stationary, and my mother working as a secretary and then bookkeeper in a firm of wool merchants.
Whatever the course, whether the course was boring or interesting to me, whether I was talented in mathematics or not talented in languages, my parents expected A's.
I learned quickly, as I tell my graduate students now, there are no answers in the back of the book when the equipment doesn't work or the measurements look strange.
This was good training for research, because large parts of experimental work are sometimes boring or involve the use of skills in which one is not particularly gifted.
For every good idea, expect to have five, ten, twenty wrong or useless ideas. You cannot avoid the bad ideas if you keep your imagination free. There is no spam filter for bad ideas.
As Jews, their families left Russia to escape the poverty and the antisemitism.
They wanted me to play more sports because they were acutely sensitive to their children being one hundred percent American, and they believed that all Americans played sports and loved sports.