Hope for the future – geniuses in our midst!

Although that might sound like a mysterious way to start a post, don’t worry. Its not. I’ll say instead that it’s positive and encouraging.
I have spent the last week in a primary school looking at the next crop of Britain’s would be scientists, politicians, lawyers, farmers, doctors, till operators and benefit acceptees. A very diverse range of 7 to 11 year olds! And yes, I’ll freely admit that to give pupils arbitrary labels (as above) at such as young age is wrong. However, the realist in me says that from within any such group of youngsters, there will inevitably be a spread of life outcomes.

However, during this week of science enrichment and observations, I had the privilege to sit next to a nine (nearly ten) year old boy who was shortly to be put in for a maths GCSE. This, I was informed, was only going to happen as he would get an A* and anything less would disappoint. Pushy parents aside, I was so impressed that a nine year old could grasp a level of mathematics that 99% of the populous would still need an additional 4 to 5 years minimum, of schooling before being ready for that level qualification that I then began to imagine what this young man, sitting quietly next to me on a laptop, might be capable of as he nears adulthood. What might he accomplish, what goals would he have and in what direction might his, love of and aptitude for maths, take him?

A flight of fancy, I know, but could I have been sat next to the next Feynman???
Who knows?! ……. but how often can anyone say that have sat next to a potential genius?


Sometimes, its not what, its who !

Its so nice to be surprised and how often does it really happen today? I was talking with a good friend of mine the other day about a small sideline project I have on the go to do with lasers. After a brief chat about my collimation issues with this HeNe beam, he happened to mention that he knew and was good friends with J R Acton creator of the Dekatron tube and one of this countries laser pioneers.

He was one of the first people to add neon to the helium lasing medium, initially to stabilise the breakdown of helium metastables to single ion ground states, thereby increasing efficiency.
Even at 91 years age this amazing chap is still sharp as a tack. His current endeavour is researching Bach and pre Bach symphonies with a view to writing his own! My friend is incredibly lucky to have such a scientific guru.
If only we were all so lucky ?!

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