Sunday, April 02, 2006

Meeting Famous People

While working on the abstract at my advisor's house, an old friend of hers stopped by. I knew who he was when I heard his name, because he is the author of the textbook I'm using in my independent study! I was also looking through some of his publications earlier in the semester to help with my research. He's an absolutely brilliant guy, but I still got to watch him play hide and seek with my advisor's son while we finished my abstract. Apparently he stops by to discuss papers on his way in and out of the country. But it was very weird to just suddenly be introduced to him, and just sit around and chat about research and related topics! In a way, it's a bit scary because I was constantly afraid of sounding like an idiot.

In a sense, this experience reminds me of the inaugural symposium I went to this past December for the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. There were many well known speakers, including five Nobel Laureates (yes, FIVE) in the morning. Seeing that many brilliant people sitting together and discussing the future of neuroscience, philosophy, and related fields was breath taking. One of the most amazing people to be so close to was James Watson, who you should all remember in reference to the double helix of DNA. Even though he's gotten much older, you can see how well his mind still works. Some of the talks were really amazing as well, both academically and overall. If you want to read about this event, you can go to their webpage.

I hope that one day I can accomplish great things and be able to speak intelligently with these people, or at least people of their academic caliber. If I can get through my PhD in a decent amount of time, I have confidence that I will be able to be a success.

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