Thursday, 25 June 2009

driven by a curiosity about nature

Here’s a portrait of a scientist I like — and envy. From H2O: A Biography of Water by Philip Ball:
Born in 1731, Henry Cavendish was an eccentric millionaire and a grandson of a duke, a self-financed natural philosopher whose social peculiarities did not prevent him from becoming a distinguished member of the Royal Society in London. He seems to have been driven by a curiosity about nature, which he pursued methodically to the exclusion of any curiosity about his fellow people. Cavendish seemed to care very little for the high esteem in which he came to be held; indeed, he seems to have been positively embarrassed by it.
Can you imagine anyone doing as much as him, without a need to write grants or publish? According to Wikipedia,
At age 18 (in 1749) he entered the University of Cambridge in St Peter’s College, now known as Peterhouse, but left four years later without graduating.
Nice. Probably got bored or something.

H20: A Biography of Water

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