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A few Good Men

“In the most abstract fields—music, mathematics, physics, even chess—the young thrive. Child prodigies are not quite common, but they turn up regularly. Perhaps it makes sense that if a Mozart or a Bobby Fischer were to appear anywhere, it would be in a self-contained field that does not require insight into the quirks of human psychology. We are unlikely ever to meet a twelve-year-old Tolstoy.”
— Edward Dolnick

I was flying from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur when I read this book. The hour was late and it was a moonless, cloudless night. The stars were shining brighter than I had ever seen them before. The setting made the book even more memorable.

So many of the giants who helped shape our present were such normal, flawed individuals. It was their unwavering devotion to a particular cause that allowed them to come up with breakthroughs. Devotion is not the domain of only the exceptional or the gifted. Devotion can be practised by anyone.

We have come a very long way from those dark days. However, we have also forgotten the lessons we learnt from that hopeless ignorance. Dogma and stupidity can never be any substitute for pure, hard science. Science is what brought us here from that murky past. Science is the way.