Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Listen to the touching NPR story on Ransom Myers

In "Science out of the Box," NPR featured "a story of a scientist who earned an international reputation for thinking outside the box." Below are some notes but it is much better to listen to the 3/30/07 edition at or download it from itunes.

Ram ... was one of those guys who always stood out at scientific conferences ... partly it was the kids - he had five - and one or two always seem to be following him around at a meeting. But it was also ... his ability to instantly see the hole in any argument. Biologist Charles Peterson said, Ram "had a twinkle in his eye and good humor but his comments were always sharp and to the point..."

Ram's voice from a few years ago: "the amazing thing we found...changing fundamentally the world's ocean without really thinking about it and really understanding it." Those studies made Ram a hero of conservatism.

Ram once said that it was bit of a fluke that he ended up studying species. He grew up in rural Mississippi. His precocious talent for math and science cause problems at school.
Andy Rosenberg said that Ram told him that "when he was in high school, he came to an agreement with the teachers that they had taught him everything they could and it would be better if that just left him in the library to learn things for himself."

....As a grad student at Dal, Ram began using his mathematical talent to understand how the oceans work. Andy Rosenberg was at Dal then & remembered Ram "coming out of the elevator with a stream of paper behind him (from the old teletype sheets) and Ram said 'I had this idea and I've written it up' and it fragments of sentences, equations and graphs ...he walked down the hall with a paper stream behind of him... that was just so much Ram."

Ram was never shy about defending his work. At one public debate, he titled his power point presentation "I AM RIGHT." Andy Rosenberg was there and the memory brought tears.

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