My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death. – Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
“For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” Walt Whitman, as photographed by Mathew Brady.
I am not a “natural” scientist. My interest in science is deep-rooted, and I’ve gone as far educationally in my field of physics as it is possible to do. However, science doesn’t come naturally to me, in the sense that I’ve always had to labor to understand. I envy those who seem to read a technical paper and immediately get what it’s about, or synthesize new information instantaneously.
However, for me, science is a compulsion, coupled with a need to share what I know and learn with others — as particle physicist A. Zee says, “I must confess that I have an almost insatiable desire to explain.”* (I have to suppress that urge at science museums sometimes.) Maybe at one point in my life, I might have successfully moved to another field, but ...