Recently I looked through notebooks from my undergraduate career in physics at Amherst College, 1955-1959. They mostly contained lines of mathematics, with relatively few words and even a smaller number of sentences. Looking back, I realized that these were just the first steps in teaching myself physics.

Despite the best efforts of an excellent physics faculty, I seemed to have written down mainly what was written on the blackboard in front of me. Fortunately, I soon realized that if I were to progress in physics, I would have to flesh out the bare mathematical bones. Starting with a fresh sheet of paper, I tried to reconstruct the lecture. Sometimes I wrote out the words, and often I mumbled them to myself, and, in between, I wrote down the equations. In a fumbling way, I was both learning the physics and starting to become a physics teacher, if only to a...

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