If your literary heritage happens to encompass the writings of James Thurber, you will recall Walter Mitty, a shy fellow with a fantasy life in which he assumed heroic roles—heart surgeon, explorer, private eye, and ace pilot, among others. I think there is something of Walter Mitty in most of us, for who has not had some fantasy such as conquering a great mountain peak or winning at Wimbledon or dancing like Fred Astaire (or perhaps Ginger Rogers) or painting like Picasso, or [insert your favorite fantasy]. This thought occurred to me not long ago as I thumbed through a short monograph printed in 1815. Turning the pages of the antique document triggered a fantasy of being an ace historian of science. Fortunately, one does not need to be an ace historian to enjoy the pleasures of history. Also fortunately, we seem to be in a golden age of the...
Daniel Kleppner; The Master of Dispersion. Physics Today 1 November 2005; 58 (11): 10–11. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.2155731
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