5 weeks ago
Friday, March 02, 2007
Some Days Are Stranger Than Others
Today I met for the first time a certain scientist from another country. I had read some of his papers a while ago, and I was interested to talk to him. He was also interested to talk to me, so a colleague arranged for us to meet today. When I was introduced to him, he looked really surprised and he stared at me in a rather strange way. I just started talking anyway, but after a few minutes, he asked me if I were really the same person who had written the such-and-such paper in 19xx and the so-and-so paper in 19xx and some others he listed. Yes, indeed I was that person. He just shook his head and said "I was not expecting you to look like you do." Hmm. If I had more social skills than I do, I might have had a ready response to that, but as it was, I was perplexed into silence. I waited for him to explain, or not. Finally he said "I've been reading your papers for so long, I expected you to be old and have gray hair." "And glasses?" I asked, helpfully. "Yes, and glasses!" he replied. Then, with that out of the way, we talked about Science for a couple of hours. It turns out we are the same age and have been publishing for the same length of time, so I don't know why he expected me to look so much older than he does.