Saturday, April 16, 2011
Dr. William Lipscomb
I heard on the radio that Dr. William Lipscomb had recently passed away at the age of 91. I confess that I really had no idea who he was. I became a little more interested when the announcer reported that he taught chemistry t Harvard and had won the Nobel Prize for chemistry. There aren’t many people that have done that. Then I became really interested when they said three of his former students had also won Nobel prizes. To me, that is really a much greater achievement. The mark of a good teacher is not what he has done, but what his students have done. He accomplished more by being a great teacher than he could have possibly done individually. I had to Google him to learn more. When I did, I found out that he was a student of another famous Nobel prize winning teacher – Linus Pauling. One of the quotes attributed to Dr. Lipscomb was “For me, the creative process, first of all, requires a good nine hours of sleep a night. Second, it must not be pushed by the need to produce practical applications.” I love this guy and I never met him. Here is a Nobel prize winning Harvard professor saying he is motivated by a need for practical application. This week’s posting is dedicated to celebrating the life of a great teacher, Dr. William Lipscomb.