Profound Insights of the Laureates

by Marc Abrahams

Henry Kendall was a Professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. This interview was conducted in 1991. Professor Kendall died in 1999.

How much time do you spend daydreaming?

A. A fair amount.

When you doodle on paper, what does it look like?

A. The doodling is usually done under circumstances where it distracts me from something that's extraordinarily tedious or tiresome. I try frequently to do projections of three-dimensional structures because it can take my mind off of inconsequential events better than plain two-dimensional structures.

Do you recommend that people whistle while they work?

A. It depends on the circumstances. I regard it is infinitely superior to smoking. It's less stress-relieving than having a drink during work. And it's much less stress-relieving than having several drinks. But the latter therapy has to be considered on a case by case basis with due regard to the circumstances.

Do you have any advice for young people who are entering the field?

A. Well, I would say that my previous answers reflect many years of participation and interest in the field. But my experience does not constitute an adequate base for advising young people at the present time.

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