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The following brief notes will introduce visitors to some of the noteable people who have-influenced the writer-of-the-essays - - - which are made available via this web site. einstein.htm tells of notable leaders who influenced the writer of essays available at These brief notes just hint at the ways in which the notable people played influential roles in leading this writer to frame questions and comments offered in essays here. Included here are only people for whom biographies were found on the web. There have been many private friends and acquaintances who were equally influential! This writer at-least-met all but the first five of the notable people listed below. The ordering seen below has been influenced by associations in the life of this writer.
Khalil Gilbran, best known as the author of The Prophet, is honored by a small park in Washington D.C. across from the British Embassy. This writer has visited that park and has been present at three Gilbran Awards Banquets in Washington D.C.; fund-raisers of the Arab American Institute Foundation. HIGHLIGHTED ITEMS BELOW ARE CLICKABLE LINKS TO INFORMATION ABOUT THE INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE. Put the cursor on A CLICKABLE LINK and click on it - - - to get such INFORMATION. Soren Kirkegaard wrote the book Fear and Trembling which influenced this writer during his undergraduate college years, in conjunction with Buber's I and Thou next below. Martin Buber wrote the book I and Thou which influenced this writer during his undergraduate college years in conjunction with the book "Fear and Trembling" noted just above. Robert Oppenheimer in November of 1956 took time to respond to a letter from this writer, explaining a bit of what the Institute for Advanced Study was focusing on. He had headed up the USA creation of the first atomic bombs, and asked Edward U. Condon, noted below, to be his assistant in that effort. But Condon and Lester Groves did not get along with each other and Condon lost the contest. Einstein was a nickname for this writer when he was in high school. John Ely noted below was a major mentor for this writer of these essays in getting started in politics in Cedar Rapids Iowa in the late 1960's. John Ely wore second hand clothes much like those of Einstein, with whom he had become acquainted as an usher at concerts, and had visited in Einstein's home on one occasion. ============================================================================================== John Ely was a political mentor for this writer during the late 1960s in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. John Ely played a central role in abolishing the death penalty in Iowa and in helping the Iowa Democratic Conference to start a chapter in Linn County where this writer was elected to serve as the chair of the chapter --- until the Iowa Democratic Conferance in effect merged with the Iowa Democratic Party in about 1974. At the time that this writer, who did not seek the position, was elected unopposed, to serve as the new Secretary of the Iowa Democratic Party just after serving in four-key-positions at the State Democratic Convention. Two years later he again was elected unopposed for a second two-year term. Due to family considerations, he declined to serve a third two-year term. The Duane Arnold Energy Center just outside of Cedar Rapids, Iowa is named after the man who was the CEO of the company that built the nuclear power plant. This writer became acquainted with him after having called attention in the news media to the the risks of the "Atomic Energy Commission" having both the responsibility of promoting the use of domestic nuclear energy and policing the safety of such efforts. There followed cordial in-person conferences and free access for this writer's students to view the progress in the construction of the nuclear power plant. Arthur Holly Compton won the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering what has since then been called "The Compton Effect" --- where photons lose energy and gain wavelength when they bounce off of electrons. He oversaw the building and "going-critical" of the first nuclear pile --- leading to the building of the first atomic bombs and the beginning of the "Nuclear Age". This writer had an office in Crow Hall on the Washington University campus in Saint Louis, MO with a few other graduate students --- next to the office of Dr. Compton in his retirement. We would often meet and greet each other in the hall, and BOTH attend weekly departmental seminars given by visting physics researchers. Edward U. Condon was the chairman of the Physics Department at Washington University in Saint Louis, when the writer was a graduate physics student there. The writer having built a six-inch reflecting telescope as a high school amature astronomer, been in charge of the Park College's Astronomical Observatory, having the same name as Dr. Condon's son, and reminding Dr. Condon of his son --- lead to an appointment to be Dr. Condon's Teaching Assistant in his Modern Astronomy class --- with the freedom to run the laboratory sessions as seemed fit. Some work was done on the units section of the "Handbook of Physics" written by Dr. Condon with Dr. Hugh Odishaw. It was fun to field questions in phone calls to the Physics Department about "flying saucers" in the sky; always the Planet Venus as a very bright "evening star". It was fun being involved for a few weeks reporting to the national level sightings of the place in the sky of the first Soviet Space Satellite at accurately noted times. It was interesting to have informal conversations with Dr. Condon which were not part of the job description. Henry Primakoff taught a two term course in mechanics taken by this writer. In the news was talk of how much nuclear explosions might throw Earth's axis off its alignment to the stars --- by a USA Presidential candidate. The final exam asked how much it could be thrown off by a cannon using a charge equivalent to all nuclear weapons previously exploded to blow ALL of the stuff under the surface of Rhode Island away, in an optimal direction for tilting the axis. The writer found it would not be detectable by all the world's astronomers working together. Politics is not an exact science! Eugene Feenberg taught classes in quantum mechanics taken by the writer at Washington University. On the final exam he acknowledged that he had not gotten in the topics planned for the final two sessions of the class, and challenged his students to sketch what should have been covered in those missing final sessions. That was a real test of what the students had been learning! The missing content followed logically from what led up to them. He was patient in working with students who had learning difficulties. Bernard Feld was chairman of the MIT physics department when the writer moved to Tufts University in Medford, MA to work on a Ph.D. in physics. When the Christian Science Monitor reported that Dr. Feld had been elected as the first Chairman of the "Council for a Livable World" the writer regarded it as "window-dressing" for two days --- until the writer received a hand-written post card from Dr. Feld, inviting this writer to a meeting at MIT to begin forminga Cambridge, MA chapter of the Council for a Livable World. Apparently Dr. E. U. Condon had informed Dr. Feld of a known prospect at Tufts University. That contact led years later to this writer initiating a trip by Dr. Feld to Coe College to talk about nuclear war two times. Once he asked for a private phone to make a call. When the empty office across the hall was opened Dr. Feld said he was calling the offices of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists with the famous "Doomsday-Clock" on each cover --- to order the clock be set closer to mid-night and to send his editorial comments on that event due to the failure of the "SALT Talks". He, in personal conversations, told of the "Atomic Scientist" not talking about what nuclear explosions would do to humans affected by them, about having drawn straws to assign him the task of assembing the fifth atomic bomb to drop on Japan if such was needed, and of the "Atomic Scientists" being surprised and distressed about how quickly the second atomic bomb was dropped on Japan after the first bomb was dropped on Japan. Melba Phillips was a notable presence in the Washington University Physics Department --- because she was the only woman professor and because she was clearly concerned with the challenges of teaching physics. Click on the previous hyper-link for more information about her challenged career. John Fowler encourage this writer in his informal research regarding the waves of radio- active fallout blanketing the Washington University Campus during the time of the formation of the "Saint Louis Committee for Nuclear Information" in about 1958-59. Jerome Grossman was the Chairman of the "Council for a Livable World" in the 1980's when this writer had the privilege of visiting with him at his home in the Boston area --- about some mutual concerns at that time. (Look about 40% through the web page.) James Van Allen was the Chairman of the Physics Department at the University of Iowa when this writer had the pleasure of spending time there during a sabbatical --- as a visiting Professor of Physics and a Visiting Professor of Science Education in 1993 --- observing the interactions between the two departments. Dr. Joseph Kasper who was the Chairman of the Coe College Physics Department in 1964 when this writer became a Professor of Physics at Coe College. Dr. Kasper had earned his doctoral degree in colaborations with Dr. Van Allen. This writer spent a few summers teaching Modern Astronomy in the Physics Deptartment or on the staff of some National Science Foundation Seminars for science teachers in the Department of Science Education which is also housed in Van Allen Hall. Paul Tillich was at times in Cambridge, MA when this writer was working on his Ph.D. in Physics at Tufts University. Margaret Smith, the writer's observant wife, saw a note in the Christian Science Monitor saying that Paul Tillich would be speaking to the graduate students' group at "First Church, Cambridge". (That church was involved in putting Harvard University across the Cambridge Commons from the church.) We visited with Paul Tillich on that occasion, joined First Church Cambridge for five years, heard Paul Tillich preach on the Harvard University Campus a few times and visited a second with him at the graduate students' group at First Church, Cambridge. Harold Hughes was still involved in the political life of Iowa as a former Governor of Iowa when this writer was elected unopposed to be the the Secretary of the Iowa Democratic Party. Former Governor Hughes was a spell-binding orator. When he spoke at a convention you could have heard a pin drop. He got standing ovations, even when preaching pacifism! When he could not speak to war-protesters outside of a State Democratic Party Convention --- at the same time as he was supposed to officially address the convention --- the protesters were invited inside to hear him speak. This writer was privileged to meet him a few times and to be involved in some small group conversations with him, and at other leaders' request nominated Harold Hughes to be supported by the "Iowa Democratic Conference" to be President of the United States; but he declined to run --- because of his pacifist's beliefs. John Culver was one of Iowa's members in the United States House of Represenatatives when this writer became heavily involved in the Iowa Democratic Party. John Culver was one of the few leading orators in the Iowa Democratic Party --- but had a tendency to keep on speaking beyond his alloted amount of time --- when this writer was the Official Time-Keeper at State Conventions of the Iowa Democratic Party. The delegates loved it! He was elected to represent Iowa in the United States Senate and served during 1975 - 1981. His son Chet Culver was Iowa's Secretary of State when the writer and his wife had the pleasure of chatting with him, at his initiative, for about twenty minutes in his office after the second inauguration of Tom Vilsak, as Governor of Iowa; another political acquantance whom we often met, who was succeeded as Governor by none other than Chet Culver! Dick Clark was the legislative assistant to Congressman John Culver when this writer chaired an early meeting of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa chapter of the Iowa Democratic Conference where the members decided to petition the government regarding its militaristic behaviors. Dick Clark on that occasion of our first meeting offered to help in that petition process. He also became a notable orator in the Iowa Democratic party when he leap-frogged over John Culver and was elected to serve in the United States Senate while John Culver continued in the United States House of Representatives. A notable part of his campaign was to walk across Iowa talking to Iowans all along the way. This writer was seated on bleachers at an Iowan Indian pow-wow event, when Dick Clark arrived and came over to shake hands on his walk across Iowa. Dick Clark served as an Iowa U.S. Senator during 1973 - 1979. Tom Whitney was chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party and this writer was the State Secretary of the Iowa Democratic Party when Tom was quoted in TIME MAGAZINE about how the winnowing process was beginning in the 1976 U.S. Presidential Campaign Season. This writer was privileged to personally meet almost all U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidates during the 1970s and 1980s when he was most involved in the Iowa Democratic Party Caucus-Convention- Processes, and overseeing many of the details of the writing and the enforcing of the formal rules of that state-wide process --- in which the U.S.A. was beginning the selection of the next President of the U.S.A. Ed Campbell followed Tom Whitney as the State Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party and this writer continued as the State Secretary of the Iowa Democratic Party --- as the Iowa Caucus Convention Process continued to be formalized --- to insure wide participation by all sectors of the party in the processes of electing balanced-delegations to all: central- committees, county conventions, district-conventions, state-conventions, and national- conventions; and setting priorities among recommended platform-planks at Democratic State Conventions. (Ed Campbell had been Legislative Assistant to Harold Hughes when Hughes was a member of the United States Senate --- after Harold Hughes had been Governor of Iowa. Bonnie Compbell helped break traditions by running for Governor of Iowa and being elected to serve as Attorny General of Iowa. This writer's meetings with her were not particularly significant politically, but were interesting nevertheless in a personal sense, relevant to the framing of questions and texts in essays here. (Look about 60% through the web-page linked to by the previous hyper-link.) Iowa's U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin have long had contrasting views that have been quite evident in press repoarts about them. Tom Harkin is quite liberal in his views and Senator Chuck Grassley is quite conservative in his. However, relations with both were quite gracious; not too surprising as regards relations with Senator Tom Harkin. However, it was surprising to this writer when in Washington D.C. for a national meeting of Physics Department Chairmen, this writer had made an appointment to visit with some person about science education in Senator Grassley's office, the person not specified in advance. On entering Senator Grassley's office for the appointment, the receptionist immediately responded by indicating an aide standing by, who was to escort this writer via the underground rail connection to a U.S. Senators' cloak room, for a meeting with Senator Grassley who was then on the floor of the U.S. Senate in formal session. The aide entered the Senate Chaimber to call Senator Grassley out. When seated together in the cloak room, Senator Grassley said to his aid, "Give me five", and Senator Grassley's undivided attention was held for five minutes, and then the writer was guided back to the Senator's office by his aide. It was an impressive demonstration of how Senators have worked, and might work together. The writer was on that occasion the Secretary of the Iowa Democratic Party. Senator Grassley was a Republican Senator from Iowa in the late 1970's, and has continued in office for over 30 years. He managed to graciously represent his constituents in ways which pleased the majority of his Iowa constituents! Might that occur with more members of Congress? Tom Miller, long an Iowa Attorney General, was a gracious soft-spoken presence at Iowa Democratic Party State Conventions when this writer was actively involved in them. While this writer did not have significant official business to do with him, greetings were with mutual respect, on a first name basis, whenever we met. Such relations set a tone for creative political progress! Jimmy Carter at a Linn County, Iowa, Democratic Party Convention greeted many delegates, as he greeted this writer; with a warm handshake and "Hello, I am Jimmy Carter and I am going to be your next President." --- which turned out to be true. An invitation came from him for dinner in the White House, as they came to other leaders in the Iowa Democratic Party in appreciation for their help in getting him elected President of the U.S.A; but finances and professorial duties led to declining the wonderful invitation. Walter Mondale: Once this writer was about to deliver the report from the Committee on Rules and Nominations at an Iowa 2nd District Convention when there was for this writer an unexpected excitment at the back of the convention hall. Walter Mondale had just arrived. He made his way to the stage where he asked this writer to identify for him the people on the stage and what offices they held. He was just doing his political homework! He was far more personable and authentic than he impressed many people as being over TV. Once this writer when leaving the White House Annex on his own (after spending about an hour with the Science Advisor to the President of the U.S.A.) found himself in front of the office of the Vice President of the U.S.A, whom he had met a few times, and stopped to think about whether he should step in for a personal visit; but regretfully decided that he did not really have any topic of conversation which would justify taking The Vice President's time on that fortuitous occasion. Al Gore and this writer met two memorable times. In person he was far less "stiff" than he seemed to come across on TV. This writer and wife were privileged to ride in the special bus which took Al Gore from the Cedar Rapids, IA airporit to the University Memorial Union Building in Iowa City, Iowa when he announced in Iowa that he was running to become President of the United States. There were five of us associated with Coe College on the bus with him --- because the focus of his speech was education. He talked personally with all 30 of his guests on the large bus as it traveled between the Cedar Rapids Airport and Iowa City. Jim Zogby is a founder of the Arab American Institute. This writer and wife have often watched his weekly internationally broadcast TV interview program --- produced by Abu Dhabi TV and available mostly over Link-TV, a Dish Satellite Channel. This writer and wife have met and visited with him a few times. AAI works to help American citizens who are of Arabic decent to become involved in the American political process at the local, state, and national levels --- as political party activists and as candidates for political elective office.
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