Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ludwig Boltzmann and Oatmeal

I coming across fun stuff as I clean the basement. Here's a piece from 'Physics Today', January, 1992, pp. 44-51.

Ludwig Boltzmann, one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, spent the summer of 1905 in Berkeley, California. He was invited to dinner by Phoebe Hearst (mother of William Randolph Hearst) at her Livermore estate:
As the only European at dinner, I got to sit at Mrs. Hearst's right hand. First came blackberries. "No thank you," I said. Then came the melon, which my hostess salted for me most appetizingly with her own hands. Again I passed. Then came "oat meal," an indescribable paste that one might use in Vienna to fatten geese. But I doubt Viennese geese would touch it. I had already noted, however, a somewhat displeased glance from Alma Mater when I declined the melon. Such a one is proud of her kitchen. So I choked down the oat meal with averted face and thanked God that it stayed down."

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