Aid to Evaluating Your Accomplishments

part of Career Guide for Engineers and Scientists
Compare yourself to these four ordinary people who were selected at random:

University Dropout Carl Friedrich Gauss

By the age of 21, he had constructed a regular 17-gon by ruler and compasses, the most major advance in this field since the time of the Greeks. Subsequently developed method of least squares, normal probability distribution, Fast Fourier Transform, and a non-Euclidean geometry.

(more)

Child of 16-year-old single mother LeBron James

Three-time National Basketball Association most-valuable player. On track to earn $1 billion prior to age 35.

(more)

Heart Patient Ernest Shackleton

After his ship Endurance was crushed in the Antarctic pack ice, took his crew 600 miles to Elephant Island. Sailed with a small team in an open boat 700 miles to South Georgia Island through waters listed as unnavigable by the United States Navy. Retrieved crew on Elephant Island. One man lost a toe to frostbite. Compare with Scott.

(more)

Encyclopedia Americana staff writer Norbert Wiener

Received Ph.D. from Harvard at age 18, subsequently founded field of communication science/cybernetics.

(more)

Programmed by Eve Astrid Andersson and Philip Greenspun back in the mid-1990s. If you're a nerd, you might find the source code useful.

Original Inspiration: How to Make Yourself Miserable, by Dan Greenburg


philg@mit.edu