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:

Madras Clerk Srinivasa Ramanujan

After failing his school examinations, Ramanujan obtained a position as a clerk in the city of Madras. Before his death at age 32, made fundamental advances in mathematics including Riemann series, the elliptic integrals, hypergeometric series and functional equations of the zeta function.

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Political activist Evariste Galois

Made enormous contributions to group theory, polynomial equations, and number theory prior to his death at age 20.

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Unemployed Californian Larry Ellison

After being divorced by his first wife because she said that he would never amount to anything or make any money, started Oracle Corporation, world's leading supplier of relational database management software (Note to academic computer scientists: don't worry if you aren't sure what an RDBMS is; it isn't necessary for running Microsoft Word).

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Frail Lincolnshire Lad I. Newton

During an 18-month school vacation, developed calculus, inverse square law of gravitation, and laws of motion.

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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