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.


Child of Japanese and Korean immigrants Sho Yano

Earned PhD in biology at age 18 while attending medical school, from which he received an MD at age 21.


Corsican Lieutenant Napoleon Bonaparte

Conquered most of Europe and Egypt. Emancipated the Jews throughout Europe.


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.


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