Maurice Goldhaber on why he writes down his ideas.

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Maurice Goldhaber on why he writes down his ideas.

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Is this your characteristic way of working creatively—to write out the ideas?


I find that it is very rewarding if I write them out. If I don’t write them out, it seems to be just a little idea. If I do, it usually looks right away either nonsense or very good. I think I’m a fair judge of it once I’ve written it out, but I’m not a fair judge if I’ve just a line. I can be self-critical. But of course some of them are ideas which I know I couldn’t carry out by myself, but I might suggest them to somebody. It may be a theoretical idea. It may involve too highbrow a theory for me. Or it may be an idea for an experiment, some of them relatively simple experiments which you could do in a few days-some are more complicated. And so over the years—this should be perhaps off the record—I have had a lot of these great ideas, like the second neutrino and so on.[2] You cannot talk about it later when somebody else did it because I did nothing about it. And sometimes I did nothing about it—inertia I suppose—you can always find a different excuse. But some of the things I have done, so I don’t feel I have let much go unnecessarily. But I haven’t been very professional about pursuing my ideas.