Sunday, November 18, 2007

Charles Proteus Steinmetz (1865 – 1923)

Charles Proteus Steinmetz (1865 – 1923) was an outstanding electrical genius who specialized in mathematics, electrical engineering, and chemistry. His three greatest electrical contributions were his investigation and discovery of the law of hysteresis, his investigations in lighting, which resulted in his theory on traveling wave, and his discovery that complex numbers could be used to solve AC circuit problems. Solving problems was in fact his specialty, and on one occasion he was commissioned to troubleshoot a failure on a large company system that no one else had been able to repair. After studying the symptoms and schematics for a short time, he chalked an X on one of the metal cabinets, saying that this was where they would find the problem, and left. He was right, and the problem was remedied to the relief of the company executives; however, they were not pleased when they received a bill of $1000. When they demanded that Steinmetz itemize the charges, he replied - $1 for making the mark and $999 for knowing where to make the mark.

The strong message this vignette conveys is that you will get $1 for physical labor and $999 for mental labor, and this is a good example as to why you should continue in your pursuit of education.


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