Saturday, December 12, 2009

Remembering Rudi

For more than a decade in the 1990s and later, I exchanged letters with Gestalt psychologist and art theorist Rudolf Arnheim (1904-2007) some of them wonderfully funny. One day, he sent me this story—

The physicist George Gamow was also an entertaining popularizer. He once told the story of how with his wife and their baby daughter he visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa. As they climbed the steps, they noticed an increasingly musty smell, which they first attributed to the ancient walls of the building. Then, however, they began to suspect their little girl, and by the time they reached the top it was clear that she needed immediate attention. "And from the very place," explained Gamow, raising his arm and his voice dramatically, "where Galileo launched his experimental objects we also propelled…" More…