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Murray Gell-Mann

Developer of the Quark Theory

The teacher at MIT, my teacher, who is still alive, Victor Weisskopf, was a wonderful, inspiring person -- is still a wonderful inspiring person. He is really a splendid person, and working with him was marvelous. First of all it was fun, but second I really learned something. Not a fact or a theory particularly, but I learned a principle, which was that fancy mathematics doesn't have any value in science for it's own sake. It may be useful to introduce some new mathematics, some fancy mathematics, because it helps you to get the answer. Helps you to formulate a new theory. Helps you to solve an old one. But just doing it for it's own sake, just snowing people with mathematics is not a good idea. You should use methods that are as simple as possible, given the richness of the material, the depth of the theory that you are applying it to. That was very important, because graduate students are frequently impressed with formalism. And Victy just refused to be impressed with formalism. He said, "That doesn't matter. It's just formalism." What matters is making a new discovery, a new theoretical discovery, not with just improving the formalism. Improving the formalism may prove useful for making a new discovery, and in that case it's fine, but otherwise it is not to be valued. Don't be impressed by formal developments, be impressed by real developments. That was very important for me.
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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: For the most part, my professors treated the women in the class fairly. There was no such thing as "Ladies' Day" in any of my classes. "Ladies' Day" was notorious in law schools. It was the day when only women were called on, and the rest of the year they were ignored. I did not have that experience, but I did have this experience: The nine of us were divided into four sections, so that meant most of us were in a room with just one other woman. If we were called on, we worried that if we failed, if we didn't give the right answer, we would be failing not just for ourselves, but for all women. It is somewhat similar to people saying, when a car takes a wrong turn, "What would you expect? It's a woman driver." So we were on our toes, we were always well prepared. Years later, when women were beginning to come to law school in numbers in the 1970s, I was then teaching at Columbia, and one of my colleagues said that he really longed for the good old days when there were few women in the class, because he said if things were going slowly and you needed a crisp right answer, you called on the woman. She was always prepared. She would give you the right answer and then the class could move along. "But nowadays," he said, "there's no difference; the women are as unprepared as the men."
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Rudolph Giuliani

Former Mayor of New York City

Rudolph Giuliani: Judge McMahon was my first real supervisor, boss. My permanent job was as a law clerk to United States Judge Lloyd F. McMahon, and he had a very big influence on me, a dramatic influence. He was a very, very good lawyer. He was a very good teacher, and he enjoyed taking his time teaching his law clerks. And in addition to being a judge, he enjoyed sitting down with his law clerks and giving them almost a seminar on how to be a trial lawyer, and his lessons -- "Four hours of preparation for every one hour in court; anticipate everything that's going to happen" -- the thing that you mentioned earlier, the idea that being a lawyer is wonderful because you can learn everything. He had a library of books that ranged from astronomy to chemistry to biology, because at one time or another as a trial lawyer, he had to learn all those things for the cases that he was involved in. So he helped me develop both as a lawyer and ultimately -- as I point out in my book -- as a leader.
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Rudolph Giuliani

Former Mayor of New York City

One of the first things that I did when I became mayor is to start a new office that we never had before, the Office of Emergency Management, which was an agency that would pull together the emergency response for the police department, the fire department, all of the public health agencies, the emergency services divisions. And also, not only coordinate those emergency efforts, but to train us for newer emergencies that we might not have really thought about in 1994. So as a result of the Office of Emergency Management, we had had drills for Sarin gas, plane crashes, anthrax, suicide bombings -- all the different kinds of things that you would have imagined might have happened. And we had antidote available to deal with anthrax, to deal with botulism, to deal with the other, Sarin gas. So as a result of the Office of Emergency Management, we had a lot more training in emergencies than we had had before. And we had a lot more training in emergencies than I'm even sure we thought we needed, because we were doing all this training, but when terrorism was predicted, it didn't happen. So then on September 11, when it did happen in an unpredictable way, there was a lot more preparation for it than people would realize, because we had been training in the past, even when it didn't happen, which is a really good lesson for now.
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Rudolph Giuliani

Former Mayor of New York City

I was mayor. Part of my job description was to coordinate and supervise emergencies. The agencies that were the primary responders were all agencies that worked for the mayor. The police department is a mayoral agency. The fire department, EMS, and the commissioners were all my appointees. And we had been through hundreds of emergencies and dozens of significant ones. We had been through airplane crashes before. We had been through building collapses. We had been through blackouts. We had been through hostage situations. We went through West Nile Virus. So, it was a group that handled many, many emergencies, and we had a format for how we did it, and so part of that included my being there, so that I could help to coordinate and make sure everybody was working together, and also communicate with the public, so that you'd get out the information that people needed to be safer.
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