Olympians, Nobel Laureates, Oscar winners, and others I’ve met

September 23, 2014 by Joshua
in Art, Leadership

Over beers a colleague raised my eyebrows by beginning a sentence with, “So I walked in the Oval Office…” like walking in the Oval Office was just a casual thing everyone does at some point. It turns out he acted as a science advisor for two Presidents. And not just a meeting with a cabinet member here or there, but regular meetings lasting more than an hour.

I decided to think of some of the brushes with serious greatness I’ve had. I don’t know if the following list is bragging or not, since I didn’t do any of those things. To the extent we are the average of the people we know, it says something about me.

  • One guy I know met regularly with two Presidents—Ford and Carter—as a science advisor
  • One guy I know (and sang karaoke with) won an Oscar
  • At least one guy I know met Albert Einstein
  • I work with a four-time Olympian
  • I’ve met four Nobel Prize winners (Melvin Schwartz, T.D. Lee, Joseph Stiglitz, Richard Axel)
  • I danced next to a President’s daughter at a friend’s party and might have said a few words to her
  • A guy I knew worked with the Rolling Stones, the Doors, and Igor Stravinsky
  • A guy I know works with Ornette Coleman

Edit: I’ve since met

  • A Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee
  • Two Brigadier Generals
  • A 4-star General
  • A guy whose wife is the United States president’s personal assistant, who has been in his jet many times
  • A 3-time NBA champion (and 2-time coach of basketball teams that reached the finals)
  • A Fields Medal winner
  • Another Nobel Prize winner (Beatrice Fihn)

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