June 9, 2009

my son is a crazy person

What I love about my son's boy scout troop:  They are, by and large, nerds. They are great kids, fun and witty, well intentioned and personable.  After tonight's troop meeting, they were discussing the density of various heavenly bodies.  No, not Angelina Jolie's BMI. Pulsars and Quasars. Red dwarfs and brown dwarfs.

OK, so that's fine.  Maybe they're in the AP test mode, the final exam 
hangover where their mouth becomes the pressure release valve for the extra knowledge they've crammed into their skulls.

When we got home from the meeting, we looked online for some information about pulsars and quasars.  Interesting, really.  It was easy to find basic information.  Then I happened to mention to my son (who is nearly, but not quite, 13 years old, and who nearly, but not quite, is done with 6th grade) that I might have my old college astrophysics textbook lying around.  Why?  Hell if I know.  But we found it, and now, nearly an hour later, he's still got his head buried in it, well past bedtime.  Crazy kid.

This is not your "astronomy for poets" type of book.  This book has over 550 pages, nearly every one of which has something like this on it, frequently more than one:
Yeah, I used to be able to do that kind of thing.  Calculate the surface area of a Gaussian surface.  Solve differential equations.  Figure out why two trains, one leaving Cleveland at 6 a.m. going 100 miles per hour and the other leaving Detroit at 8 a.m. going 80 miles per hour, would end up in a lawsuit involving a cup of McDonald's coffee, a firefighter with three testicles, and a vicious pack of meerkats.  (Yes, I went to UC Berkeley.)

Anyway, my point is that... what kind of 12 year old buries himself in a book like this?  Nutty kid.


pacatrue said...

While all my math is gone, I used to be kinda like him in that I'd put off homework by scanning through random books of history or science. Was it procrastination or learning? The world may never know.

freddie said...

I don't know, but that's pretty cool.

Stephen Parrish said...

Figure out why two trains, one leaving Cleveland at 6 a.m. going 100 miles per hour and the other leaving Detroit at 8 a.m. going 80 miles per hour, would end up in a lawsuit . . .

Not to mention one conductor will age faster than the other.

Robin S. said...

Very cool, Pete. Very cool, indeed.

writtenwyrdd said...

He's the kind of crazy person the world can use. My brother was like that, actually loved reading math books and computer geeky things. Now he earns big bucks as a "big picture" guy who can understand how all the parts of a big program/hardware array (or whatever it's called) relate to the whole and see where the problems are. It's a rare talent.

Aniket said...

The good kind does Pete.. the good kind. :)

Am back to doing math for an exam am planning to take. It feels good to be back to those problems. I'm feeling my brain was half asleep for the last couple of years and is now waking up slowly. Each answer deduced gives deep satisfaction and a unique sense of achievement. I had missed that a lot. :)

PS: Looking forward to your entry over at Jasons :)

Aerin said...

My three-year-old daughter wants not a princess, not a Barbie, not a hula hoop or a soccer ball, but a microscope.

"Not the one at Target. The one at the dinosaur museum."

Maybe she'll be your guy's grad student when he's a professor.

McKoala said...

Obviously a mini-PJD.

May Vanderbilt said...

Nutty kid, lucky daddy! Boy howdy my parents would have loved them some kids like that.

Instead they got: a son who is still looking for a career where you "get paid to read" and a daughter who can't add without a calculator.