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Date: 2019-09-15 Page is: DBtxt001.php L0700-TPB-Some-of-the-Journey

ABOUT PETER BURGESS
SOME OF THE JOURNEY

BORN IN 1940 AT THE BEGINNING OF WORLD WAR II
WITNESS TO AMAZING CHANGES OVER MORE THAN SEVEN DECADES
SOME REALLY WONDERFUL, SOME QUITE AWFUL

SCIENTIFIC DEVELOPMENTS GO TOP

DNA
TPB Note: I attended a lecture when I was at Cambridge in the late 1950s where Francis Crick and James Watson were presenting their work on DNA sequencing. At the time I was near the completion of my engineering studies and considering broadening my education to study economics. I recall a massive 'Lego' model of the DNA helix on their stage, and observing to a friend afterwards that I had been completely unimpressed by almost everything they had talked about! So much for my perception!
Later, sometime in the 1980s I attended a lecture given by James Watson at the New York Library that updated the progress that had been made up to that point on the understanding the human genome. This time I was impressed by the modesty of the presentation, which embraced the idea that only a very tiny amount of what there was to know had yet been uncovered and understood. The metaphor used was that it was like opening a PC, and learning that it was the chip that was the driver ... but not having any idea about the operating system or anything else. This was about the time that Bill Gates was on record observing that 512K of memory should be enough for anyone! By this time, I was starting to understand the implications of modern bio-science and its potential for better health.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Watson Open external link
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Crick Open external link

Lasers
TPB Note: Around 1962 I went to a lecture at the Royal Institution in London where a laser was going to be demonstrated. I was told that this demonstration of a laser was being done in the same room that Faraday had demonstrated electricity some decades before. The room was quite large ... essentially a lecture hall that had a width of around 100 feet. At the front of the room pretty much stretching from one side of the room to the other was the apparatus. It was explained to us that laser light was not like regular light, but was pulsing in lock step rather than randomly. The system was turned on ... and after quite a time, there was a huge bang and a balloon on the other side of the room burst.
Fast forward ... the idea that lasers are now ubiquitous is very thought provoking ... and the importance of lasers in all sorts of applications from supermarket check out systems to advanced military systems to destroy the enemy.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser Open external link

Optical fiber
TPB Note: In the late 1960s, optical fiber was emerging. I was aware of some of the talk, but it was seeing a decorative lamp using optical fiber that first got me to pay attention. For some reason I remember seeing this decorative lamp in the window of a store in a shopping mall in Milford, Connecticut in the winter of 1968 ... and thinking about the science that was making this possible. I still cannot get my head around the idea that it was this technology literally has communications functioning all around the world at the speed of light.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_fiber Open external link

Digital Communications
TPB Note: Early in the 1970s I was the budget manager for Gulton Industries, the parent company of Data Systems Inc. Data Systems was a cutting edge technology company which was supplying communications equipment for NASA's Apollo Program. This is where I first learned about Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) and its efficiency relative to conventional analog communications signals. I believe it was Data Systems technology that enabled the communication between space and earth during the lunar landing program ... and some of the foundational aspects of the modern digital age.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse-code_modulation Open external link

THE SECOND WORLD WAR GO TOP

FAMILY, FRIENDS, CONNECTIONS
ALFRED LAPADULA
Italian American ... New Yorker ... Gentleman ... Entrepreneur ... Friend
Open L0600P-Alfred-Lapadula



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