Make: Maverick Scientist

Book description

Maverick Scientist is the memoir of Forrest Mims, who forged a distinguished scientific career despite having no academic training in science. Named one of the "50 Best Brains in Science" by Discover magazine, Forrest shares what sparked his childhood curiosity and relates a lifetime of improbable, dramatic, and occasionally outright dangerous experiences in the world of science.

At thirteen he invented a new method of rocket control. At seventeen he designed and built an analog computer that could translate Russian into English and that the Smithsonian collected as an example of an early hobby computer. While majoring in government at Texas A&M University, Forrest created a hand-held, radar-like device to help guide the blind. And during his military service, he had to be given special clearance to do top secret laser research at the Air Force Weapons Lab. Why? Because while he lacked the required engineering degree, they wanted his outside-the-box thinking on the project.

He went on to co-found MITS, Inc., producer of the first commercially successful personal computer, wrote a series of electronics books for Radio Shack that sold more than seven million copies, and designed the music synthesizer circuit that became known as the infamous Atari Punk Console. All this came before he started consulting for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and NOAA's famous Mauna Loa Observatory, and earning the prestigious Rolex Award.

This intimate portrait of a self-made scientist shares a revelatory look inside the scientific community, and tells the story of a lifelong learner who stood by his convictions even when pressured by the establishment to get in line with conventional wisdom. With dozens of personal photos and illustrations, Maverick Scientist serves as proof that to be a scientist, you simply need to do science.

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Table of contents

  1. Cover
  2. Halftitle Page
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Dedication
  6. Table of Contents
  7. Preface
  8. 1. Coming of Age in the Silicon Era
    1. Moving to Alaska
    2. Mount Spurr Erupts
    3. From Alaska to Florida
    4. Electrical Developments
    5. The Crystal Radio
    6. National Geographic Magazine
    7. The Piltdown Man Hoax
    8. A Fan of Invention
    9. The Language Translator
    10. The US Air Force Academy
    11. Moving Back South
    12. The Russian-to-English Language-Translating Computer
    13. Embarrassed by Neutrinos
    14. My First Discovery
    15. Texas A&M University
    16. Meeting Wernher von Braun and Willy Ley
    17. Crushing Rocks and Setting Dynamite
    18. White Sands, New Mexico
    19. Astronaut-Aquanaut Scott Carpenter
    20. A Vietnam Hint
    21. Laser Hijinks and Talking Over a Beam of Light
  9. 2. The Travel Aid for the Blind
    1. Designing the Seeing Aid
    2. The Perils of Hitchhiking
    3. Texas Instruments
    4. Building the Seeing Aid
    5. The Texas Medical Association Convention
    6. Rediscovering Two-Way Emission and Detection
    7. Texas A&M Officials React
    8. Meaningless (to Me) Equations
    9. Extracurricular Science
  10. 3. Vietnam
    1. Rocket Projects
    2. Mysterious Orders to Vietnam
    3. Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base
    4. The Colonel’s SAM Site
    5. Malfunctioning Canister Bombs
    6. Off-Duty Science in Vietnam
    7. The Gunship Incident
    8. “The Base Is Under Rocket Attack!”
    9. Saigon Schools for Blind Boys and Girls
    10. Back to the Rocket Project
    11. Farewell to Vietnam and Robert Ellison
    12. Returning Home
  11. 4. The Air Force Weapons Laboratory
    1. Minnie Chavez
    2. Captain Roger G. Mark, MD, PhD
    3. Weapons Lab Tales
    4. The First Monkey Experiment
    5. Other Weapons Lab Projects
    6. Farewell to Dr. Roger Mark
    7. The Laser-Safety Guy
    8. The Laser Surgeon
    9. Protecting Secrets
    10. Eighth Card Secrets
    11. Off-Duty Research
    12. The Strap-On Wind Tunnel
    13. The Model-Rocket Light Flasher
    14. The Southwestern Model Rocket Conference
    15. Origin of the Light-Flasher Circuit
    16. A Travel-Aid Update
    17. Failure and Success
  12. 5. MITS
    1. Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS)
    2. Leaving the Air Force
    3. The Split
  13. 6. The Silicon Shack
    1. The Silicon Shack
    2. The Eyeglass-Mounted Travel Aid for the Blind
    3. The Blind Leading the Blind
    4. The Industrial Research Award
    5. The 1,000-Mile Bike Trip
    6. Back to Work
  14. 7. MITS Makes Computer History
    1. StartUp
    2. Remembering H. Edward Roberts
    3. Remembering Paul Allen
  15. 8. The Briefcase of a Laser Spy
    1. The Laser-Eavesdropping Proposal
    2. Laser Bugging the National Enquirer Headquarters
    3. Laser-Eavesdropping Redux
  16. 9. The Silicon Garage
    1. The Hand-Printed Radio Shack Books
    2. The Hand-Printed Books Become Bestsellers
    3. Harry Helms
    4. New York’s Algonquin Hotel
    5. The Evolution of a Debate
    6. Family Matters
  17. 10. Mims vs. Bell Labs
    1. The Photophone Centennial
    2. A Matter of Invention
    3. Negotiating with Bell Labs
    4. Attorney Ted D. Lee
    5. The Photophone Centennial
    6. The Final Bell Labs Deposition
    7. Siliconnections: Coming of Age in the Silicon Era
    8. Nobel Laureate Arthur L. Schawlow
  18. 11. The Silicon Farmhouse
    1. Farewell to Popular Electronics
    2. More Bestselling Radio Shack Books
    3. The Atari Punk Console
    4. Radio Shack Lab Kits
  19. 12. The Scientific American Affair
    1. C. L. Stong
    2. Scientific American’s John Horgan Launches My Science Career
    3. “Red Alert! Red Alert!”
    4. The New Mexico Field Trip
    5. Schwab Invokes the Deity
    6. “Your Religious Views”
    7. Piel Calls
    8. “Chew on That!”
    9. “What Can We Do to Make You Happy?”
    10. Learning to Measure the Ozone Layer
    11. The Columns Are Published
  20. 13. The Public Relations Nightmare
    1. The Houston Chronicle
    2. The Wall Street Journal
    3. The Houston Chronicle Redux
    4. The New York Times
    5. The American Association for the Advancement of Science
    6. The Houston Chronicle Again
    7. The Washington Post
    8. Houston Chronicle Editorial
    9. Media Saturation
    10. Piel’s Nightmare Continues: “All the Lines Were Lit Up”
    11. In the Crossfire
    12. The Meeting of Intelligent-Design Scholars
    13. Arthur Caplan Defends Scientific American
    14. The Mims-Caplan Debates
    15. Caplan’s Fail on the Voice of America
    16. The German Embassy Joins My Campaign
    17. The National Press Club
    18. A Battle with the Journal of Molecular Evolution
    19. The Moody Church
    20. Piel’s Nightmare Ends
  21. 14. Transitioning into Science
    1. Robert Tinker
    2. Science Probe! and the Solar Eclipse of 1991
    3. The Green Flash
    4. Farewell, Science Probe!
    5. The Institute for Creation Research
    6. The Historic Mount Pinatubo Eruption
    7. NASA’s Satellite Ozone Measurements Disagree with TOPS
  22. 15. The Rolex Award
    1. The 1993 Rolex Award
    2. The Ozone Satellite Error Is Confirmed
    3. “Earth Science on a Shoestring Budget”
    4. In Switzerland for the Rolex Award
    5. Meeting Sir Edmund Hillary
    6. Doing Science on Swissair
    7. The Impact of the Rolex Award
    8. The International Symposium on the Impact of Increased UV-B
  23. 16. Hawai’i and the Mauna Loa Observatory
    1. The American Scientific Affiliation
    2. Teaching at University of the Nations
    3. Hawai’i’s Mauna Loa Observatory
    4. The Russian M-124 Ozone Instrument
    5. The 1994 UV Survey
    6. A Prominent Scientist Objects to My MLO Visits
    7. Overnight Stays at MLO
    8. Morning at MLO
    9. Noon at MLO
    10. Afternoon at MLO
    11. Night at MLO
    12. The MLO History Book
    13. Calibrating the World Standard Ozone Instrument
  24. 17. To Brazil for NASA
    1. Flying to Brazil
    2. Smoky Cuiabá
    3. Pantanal Adventure
    4. The Rio Negro
    5. Robber Monkeys and Black River Piranhas
    6. The 1995 Brazil Smoke Report
    7. The International Radiation Symposium
  25. 18. Science Adventures and a Misadventure
    1. The Defective Ozone Monitor
    2. Solar Eclipses
    3. Mysterious Twilight Glows
    4. The World Trade Center
    5. From Hawai’i to Alaska
    6. The Compass in the Sky
    7. Forrest M. Mims Jr. (1923–1996)
    8. The Out-of-Control Controlled Fire
    9. The 1996 Smoke Report
    10. “The Creationist Left Last Night!”
  26. 19. Back to Brazil
    1. The Alta Floresta Routine
    2. A Medical Emergency
    3. The Miniature Garden Project
    4. Vitória da Riva Carvalho’s Dream
    5. The Ad Hoc Smoke Meeting
    6. Sun and Sky Measurements Above the Rain Forest
    7. The Bird-Watchers
    8. Lessons from a Tree Hugger
    9. Farewell, Cristalino River
    10. São Paulo or Bust
    11. The 1997 Brazil-Smoke Report
    12. The Nature of Nature Conference
    13. The Mosquito Project
    14. The Center for Tropical Diseases
    15. Spaceship Earth
    16. CNN’s Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Video
    17. A Scientific American Reminder
    18. “50 Best Brains in Science”
  27. 20. Airport-Security Misadventures
    1. A Chicago Chokehold
    2. Saved by Rolex
    3. Brazilian Bullets
    4. A Closing Tip
  28. 21. Mims Family Science
    1. Minnie Discovers a Rare Mushroom
    2. Eric Detects Underground Nuclear Tests
    3. Vicki Measures the Sun’s Rotation and Solar Flares
    4. Sarah’s World-Class Discovery
  29. 22. Rolex Redux
    1. Sunny Sam
    2. Hawai’i Island Field Research
    3. Sunny Sam’s Major Finding
    4. Kilauea Stops Erupting
    5. Moving to the Mauna Loa Observatory
    6. The Hawai’i UV Survey Paper
  30. 23. Mavericks Do Not Retire
    1. The 30-Year Paper
    2. The Twilight Project
    3. Pinatubo Twilights
    4. Twilight Photometry
    5. My Homemade Twilight Photometers
    6. How the Twilight Method Works
    7. Meteor Smoke and Noctilucent Clouds
    8. The Volcanic Eruption of Raikoke
    9. The Tree Ring Project
    10. The UV-B Monitoring and Research Program
    11. Return to Summit (RTS)
    12. Ongoing Atmospheric Studies
    13. A Simple Method for Measuring Total Water Vapor
    14. Monitoring the Historic Hunga Tonga Eruption
    15. A Hunga Tonga Discovery
    16. Where It All Began
    17. The Explosion
    18. The Texas and Oklahoma Railroad
    19. The Accident Site
    20. Drone Photos Reveal the Campsite
  31. Epilogue
  32. Acknowledgments
  33. Index
  34. About the Authors
  35. Also by Forrest M. Mims III

Product information

  • Title: Make: Maverick Scientist
  • Author(s): Forrest M. Mims
  • Release date: February 2024
  • Publisher(s): Make: Community
  • ISBN: 9781680458169