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Another time travel question

  1. Jul 26, 2016 #1
    Assume you are given the following unique chance. You get to meet three people of your choosing (literally anybody) from the past or present. When meeting this person, you get to have a one hour conversation with the person. Assume language is not a problem. You cannot alter the course of history however; so you cannot harm the person or change the person's mind (and neither will the person harm you).

    So which three people would you choose?
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  3. Jul 26, 2016 #2


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    On a physics forum, the natural inclination is to say that I would like to meet a great genius like Newton or Einstein. But that doesn't hold much attraction for me because:
    (1) I would probably be so intimidated by their reputation that I could not find anything to say
    (2) what is really interesting about them is what went on inside their heads. What is observable of that can already be seen from their writings, and the rest is unlikely to be observable in person.
    (3) From all accounts, Newton was a horrible man.

    Hence I would instead like to meet somebody that I think could have a positive effect on my life, in a way that is not necessarily going to happen just by reading writings attributed to them. Accordingly, I would like to meet people who were great spiritual teachers. The problem is that many of them were so long ago that there is considerable doubt as to whether they really existed as a single individual, as opposed to being a composite of several people, or a single real person but with stories and sayings attributed to them that they never said or did.

    Nevertheless, if we were to accept for the sake of argument that ancient spiritual teachers really did exist approximately as the writings about them say, I would like to meet:

    - Siddhartha Gautama ('the Buddha')
    - Jesus of Nazareth
    - Lao Tzu
  4. Jul 26, 2016 #3


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    Funny. My first thought has been the Dalai Lama for the same reasons. Your choice tops mine by far. I doubt that Jesus was an easy going person, so I'm not very interested in him. I would prefer to ask Mohammed what the heck he thought his revelation will turn into?

    My argument not to chose any scientific geniuses would be that I most likely won't understand them. Not due to language or knowledge, but due to the kind of language at the time! I recently read about Graßmann and what drove him to consider the wedge product: He spoke of bi- and trivectors, extensive quantities and similar. The same holds for nearly all who found(ed) new concepts. I once read the original publication of Galois. No chance! At least not within an hour.
    And Newton is overestimated. Plus he earned his money by writing horoscopes for the king. Thanks, but no thanks. Einstein would be interesting just because he was a difficult person. And it would be fun to make fun of Gödel with him. I once read a peer review from Kronecker. Hell has he been rude. Not a trace of politeness. Also interesting would be to ask Fermat what he really had in mind, or whether he simply wanted to be mean to somebody as it often had been the case at the time when they wrote letters to their fellow scientists. But this wouldn't take more than ten minutes.

    Archimedes has been a thought of mine, too. By hey, with my luck I get the hour when this Roman idiot entered the room.

    Therefore my choice would be:
    - Tendzin Gyatsho
    - Albert Einstein
    - Immanuel Kant
  5. Jul 26, 2016 #4
    Really? I had never heard that before. I'm like: :eek: "Whaaaaaat?" :biggrin:
    I agree. 100%.
    I'll tell you mine when you tell me yours. :biggrin:
  6. Aug 20, 2016 #5
    I'd like to meet Arther C Clerk.......
    Stephen Hawking
    Elon Musk.
  7. Aug 20, 2016 #6

    Fervent Freyja

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    1. My daughter, during her last hour. For comfort. And also to meet some of my narcissistic needs. I would want to know if she realized that most any mother would have loved her and vice-versa; but, did she ever reach a moment when she was glad, felt lucky, that her mother had been me? Did she understand that?
    2. Leonardo da Vinci, in his 40's. I want to know about his hands. Was he wrapping his right hand at night, after much use in the daytime, and prolifically mirror-writing with his left hand in his journal at night. Was he trying to save his hands?
    3. The very last human on earth, during their last hour. Maybe, they wouldn't be able to speak, but I could gauge enough from the surroundings what has happened to humanity. It's inevitable, I want to know just when that will occur.

    Then I can die in peace.
  8. Aug 20, 2016 #7
    Edie Sedgwick, Louise Brooks, Audrey Hepburn..
  9. Aug 21, 2016 #8
    I don't understand this clearly.............. Could you please give an explanation?
  10. Sep 1, 2016 #9
    1. Michael jackson
    2. Albert einstein
    3. richard feynman
  11. Sep 24, 2016 #10


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    I'd like to meet these legends...
    1) Srinivasa Ramanujan
    2) Mozart
    3) Nikola Tesla
  12. Sep 26, 2016 #11
    Riemann, Stephen Gould, and Carl Sagan.
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