Session Quotes (3 quotes)
I was depressed at that time. I was in analysis. I was suicidal as a matter of fact and would have killed myself, but I was in analysis with a strict Freudian, and, if you kill yourself, they make you pay for the sessions you miss.
One evening at a Joint Summer Research Congerence in the early 1990s Nicholai Reshetikhin and I [David Yetter] button-holed Flato, and explained at length Shums coherence theorem and the role of categories in quantum knot invariants. Flato was persistently dismissive of categories as a mere language. I retired for the evening, leaving Reshetikhin and Flato to the discussion. At the next mornings session, Flato tapped me on the shoulder, and, giving a thumbs-up sign, whispered, Hey! Viva les categories! These new ones, the braided monoidal ones.
There may be some interest in one of my own discoveries in physics, entitled, A Method of Approximating the Importance of a Given Physicist. Briefly stated, after elimination of all differentials, the importance of a physicist can be measured by observation in the lobby of a building where the American Physical Society is in session. The importance of a given physicist varies inversely with his mean free path as he moves from the door of the meeting-room toward the street. His progress, of course, is marked by a series of scattering collisions with other physicists, during which he remains successively in the orbit of other individuals for a finite length of time. A good physicist has a mean free path of 3.6 ± 0.3 meters. The shortest m.f.p. measured in a series of observations between 1445 and 1947 was that of Oppenheimer (New York, 1946), the figure being 2.7 centimeters. I know. I was waiting for him on the street.