- John Nash
Princeton New Jersey
He was scribbling and scrolling and doodling and drawing, and all
things that one needs to know to not be doing business as usual. He
was supposed to be doing something usual, and instead was doing
something unusual, so as not to be distracted by other things that
should not be even mentioned. But in the back of his mind was
something more important. In fact far more important then Go – it
being Japanese players that popularized the game of doing nothing
more than placing dots on a grid. What he was thinking about betting
on the turn of the cards - “poker.”
He was in that turn of phrase, when every single equation could be
surmounted with ease. In fact he would do so in the flash of an eye
just because he could. He would do so just to prove to his roommate
that he could. Even though no one else could see that roommate. He
knew he existed, if no one else could.
He was turning the cards in his mind, and working out the best way
of a three clear game – he had heard once from some German
professor that three was the magic number. But instead of walking
through individual cards, he was walking through cards in general,
and working out at which point the cards favored not to bet, as
oppose to when they should. This line, he then realized, was the
equilibrium line – not just for poker, but any gain that could be
played. Well any game that was finite, the infinite games were
another story. Not that he would not solve it eventually, but it was
a different order of problem to solve. Again, not that he would not
solve it in some later paper.
He wrote the equations out, some what haphazardly. It was beauty
in the mind if not on the first paper – but someone would clean it
up, that is what people who devoted their lives to putting markings
on the paper did, after all. But he was not interested in the lexicon
of paper and ink, particularly, though he would have to master this.
A new that there was origami, which was tempting his vitrapasser, and
he would have to sit down and master it.
Here sitting in the library he would not call it the “Nash
Equilibrium” - not because he was not sure that it would called
that, but he would leave to others labeling. He was sure that they
would, so why bother to explain to them. He copied out the words
again, because he realized that even he did not under stand. And this
would not do, it was a short paper, and therefore had to be precise.
So he copied the first pages over again, making clear details
which had been foggy. And he did not even look at what he had done,
but stuffed it in an envelope, sealed the fine mottel back stickup on
the envelope. And then hesitated, and finally realized that he did
not know how many stamps it would take. This was an annoyance, but
perhaps it was best to do so now rather than later.
Thus he stood up, looking both ways - because you never know who
is watching. He settled his feet, and strutted out in to the vast
inside of his mind, thinking of all the games – even ones he did
not know the rules. It was a light from a shadow unseen.
- Sterling Newberry
Schenectady New York
It was a laboratory, more specifically a commercial laboratory.
Every bit of wood, steel, and machinery was accounted for. Everything
had a purpose. And in this particular case, it was something that
once upon a time had been declared impossible. In 1913 the preeminent
thought of the day was that if one captured x-rays, and used it in
the same way that light was used – it would take a mile to cross
the x-ray in the same way. Of course, the obvious reasoning was that
this would be impossible, and therefore no x-ray microscope could
ever be imagined to exist at all.
But many years later, Someone came up with the idea of grazing the
x-rays against a filter. Think of it as just a kiss on the x-ray
lens, instead of blazing the way that light would be diffracted. This
was not good enough to be marketed, but it did show pictures. And so
there was a hunt for the right material that would do a better job
and thus be the first commercial x-ray microscope.
Down here with white light shining on white walls, with gray steel
bookshelves to refer to notes, one man tried the same thing as the
others. He toiled away at this, first taking electrons and absorbing
them to get x-rays. Then after it hit a block of tungsten, it was
then focused into the grazing chamber. It was in the late afternoon
that one of the technicians grabbed him on the cuff. And begin
talking in, for a technician, a mindless babbling of words. It would
take me about 10 pages to describe what he said and the interruptions
that Newberry put to him. And he was taciturn, and listened for more
than he spoke.
What was happening was this: the technician did not believe that
the light was really being absorbed by the detectors. Newberry rolled
his eyes, because he knew that at least 10 times all the technicians
had been trained to believe that while they could not see it, there
was indeed light passing through this, just x-ray light. Which was
far far far too short for human eyes to see. So what happened with
the technician is he grabbed his badge – which had a filter for
x-rays – and took a screen, with many captures of light – and
stuck the two of them in the way of the light source.
But what happened next surprised the
technician, yes he saw the screen – but he saw a different screen,
and it was not the same as what he popped in. but Sterling Newberry
knew that the second image was very very small and was, in fact, the
mounting screen for the image. But enlarged.
It was enlarged by enough to see the screen, where as in reality
it was thousands to the inch. But here it was. About a millimeter,
which was several times it is real size. It was then that an idea
struck him, though it would take some doing to adjust and expose the
What the idea was was this: Do not take the x-ray light, instead
take the shadow, and enlarge this shadow until it was visible. So one
step was to take electrons and convert them in two x-rays. The next
step was to take the x-rays and shine them through what you want to
look at, then far away but photographic film for x-rays to capture
the light. it was a shadow x-ray microscope.
What he, and no one else would understand, is that the theoretical
of Nash, and the experimental of Newberry were the same thing.
Because in the game one player puts up money, but it does not mean
that it is at risk until someone else puts up money to bet against
it. This is the same way that an x-ray does not do anything until
there is a picture to capture its light. It does no good for it to
pass through the specimen, except if there is a photographic plate to
capture. Just as it does no good for a man to wager money, unless
someone else calls his raise.
It was a light visible and yet unseen,
until someone developed the picture.