Thursday, April 17, 2008

Scientist's writing

I was asked in 2007 to analyze the writing of several scientists with the purpose being to write an article for one of the scientific journals. The professor who asked for my help explained the people were all deceased but he knew of a colleague or family member who could comment on what I said about each. As it turned out he was running out of time for his article and had only heard from one person.
Now to me the comments verified all I said about the scientist who turned out to be Linus Pauling. But as the professor took pains to say: "Most scientists would probably dismiss it as a "pseudo-science" and catagorize it along with astrology and phrenology, claiming they have little or no basis in fact. Despite the lack of scientific proof on the value of handwriting analysis, the writings of well-known public figures have long been of interest and have often been studied as a means of inferring personality traits from the writer. And the article was turned down.
I said the writer had a great thirst for knowledge and was a collector though the writing would not show what he collected facts, ideas, friends, or material possessions. The comment was that Pauling had a large library of journals and books as well as a mineral collection given to him by Oppenheimer but he didn't know if that qualified him as a collector. Also that he certainly had an enormous number of friends, colleagues and facts.
I said the writer wrote with such enthuasium his brain got ahead of his hand causing him to make mistakes in him impatience. The comment was that Pauling seemed to be a most patient person although he expressed impatience in his writings of the reluctance of the medical authorities to accept his arguments for vitamin C.
I spoke of his great desire to acquire knowledge and to investigate the known and that the desire might make it hard for him to sleep as his brain would not switch off easily. The comment was that it was true about his desire to investigate and understand nature though he had no idea if Pauling had trouble sleeping. In fact he says Pauling himself wrote that he had a method of thinking about intractable problems before sleep and how an answer would occur spontaneously. He believed the unconscious mind worked on the problem during sleep. (My point exactly.)
My comment was that the writer could be moody and worked best alone or with machines. The response was that this was somewhat true as many papers were authored solely by Pauling and that he enjoyed using his calculator and solving equations.
Again I said the writer enjoyed intellectual or philosophical discussions but being opinionated and stubborn could not be easily swayed from his point of view. The response was that Pauling had well-deserved confidence in his own intellectual abilities and knowledge. Critics usually had a hard time debating him because of his often superior intellect or command of the facts. Also he rarely, if ever, backed down from a fight.
I commented that the writer could be sarcastic and critical of others and when considering his arguments might even talk to himself or hold complete conversations in his mind. His colleague said he did not know if he talked to himself and that Pauling seldom used sarcasm but he could be very critical if he thought someone was wrong. He especially liked to find errors in published papers.
As to my comment that the writer was proud, secretive about his personal life and sensitive to criticism of his work or person. The response was that this was somewhat true as Pauling was a proud but not prideful man. That he wasn't especially secretive about his personal life but he preferred to talk about science.
I said he enjoyed a challenge but would have issues with the opposite sex so a female working under him would have to endure his nit picking and criticism while the female who attracted him would be one who shows the least interest or challenges him. The response was that Pauling was old-fashioned being a product of the early 20th Century. He often said his wife should have shared his Nobel Peace Prize as she was smarter then he. During most of his career women were largely excluded from academia but he had an excellent relationship with his secretary and assistant of many years.
I said his sense of humor was of a wry witty type and that he showed will power, determination and a tendency to be abrupt. The only comment to this was true.
This is only part of my analysis and the comments but as scientists consider Graphology a pseudo-science it was turned down by the journal.
Only one other name was revealed to me...Rutherford but the one I really would like to know is the 5th scientist as that handwriting was not at all suited to the field. This writer had the soul of a poet and if they had to work daily in a career they were so ill suited for it must have been torture.

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