Google's wonderfully random Niels Bohr doodle
Google creates a doodle to celebrate Niels Bohr, a physicist with a sense of humor. But it isn't his 100th birthday. It's his 127th.
I fancy that Google's doodlers sit in a room where every wall is a different color.
I imagine that they walk into work everything morning, not knowing what they will be doing, thinking or smoking.
And then they just chat.
Someone says something. Someone else says something entirely unrelated. And then, through some odd finger-pointing and head-bobbing, they reach a conclusion.
How else to explain today's doodle which celebrates the birthday of one of physics' great lights, Niels Bohr?
Bohr had such refined talents that not only did he win the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922, but he managed to inspire his son, Aage Bohr, sufficiently that he, too, was awarded a Nobel in 1975.
Today, though, is not some especially significant milestone in the Bohr family. It is not the 100th anniversary of his birth or death, nor his 150th.
It's just that Niels Bohr would have been 127 today. Which seems beautifully random and humorous.
Bohr himself certainly had a sense of humor. The Washington Post helpfully collected some of his more pithy observations, ones that make one imagine Bohr would have been anything but a bore in company.
Wouldn't it make a glass of Pinot Noir that much more noir to hear your drinking companion tell you: "No, no, you're not thinking -- you're just being logical"?
This is a line that would come in useful so often in both intellectual and loving conversations.
When Bohr worked on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, he had misgivings. Well, he did come from Denmark -- one of the most civilized parts of Europe.
However, he managed to express his misgivings in such a disarming way: "That is why I went to America. They didn't need my help in making the atom bomb."
I wonder whether Google might offer another fairly random doodle this week. Might it be the, um, 27th anniversary of, um, the first smoothie or something?