A true story about the physcist/mathematician Paul Dirac
Dirac was apparently a very hard person to get along with. Soon after he was awarded the Nobel Prize
, Dirac went on a speaking tour of the country, visiting different universities and talking about his research. In those days, it was more convenient for him to travel by car, so he had a big car and a driver
who took him from one speaking engagement to the next.
Dirac and his driver got to be very good friends after awhile and at one point, his driver remarked, "You know, I am so sick and tired of hearing the same lecture over and over again. I easily give it myself!"
Dirac thought about this for a moment, and then decided that his driver could give the next speaking engagement at U. Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan
. Before reaching the university, Dirac and his driver switched clothes. When the reached the university, the driver went up to the podium and delivered Dirac's seminar flawlessly. After he was finished, an upstart graduate student
asked a question, snottily pointing out a perceived mistake in the talk.
The Driver gave the student a long look of contempt and then exclaimed, "That question is so stupid
that even my driver
could answer it!", and Dirac stepped forward and proceeded to do so.
Today, if you go to U Mich and see a picture on the wall of Dirac and his driver, you would have to know this story to realize that the two are switched.