On Being a Renaissance Man

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

Robert A. Heinlein, Hugo award-winning science fiction writier and author of Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land

“Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything."

Blaise Pascal, mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher

“I feel, sometimes, as the renaissance man must have felt in finding new riches at every point and in the certainty that unexplored areas of knowledge and experience await at every turn."

Polykarp Kusch, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1955 for contributions to quantum electrodynamics

“In an age of specialization people are proud to be able to do one thing well, but if that is all they know about, they are missing out on much else life has to offer… I like the idea of being a Renaissance hack. If tombstones were still in style, I would want to have the two words chiseled right under my name."

Dennis Flanagan, editor of Scientific American

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Published: May 15, 2006Last updated: May 15, 2006