Photographer's Note

Between Nov. 14-16 I visited Kentucky to give a lecture. Early on the morning of the 16th, I was driving from Murray, Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee to catch a flight back to Washington, DC when I came upon this scene reminiscent of a Constable painting. The Lake was in Kentucky just a mile or two off the highway, and all one could see was untouched nature... and a fog soup.

In 1990 the Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman gave a commencement lecture and told an apocryphal story. A lady named Francis Gentner had entered her horse in the Kentucky Derby 50 years in a row. Finally, on the 50th attempt, her horse won, "Unbridled" (not the same horse as in the previous 49 attempts). The Governor of Kentucky, a loyal alumnus of the University of Kentucky, picks up his phone and calls the President of the university. "Well, did you see that. Mrs. Gentner's horse won! The 'old gal' is 93 years old, she's got about $50 million, and she has no one to leave all that money to! I think you should give her an honorary doctorate." The President calls the Dean, who immediately calls for a faculty meeting. "Distinguished colleagues," he says, "Mrs. Gentner's horse won the Derby. She's got $50 million... we should immediately give her a Doctor of Letters." The faculty argues, one psychology professor interjecting, "Mrs. Gentner doesn't even have a high school diploma!" Fortunately, the $50 million resonates, and the Dean is delegated to offer the honorary doctorate to the Mrs. Gentner.

When the Dean meets Mrs. Gentner and tells her that the faculty has unanimously voted "... to honor you with a Doctor of Letters," she responds, "What! I'm 93 years old. What am I going to do with an honorary doctorate? I do have some money for your school, but I want you to give that doctorate to my horse!" The Dean now has a hard sell. He meets with the faculty again, and reports, "She wants us to give the doctorate to the horse." Immediately, pandemonium breaks out, one professor shrieking "We can't give a doctorate to the horse. Why! Even Secretariat doesn't have a doctorate." This time a wise professor (they're rare) sitting in the back of the room chimes in. "It's not a bad idea. This would be the first time and 'entire horse' is given an honorary doctorate!"

I finally got to tell Lederman's story in a university setting in Kentucky!

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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