The practical success of an idea, irrespective of its inherent merit, is dependent on the attitude of the contemporaries. If timely it is quickly adopted; if not, it is apt to fare like a sprout lured out of the ground by warm sunshine, only to be injured and retarded in its growth by the succeeding frost.
How extraordinary was my life an incident may illustrate... [As a youth] I was fascinated by a description of Niagara Falls I had perused, and pictured in my imagination a big wheel run by the Falls. I told my uncle that I would go to America and carry out this scheme. Thirty years later I saw my ideas carried out at Niagara and marveled at the unfathomable mystery of the mind.
The perfect purity of the air, the unequaled beauty of the sky, the imposing sight of a high mountain range, the quiet and restfulness of the place—all around contributed to make the conditions for scientific observation ideal.
There were many days when [I] did not know where my next meal was coming from. But I was never afraid to work, I went where some men were digging a ditch ... [and] said I wanted to work. The boss looked at my good clothes and white hands and laughed to the others ... but he said, “All right. Spit on your hands. Get in the ditch.” And I worked harder than anybody. At the end of the day I had $2.