Eureka – I've Found It!

There is an ancient story which speaks to the joy of making a real, threshold breakthrough about a subject that one has been studying for a long time. This particular story harkens back to the days of ancient Greece. The man who made the discovery was...


There is an ancient story which speaks to the joy of making a real, threshold breakthrough about a subject that one has been studying for a long time. This particular story harkens back to the days of ancient Greece. The man who made the discovery was Archimedes, and the discovery involved a way to measure the volume of any object in his bath tub.

According to Golba (2000) Archimedes is considered one of the three greatest mathematicians of all time along with Newton and Gauss. In his own time, he was known as "the wise one," "the master" and "the great geometer" and his works and inventions brought him fame that lasts to this very day. He was one of the last great Greek mathematicians.

Perhaps you may have heard the story about his joy at making the discovery of how to assess the volume of materials. As I said, he was in his bathtub at home when he made this breakthrough discovery. He was so overjoyed at his new knowledge that jumped from the tub, leapt forth from his home and ran naked through the streets of Syracuse shouting "Eureka! Eureka!" (I have found it!).

My dear friends, just such a discovery leapt into my consciousness on our nation's birthday, July 4th. The solution to explaining a seemingly complex learning problem affecting people everywhere came to me that very morning as I was perusing the pages of the Asbury Park Press.

As I sat recumbent in my Jockey's enjoying a cup of my favorite coffee, the words to the solution literally jumped off of the pages of the paper into my brain. Eureka! The solution was as simple to understand as it will be difficult for all of us to implement in our lives.

Fortunately for the neighbors and society in general, I ran into my office and started typing these thoughts onto my computer. I fought the urge to race forth from my house and run down the main street of Adelphia shouting Eureka! Eureka! Perhaps the sight of me scampering down the road in my Jockeys is one upon which we should all pass.

Just what is this startling revelation you must now be thinking. What could it be that caused Harry to leap forth and shout for joy? This discovery involves a subject I have been writing about a great deal lately. As a matter of fact, if you recall, I wrote the following just last week:

"I have come to the sad conclusion that every generation believes itself to be smarter than the last. Why else would so many of our leaders fail to recognize the great successes of the past? Why do we see the same things killing our people year after year and decade after decade? Is it because the more things change, the more they remain the same?"

The answer to that series of questions escaped me until this very July 4th. My friends, the answer to this query came to me hidden within a story about hurricanes and their future potential for devastation along the New Jersey coast line. In an Asbury Park Press story by Kirk Moore and Todd Bates, Nicholas Coch, a professor of earth and environmental science at Queens College in New York was asked to comment on issue of shoreline development in areas prone to hurricanes.

Coch stated that, "