I enjoy all the clever comments, but the problem of selecting appropriate students is real. My experience, after having taught in a post doctoral program for over 25 years, is that the challenge is not selecting candidates that are talented, brilliant, inquisitive, it is selecting candidates that are suited to the path they have chosen.. If they get far enough to be individually examined or interviewed all the above has been more then adequately proven. I have seen too many people struggle to be happy and productive in life, however, because they were not suited for they aspired. Programs shouldn’t concentrate on one more clever way of letting candidates show their brilliance, they should concentrate on getting brilliant candidates in the programs for which they are suited.
The second installment of my story here concerns the first time the word “Negro” was said to me, as a direct reference to my racial origins, by someone in the science-fiction community. Understand that, since the late ’30s, that community, that world had been largely Jewish, highly liberal, and with notable exceptions leaned well to the left. Even its right-wing mavens, Robert Heinlein or Poul Anderson (or, indeed, Campbell), would have far preferred to go to a leftist party and have a friendly argument with some smart socialists than actually to hang out with the right-wing and libertarian organizations which they may well have supported in principal and, in Heinlein’s case, with donations. April 14, 1968, a year and—perhaps—three weeks later, was the evening of the next Nebula Awards Banquet. A fortnight before, I had turned twenty-six. That year my eighth novel The Einstein Intersection (which had materialized as an object on the day of the previous year’s) and my short story, “Aye, and Gomorrah . .” were both nominated.