Can you remember the first moment when you were curious – really curious – about how something worked?
When I was age 3 or 4, my parents gave me a cheap AM radio. It was shaped like “Big Bird” from Sesame Street, sitting on a nest. (In a clever bit of design, the nest actually housed the speaker and switches that operated it.)
I remember playing with that radio for hours. Sometimes in the late afternoon of the hot Arizona summer, I could place that yellow, plastic bird on just the right spot on my windowsill and, through the crackle of static, hear a faint signal emerge from a station in West Texas. That memory from my childhood is indelible: Listening to that announcer’s tinny-sounding southern drawl as I looked out my bedroom window, watching the dust particles in the air move like fireflies in the waning light of the sun.
To this day, I can still remember wondering, How did that voice travel all the way here from Texas?