Wondrous and magical things

Today at the SIGGRAPH conference I surprised an older colleague, by suddenly recalling an old memory that involved him, from when I was about eleven years old.

I had just joined the Boy Scouts. One Saturday our troup volunteered to help with paper recycling, which mainly involved loading many bundles of discarded newspapers and magazines into a big dumpster. Amid all of the trash, I happened upon a discarded issue of a magazine for electrical engineers (which of course I had never heard of). Curious, I started leafing through it.

In it I found the coolest article: an ingenious way of making computer graphics look fully three dimensional, as though objects were floating in space. No 3D glasses required.

I remember thinking, as I looked through the article, that this — using technology to make wondrous and magical things — was exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up.

I remember wanting to meet the person who did this work, but I did not meet the man himself until quite a few years later (when I was all grown up and doing computer graphics myself). By then the memory of that Saturday had receded to somewhere far in the back of my mind.

Until today, when I said hello to this colleague and suddenly the events of that long ago day came flooding back. I told him my story about finding that article, and how it was what first inspired me to want to do computer graphics.

He seemed a little taken aback, but very happy.

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