Dear readers, I find it quite shocking to have reached a stage in life when I am supposed to be retrospective. Like a vulgar streaker I shall expose myself in the limelight. I frequently ask myself how has it been possible to live such an exciting and happy life being such an irregular and irresponsible person?

My Norwegian mother was an accomplished pianist. I have just noticed in her copy of Speemans' encyclopedia, (1909), that she underlined the following advice to prospective musicians (which in my opinion applies to scientists as well): “Only such a person can I advise to become an artist, who from pure love of art itself, through internal urge and need—unconcerned about spectacular successes—desires to devote his life to it and therein to find his fulfillment and his happiness.”

Keyword(s): Autobiography

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