"There cannot be mental atrophy in any person who continues to observe, to remember what he observes, and to seek answers for his unceasing hows and whys about things." (Alexander Graham Bell)
Today Alexander Graham Bell is remembered almost solely for one of the few things he didn't have in his laboratory: the telephone. Long hailed as the inventor of the telephone, that accomplishment has nevertheless overshadowed a long and legendary scientific career that saw Bell contribute to a vast number of fields, ranging from geology to aeronautics. Bell also had the misfortune of being outshined by his contemporary, Thomas Edison, who invented the incandescent lightbulb and has gone down in history as America's greatest inventor.
Like many great scientists and inventors, Bell had an unusually gifted intellect that was nurtured from an early age. Even as a child he had access to a workshop that allowed his curious mind to experiment and work. He was also multitalented, flourishing in music, art, and even a unique form of sign language as his mother grew deaf, an event that would play an influential role in his development of various fields of communication. But ironically, as with Tesla, Edison, and Galileo, Bell's obsession with science and his eccentric learning methods made him a poor student in a formal school setting.
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