Magazine January 25, 2010, Issue

Car Talk

A car drives past Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C., February 9, 2009. (Molly Riley/Reuters)

‘The parking brake, honey. Parking brake.

“Sorry, Dad.”

She releases the parking brake and we move out into our quiet suburban street. Signaling, she drives nicely to the corner, stops, looks, and makes a graceful turn in the direction of the village. Coming up to her 17th birthday, my daughter will soon take her driving test. Discounting as best I can for parental partiality, I believe she is a good driver, cautious and sensible. My trips as her legally required chaperone are a stress-free pleasure. Reverse parking is still a problem; but then, it’s still a problem for me, after 40 years

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I am reminded of one of the supervisors of my Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, Roger Tsien, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008.

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