About John Robert Martin

 

 

Unfortunately there are now only a very few people who knew John Robert Martin, or had any idea what kind of a person he was.

A brilliant mind absolutely exploding with rapid-fire comprehension, an overpowering extravert and yet sensitive and respectful, quick to assess another person’s entire depths and quick to adjust his own opinions, he was never what one might expect to encounter, even on a university campus, where he made a career as a physics lab technician.

The sheer energy of his presence was enough to knock a person off balance, and a first impression (mine included) was not always favorable. A wide, powerfully-muscled forehead with eyes like expressive flashing strobes, magnified behind his glasses, did not help to put one at ease. Put this head on strong, stocky limbs leaping with the same energy, and one might have an idea, but the idea would be swallowed by the reality. His restless nature was often a difficulty even to himself, so that he had to develop remarkable skill at managing himself.

And yet he was not really a difficult personality. He could be surprisingly direct, but not abrasive and never manipulative; and once one was comfortable with his pulsating manner, it was easy to take advantage of his remarkable mental and aesthetic sensitivities and to direct conversation in whatever direction one wished. That was how he surrounded himself with people of unique ability, and how he recognized those abilities.

It was almost against my own will that I was drawn into his eccentric orbit. But once there, I made myself at home, and to my surprise, he became a true friend. If I had an inquisitive nature, he delighted in cracking it wide open to new possibilities. Philosophy, poetry, music, astronomy and mathematics, and all the hidden mysteries of science and history: these were not just theoretical topics to him, but the way he found his own path and meaningfulness in a bewildering universe.

 

 

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