In 1966, physicist Koichi Mano “wrote a congratulatory letter to Richard Feynman, the man who had originally taught him at the California Institute of Technology and, more recently, joint-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering work in quantum electrodynamics.”
After receiving the letter, Feynman responded to Mano asking what he was currently working on.
Mano explained that he was “studying the Coherence theory with some applications to the propagation of electromagnetic waves through turbulent atmosphere […] a humble and down-to-earth type of problem.”
This was Feynman’s response:
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I was very happy to hear from you, and that you have such a position in the Research Laboratories.
Unfortunately your letter made me unhappy for you seem to be truly sad. It seems that the influence of your teacher has been to give you a false idea of what are worthwhile problems.