While touring the Caltech campus the other day, my friend Barbara and I witnessed the finals of the 2008-2009 ME72 Engineering Design Contest, also known as Amphibious Clean-Up. You may have read about it here. The students had been working hard for months, and Tuesday was the culmination.
The young men standing on the bridge were about to throw lightweight balls into the water to serve as "floating debris." Amphibious robots then dove in, cleaned up the debris (well, some of it) and crawled out the other side, scoring points. The robots were cheered on by the crowd at Millikan Pond, an ordinarily tranquil body of water that lies shimmering outside the Millikan Library.
The pond would be a good place for students to gather between classes. Yet I remembered there hadn't been a soul around when I'd photographed it last February. Barbara said it's unusual to see many students hanging out on campus. At Caltech they have too much work to do to.
Tuesday, however, they were enjoying the fruits of their labors. At least the engineering students were. I got the impression they enjoy their work. If you can turn what you love into what you do for a living, you're creating the good life.