Two Degrees of Separation

 

There’s a theory that they’re only at most six degrees of separation between all people living today. But it’s interesting to consider how many degrees of separation there are between people today and famous people of the past. I’ve been considering for a while writing a biography of Capt. P.V.H. Weems. He was a major figure in developing aerial navigation in the 1920s-40s. He taught Lindbergh celestial navigation after he flew to Paris.

We frequently visited him in Annapolis in the 1960s. Weems contacted my father about his work on Project Vanguard and became a family friend. But I had no picture of Weems with my family. His granddaughter found a three-by-five card on which he listed some of his visits with my family. I just received a picture of Weems with my parents at the tenth anniversary of Dad’s branch at the Naval Research Lab.

Through Weems, I’m one person removed from Orville Wright and many other famous aviation figures of the past.

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There are 18 comments.

  1. RightAngles Member

    Wow! Here’s me:

    Charles Lindbergh has been in an airplane >>> I have been in an airplane.

    • #1
    • September 16, 2019, at 3:46 PM PDT
    • 19 likes
  2. The Reticulator Member

    Richard Easton: Through Weems, I’m one person removed from Orville Wright and many other famous aviation figures of the past.

    Do you have more information about the connection between Weems and Orville Wright? This biographical sketch doesn’t help.

    • #2
    • September 16, 2019, at 7:24 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Richard Easton Member
    Richard Easton Post author

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Richard Easton: Through Weems, I’m one person removed from Orville Wright and many other famous aviation figures of the past.

    Do you have more information about the connection between Weems and Orville Wright? This biographical sketch doesn’t help.

    This source says they met. http://www.weemsjohn.com/TheGrandoldManofNavigation.html My friend at the National Air and Space Museum says that Weems had a book with signatures from most of the famous aviators of the first half of the 20th century.

    BTW – both my father and Weems received the Magellanic Premium from the American Philosophical Society.

    • #3
    • September 16, 2019, at 9:05 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. The Reticulator Member

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Richard Easton: Through Weems, I’m one person removed from Orville Wright and many other famous aviation figures of the past.

    Do you have more information about the connection between Weems and Orville Wright? This biographical sketch doesn’t help.

    This source says they met. http://www.weemsjohn.com/TheGrandoldManofNavigation.html My friend at the National Air and Space Museum says that Weems had a book with signatures from most of the famous aviators of the first half of the 20th century.

    And Weems helped resolve the Langley-Wright controversy at the Smithsonian, it says. Maybe there is more information about that somewhere. 

    BTW – both my father and Weems received the Magellanic Premium from the American Philosophical Society.

    Good company! It appears that Weems never got himself stuck in one era of technology.

     

    • #4
    • September 16, 2019, at 9:43 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Locke On Member

    A couple of weeks ago I learned that I’m two degrees of separation from Jeffrey Epstein. Yuck! Some things perhaps I’d be happier not knowing.

    • #5
    • September 16, 2019, at 10:23 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. RightAngles Member

    Locke On (View Comment):

    A couple of weeks ago I learned that I’m two degrees of separation from Jeffrey Epstein. Yuck! Some things perhaps I’d be happier not knowing.

    OMG! One of the names on the Lolita Express passenger list is a man who called me and asked me out when I was 24. He got my number from a person in the Vidal Sassoon company. Because he was well known, I knew he was married and I hung up on him. Also he was kinda old. OMG he must be 102 by now.

    • #6
    • September 16, 2019, at 10:26 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. JosePluma Thatcher

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Wow! Here’s me:

    Charles Lindbergh has been in an airplane >>> I have been in an airplane.

    Me too! I’ve also had Lindbergher cheese!

    • #7
    • September 17, 2019, at 12:11 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Hang On Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Charles Lindbergh has been in an airplane >>> I have been in an airplane.

    Did you fly to Paris as well?

    • #8
    • September 17, 2019, at 9:18 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. RightAngles Member

    Hang On (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Charles Lindbergh has been in an airplane >>> I have been in an airplane.

    Did you fly to Paris as well?

    Wait! Yes! Ta-DA!

    • #9
    • September 17, 2019, at 9:24 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. Stad Thatcher

    I’m about ten degrees of separation from anyone remotely famous. However, one of my best friends is

    1. Related to Jeff and Beau Bridges.
    2. His brother-in-law is a movie director in Hollywood.

    Ta da! I’ll be signing autographs at the next Meetup . . .

    • #10
    • September 17, 2019, at 10:51 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. Richard Easton Member
    Richard Easton Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    I’m about ten degrees of separation from anyone remotely famous. However, one of my best friends is

    1. Related to Jeff and Beau Bridges.
    2. His brother-in-law is a movie director in Hollywood.

    Ta da! I’ll be signing autographs at the next Meetup . . .

    When my father received the National Medal of Technology from President Bush, the man who started the Green Revolution, Dr. Norman Borlaug, received the National Medal of Science. All the photographers were there to take pictures of George Lucas.

    • #11
    • September 17, 2019, at 10:58 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Stad Thatcher

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    I’m about ten degrees of separation from anyone remotely famous. However, one of my best friends is

    1. Related to Jeff and Beau Bridges.
    2. His brother-in-law is a movie director in Hollywood.

    Ta da! I’ll be signing autographs at the next Meetup . . .

    When my father received the National Medal of Technology from President Bush, the man who started the Green Revolution, Dr. Norman Borlaug, received the National Medal of Science. All the photographers were there to take pictures of George Lucas.

    Sweet!

    • #12
    • September 17, 2019, at 12:19 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. RightAngles Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    I’m about ten degrees of separation from anyone remotely famous. However, one of my best friends is

    1. Related to Jeff and Beau Bridges.
    2. His brother-in-law is a movie director in Hollywood.

    Ta da! I’ll be signing autographs at the next Meetup . . .

    Yay! Wait! Wait! My nephew is an actor in L.A. and his best friend is Cybill Shepherd’s daughter! I have degrees of separation!

    • #13
    • September 17, 2019, at 1:35 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Stad Thatcher

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    I’m about ten degrees of separation from anyone remotely famous. However, one of my best friends is

    1. Related to Jeff and Beau Bridges.
    2. His brother-in-law is a movie director in Hollywood.

    Ta da! I’ll be signing autographs at the next Meetup . . .

    Yay! Wait! Wait! My nephew is an actor in L.A. and his best friend is Cybill Shepherd’s daughter! I have degrees of separation!

    Cool! We’ll swap autographs!

    • #14
    • September 18, 2019, at 5:47 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. J Ro Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    I’m about ten degrees of separation from anyone remotely famous. However, one of my best friends is

    1. Related to Jeff and Beau Bridges.
    2. His brother-in-law is a movie director in Hollywood.

    Ta da! I’ll be signing autographs at the next Meetup . . .

    Yay! Wait! Wait! My nephew is an actor in L.A. and his best friend is Cybill Shepherd’s daughter! I have degrees of separation!

    Cool! We’ll swap autographs!

    Obviously, Hollywood is the node for impressive claims. So is the military, partly due to natural connections with politics.

    I have an old buddy who served with General James Mattis. General Mattis knows… Peter Robinson!

    Ta da!

    • #15
    • September 18, 2019, at 6:35 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Stad Thatcher

    J Ro (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    I’m about ten degrees of separation from anyone remotely famous. However, one of my best friends is

    1. Related to Jeff and Beau Bridges.
    2. His brother-in-law is a movie director in Hollywood.

    Ta da! I’ll be signing autographs at the next Meetup . . .

    Yay! Wait! Wait! My nephew is an actor in L.A. and his best friend is Cybill Shepherd’s daughter! I have degrees of separation!

    Cool! We’ll swap autographs!

    Obviously, Hollywood is the node for impressive claims. So is the military, partly due to natural connections with politics.

    I have an old buddy who served with General James Mattis. General Mattis knows… Peter Robinson!

    Ta da!

    I only have two military claims to fame:

    1. I met Admiral Rickover. Actually, I was grilled interviewed by him to get into the Nuclear Navy.
    2. In graduate school, I took a nuclear engineering class with General Ray Odierno. I didn’t know who he was at the time, just an older dude with no hair who rarely spoke.
    • #16
    • September 18, 2019, at 7:05 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Percival Thatcher

    I shook hands with Eubie Blake after a concert in New Orleans.

    When I was in junior high, the arranger of the piece we were performing at a music educators’ conference directed us through it. The piece was “Chorale and Shaker Dance.” The arranger was Aaron Copland. This experience morphed in later years to “When I was studying under Aaron Copland ….”

    • #17
    • September 18, 2019, at 7:48 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. RightAngles Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    I shook hands with Eubie Blake after a concert in New Orleans.

    When I was in junior high, the arranger of the piece we were performing at a music educators’ conference directed us through it. The piece was “Chorale and Shaker Dance.” The arranger was Aaron Copland. This experience morphed in later years to “When I was studying under Aaron Copland ….”

    Haha! You sound like me. In fact, I was just saying that to Madonna the other day.

    • #18
    • September 18, 2019, at 8:11 AM PDT
    • 5 likes