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Albert Richard Thomas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Albert Thomas
Albert Richard Thomas.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1937 – February 15, 1966
Preceded byJoe H. Eagle
Succeeded byLera Millard Thomas
Personal details
BornApril 12, 1898
Nacogdoches, Texas
DiedFebruary 15, 1966(1966-02-15) (aged 67)
Washington, DC
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Lera Millard Thomas

Albert Richard Thomas (April 12, 1898 – February 15, 1966) was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Houston, Texas, for 29 years and was responsible for bringing the Johnson Space Center to Houston.

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Transcription

There's this pretty well known quote that gets thrown around a lot and it's often attributed to Albert Einstein and it goes, Now whether or not Einstein was the person who actually said this, let's be real he probably wasn't, it's still really insightful and reversing it reveals a pretty powerful piece of study advice. Now this idea is something I touched on briefly back in my video summary of the Study Less, Study Smart lecture by Doctor Marty Lubdell, because in that lecture he talked about one of the effective study techniques being to teach what you're learning to someone else. So in this video, I want to dig deeper into that idea and share with you a step-by-step process for doing this, which has been called the Feynman Technique. Now this technique is named after the physicist who was, in his own right, a great scientist. In fact, back in 1965, he won a Nobel Prize for his work in quantum electrodynamics, which is something I had to practice saying a couple of different times, and he contributed to science in a number of different ways, including in the development of what are called Feynman diagrams, which are basically graphical representations of the math behind how subatomic particles work. But in addition to being a great scientist, he was also a great teacher and a great explainer. And in fact, one of his nicknames was "The Great Explainer," because he was able to boil down incredibly complex concepts and put them in simple language that other people could understand. And that's why he's one of those great scientists who is also known as a very good teacher. And in fact, even in his own learning, Feynman was famous for tirelessly working through equations until the concept he was wrangling with was intuitively easy to understand, in his mind. So that's why this technique is named after him, but you don't have to be a physicists or you don't have to be working on math or science problems to use this technique, because explaining a concept works to improve your understanding of that concept in basically an area, be it history or be it math, or be it web development. It doesn't matter, and it also works for multiple different purposes. If you're shaky on a concept and you want to quickly improve your understanding, you can use it. But if you already have a pretty confident grasp of a subject, and say you've got a test coming up soon, you can also use it to test your understanding and challenge your assumptions. As Feynman himself said, The ultimate way to ensure that you actually understand all the little nitty-gritty details of a concept in head is to explain it to someone else, or at least to pretend you're doing so. And that is the crux of the Feynman technique. So, let's get into it. It's a process of four steps and the first step is to simply get out a piece of paper and write the name of the technique down at the top. And in the example I filmed here, we're gonna use the Pythagorean Theorem because it is simple and it won't get in the way of the actual steps we're going to go through. Step two is to explain the concept and to do it in simple, plain English, or French, or really whatever language you happen to speak. But the idea here is to do it in a way that's easy to understand as if you were teaching someone else. And don't just settle with defining the concept either. Also work through examples and make sure you're able to use the concept in practice, as well. For step three, identify any of the areas that you're shaky on after your explanation or identify areas that you got stuck on that halted your explanation and go back to the source material or go back to your notes or work through examples until your understanding of these subareas is just as solid as all the other areas. And finally, step four is to look at your explanation and try to identify any areas where you've resorted to using technical terms of convoluted language and then challenge yourself to break down those terms and explain them in simplified, easy to understand words. Remember, the key here is simplicity. The act of explaining a topic as if you were teaching it to somebody who didn't have the same base assumptions and base knowledge that you have is the ultimate test of your own knowledge in that subject. And that's pretty much it, that's all there is to the Feynman technique. Now using this tecnhique is incredibly helpful because it, number one, helps you to quickly overview the concept and see where your knowledge is solid, but number two, it helps you to instantly pinpoint the areas where you're shaky and where you need to do extra work. And that makes this technique a great first step in reviewing a concept because it's very efficient and it helps you waste less time. I did want to give you guys one extra suggestion though, and it relates to how you frame your mind going into step four. Instead of just thinking how can I make this simple, how can I put it in plain English, also think, how would I explain this to a kid? Why? Well besides asking questions like, "Can I have another Oreo," or "Can I go watch Dragonball Z?" A kid's gonna ask, "Why does that work?" And that's gonna help challenge your assumptions. For instance, going back to our Pythagorean Theorem example, maybe you know the formula, but a kid would ask you why does that formula work? Why does the Pythagorean Theorem hold as a rule for all right triangles? And yeah, maybe you understand that intuitively, maybe you could bust out the proof by rearrangement, but maybe you can't. Maybe you've always looked at the formula and taken it at face value, in which case, you have some more learning to do. Now speaking of the Pythagorean Theorem, maybe that was a bit too simple of an example for you and you'd like to see this technique applied to something more complex or something that has nothing to do with math at all. If that's you, in the companion article for this video, I've included a couple of different examples. One going through Bayes' Rule, which is a concept and probability theory in statistics, and one going over the CSS Box Model, which is related to web development and not related to math, at all, that you can check out. So if you want to see those, you can click the card on the screen right now to get over to the article, or you could find the link down in the description below. Beyond that, if you enjoyed this video and found it helpful, definitely give it a like to support this channel and if you have addition tips or ways that you use this technique personally, I would love to hear from you down in the comments below. Additionally, if you're not subscribed to this channel yet and you want to get new tips on how to be a more productive student, you can click right there to subscribe and you can also click right there if you want to get a free copy of my book on how to earn better grades. Otherwise you can click right around there to find another video which you will probably find interesting. Thanks for watching and I will see you in the next one.

Contents

Early life

Thomas was born in Nacogdoches, Texas, on April 12, 1898, to Lonnie (Langston) and James Thomas.[1] He attended local schools, worked in his father’s store, and served as a Lieutenant in the United States Army during World War I before graduating from the Rice Institute and the University of Texas Law School. He married Lera Millard. Thomas was admitted to the bar in 1927, and he practiced law and served as Nacogdoches County Attorney before moving to Houston in 1930 to become Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas.[2]

Congressional career

When long-time congressman Joe H. Eagle did not seek reelection in 1936, so he could run for the United States Senate, Thomas sought and won the Democratic nomination, which was tantamount to election. In that primary, Thomas beat Houston Mayor Oscar F. Holcombe in what was something of an upset.[3] The Eighth District of Texas at that time comprised all of Harris County, which includes the state's largest city, Houston.

In Congress, Thomas was a protégé of Texas Senator (later President) Lyndon B. Johnson but maintained a generally conservative voting record. In 1949, he became chairman of the House subcommittee on independent office appropriations. He also served on the subcommittee on defense appropriations and on the joint committee on Texas House delegation. He was a typical Southern Democrat who through seniority rose to be the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's, subcommittee on defense. In that capacity, he was able to steer projects to Texas including supporting Johnson's proposal to build the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. Thomas also served on the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy and was instrumental in securing the location of the United States National Aeronautics & Space Administration's Manned Spacecraft Center (later named after Lyndon Johnson) in Houston in 1961. Since its inception, Johnson Space Center has served as mission control for every U.S. manned space flight including Apollo 11, the first lunar landing. "Houston" became the first word addressed to earth from the moon, in reference to the Johnson Space Center mission control.[4]

President John F. Kennedy shares a moment with U.S. Rep. Albert Thomas at the Houston dinner honoring the congressman on November 21, 1963. Photo by Houston Chronicle
President John F. Kennedy shares a moment with U.S. Rep. Albert Thomas at the Houston dinner honoring the congressman on November 21, 1963. Photo by Houston Chronicle
Thomas (with bow tie) at the swearing in of President Lyndon Baines Johnson
Thomas (with bow tie) at the swearing in of President Lyndon Baines Johnson

Thomas was a member of the Suite 8F Group, a group of influential businessmen that included his college roommate at Rice University, George R. Brown.[5] Brown's company Brown and Root donated the land on which the Johnson Space Center would be located to Rice University. Then-Vice-President Lyndon Johnson was chairman of the Space Council, and Thomas, a member of the NASA board, played leading roles in the eventual acceptance of Rice University's offer.

Thomas voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,[6] and along with the majority of the Texan delegation declined to sign the 1956 Southern Manifesto opposing the desegregation of public schools ordered by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education.

Appreciation dinner in 1963

In 1963, Thomas was seriously considering not running for a fifteenth term. Local Democrats organized an appreciation dinner on November 21, 1963, with over 3200 attendees to persuade him to run for another term. The most visible attendees were President John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson who both spoke of Thomas's leadership. Kennedy said, "Next month, when the United States of America fires the largest booster in the history of the world into space for the first time, giving us the lead, fires the largest, payroll -- payload -- into space, giving us the lead. " here the President paused a second and grinned. "It will be the largest payroll, too," he quipped. The crowd roared.[7] "And who should know that better than Houston. We put a little of it right in here." The President then resumed in a more serious vein, "But in any case, the United States next month will have a leadership in space which it wouldn't have without Albert Thomas. And so will this city."[8]

Thomas accompanied the Presidential party as it traveled to Dallas, where the next day President Kennedy was assassinated. He witnessed the swearing in of President Lyndon Baines Johnson on Air Force One.[9]

In 1964, Thomas was named Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

By the time of his death in Washington, D.C., on February 15, 1966, at the age of 67, Thomas ranked eleventh in seniority in the House. The voters of Harris County elected his wife Lera to complete his term. In the fall of 1967, downtown Houston's Albert Thomas Convention and Exhibit Center (renovated in the late 1990s as the Bayou Place entertainment and dining complex) was built and named in his honor.[1] He is interred in Houston National Cemetery.[10]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b "Houston History". houstonhistory.com. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Albert Thomas". texasescapes.com. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  3. ^ Transcript, Mrs. Albert (Lera) Thomas Oral History Interview I, 10/11/69, by David G. McComb, Internet Copy, LBJ Library. Utexas.edu Archived 2007-07-14 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Chaikin, Andrew (1994). A Man on the Moon. New York: Penguin Books.
  5. ^ Berger, Eric (September 14, 2013). "A worthy endeavor: How Albert Thomas won Houston NASA's flagship center". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  6. ^ "H.R. 7152. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964. ADOPTION OF A ... -- House Vote #182 -- Jul 2, 1964". GovTrack.us. Retrieved 2016-07-31.
  7. ^ "November 21, 1963 - President John F. Kennedy's remarks at a Dinner Honoring Albert Thomas". YouTube. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Remarks at Representative Albert Thomas dinner, Houston Coliseum, Texas, 21 November 1963". jfklibrary.org. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  9. ^ Jones, Chris (September 16, 2013). "The Flight from Dallas". Esquire. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  10. ^ Albert Thomas at Find a Grave

References

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joe H. Eagle
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 8th congressional district

1937–1966
Succeeded by
Lera Millard Thomas
This page was last edited on 28 April 2019, at 02:04
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