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Roger Freeman  –  telecommunications pioneer
" Once my boss told me I knew nothing about transmission, a specialized subject in telecommunications. I turned around and wrote a book about it. "
How were you motivated to choose your particular field?
  Motivation is what makes us want to get up in the morning, to go to school or to work. It makes us want to achieve, to become somebody and leads to admiration by our friends and co-workers. When I get up in the morning, I sing to myself because I am happy. Happiness should be your final goal in life. I am happy and have been throughout most of my life. I sing in the morning because I will have something interesting to do throughout the day. Motivation has provided me this opportunity and continues to push me to enjoy work and play.

Often I have been asked why I chose telecommunications for my career. I really did not have much to do with it. I was enlisted in the US Navy as a seaman second class, the very lowest rank. As such I was required to spend part of each year mess cooking, meaning mopping floors and peeling potatoes in the kitchen. At the time I was in one of the Navy's development squadrons, which was learning how to find submarines. To avoid mess cooking, I visited the squadron's electronics division and spoke to the leading chief. He arranged for my assignment there. The rest is history. I learned to be an electronic technician on the job; and mastered the Morse code. We used the code to communicate with our aircraft during flight operations. It absolutely fascinated me. That was in 1946, and I have been working in telecommunications ever since.

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What can you share about your creative process?
    When one creates something, that person develops an original idea, builds something new, improves on an item or idea that exists. A composer creates music; an artist creates pictures and a philosopher creates ideas. I create new concepts in telecommunications. As a part of this creativity, I write books and articles to inform people of the advancements in telecommunications.

My creativity starts with an idea. An idea can come to my mind at breakfast, when I take a walk or during a break at work. My mind has to have a free run and not be tied down due to responsibility. Day dreaming happens when your mind is free to think, usually about something you enjoy. Another means of creating a concept or new method is when a person is challenged,when somebody tells you that you cannot do it. Then you want to show them that you can. Once my boss told me I knew nothing about transmission, a specialized subject in telecommunications. I turned around and wrote a book about it. That book is still available today, in its fourth edition.

Just to have an idea is not sufficient. The idea must be developed and turned into a concept, which will be like a written story. The story must be carefully prepared so everyone can understand it. This is what a patent is; it is a story. If the concept in story form is well prepared, I can convince others that my idea is valuable. Some of these people may be willing to provide money or facilities to develop the concept into a piece of equipment. The equipment can demonstrate the value of the idea. It could save time; it could speed service; it could allow new services or it could give people pleasure such as a toy or game. Now there are more supporters, and it will go into production with possibilities of worldwide distribution. There will be great demand.

As we have seen, creativity starts with a spark, that idea. The idea must be developed and explained so everybody can understand it. The development process continues through some form of production that allows this equipment or method to reach out to the world, even to outer space. Once that is completed and successful, I start on a new idea.

I truly enjoy my work in the field of telecommunications, which I find very exciting. It is exciting because the technology is marching forward at an ever-accelerating pace. New and improved telecommunication services and systems are appearing every day. Let me explain by an example. When my Mother was young, she lived in the country. They had the only telephone for miles around. When she wanted to talk to somebody, she turned a crank on a box that brought the operator to the line. She told the operator to whom she wished to speak to and where they were located. The operator placed the call for her.

Look at the changes that have occurred since then. We say we dial a number, which identifies the party to whom we wish to talk to. Within seconds that person is on the telephone and our conversation begins. On that same telephone line our personal computer (PC) can connect to the Internet and we have the entire world at our fingertips. Some of these long–distance connections are routed by communication satellite while other calls may be routed by undersea cable.

What ideas do you have for a future human community on Mars?
  Soon we will conquer space and have colonies on Mars. These colonies will be provided every means of telecommunications. When these colonists wish to communicate with their families back on Earth, they will encounter long delays. When one says "Hello Mom," it will take minutes to hear the reply because of the great distances involved. Human beings will have trouble overcoming that delay because we are accustomed to expect a reply in under one second.

Martian communications will have the very latest advances of telecommunicating. The quantity of data transmitted per unit of time will be staggering. An entire library of books can be delivered to a distant station in less than a second. Video telephone calls will be universal. Access to a super–internet, where all the world's knowledge is stored, will be by a personal computer that is carried in one's pocket. Its screen can be folded away like a piece of paper. Telecommunications will have invaded every part of our life. Cars on Martian highways will be supersafe on autopilot using a remote control monitoring and command system.

My motivation is brought about by the pleasure I derive by being a part of these changes in the field of telecommunications. I have made and continue to make positive contributions in this field. I get great enjoyment out of doing this. Because of excitement of these advancements, I cannot wait to go to work and be a part of the action. It continues to motivate me as I advance toward old age.

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