The scientists discovered exactly how quickly Ruth's eye functions by placing him in a dark cabinet, setting into operation a series of rapidly flashing bulbs and listening to the tick of an electric key by which he acknowledged the flashes.
The average man responds to the stimulus of the light in 180 one thousandths of a second. Babe Ruth needs only 160 one thousandths of a second. There is the same significance in the fact that Babe's response to the stimulus of sound comes 140 one thousandths of a second as against the averages man's 150 thousandths.
Human beings differ very slightly in these sight and sound tests, or rather the fractions are so small that they seem inexpressive; yet a difference of 20 or 10 one thousandths of a second indicates a superiority of the highest importance.
Translate the findings of the sight test into baseball if you want to see what they mean in Babe Ruth's case. They mean that a pitcher must throw a ball 20 one thousandths of a second faster to "fool" Babe than to "fool" the average person.
If the results of these tests at Columbia are a revelation to us, who know Ruth as a fast thinking player, they must be infinitely more amazing to the person who only comes into contact with the big fellow off the diamond and finds him unresponsive and even slow when some non-professional topic in under discussion.
The scientific "ivory hunters" up at Columbia demonstrated that Babe Ruth would have been the "home-run king" in almost any line of activity he chose to follow; that his brain would have won equal success for him had he drilled it for as long a time on some line entirely foreign to the national game. They did it, just as they proved his speed and his steadiness -- by simple laboratory tests.single page
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.