The bright-eyed little old lady who loves dogs and seems to make a point of sitting near us and striking up a conversation with me (or Carrie) when she sees one of us in the park with the Chow Chows?
Retired Ph.D chemist and intellectual property attorney, former head chemist at Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso, then Exxon, now ExxonMobil), has written over 1,000 patents in her career, including the original patent for butyl rubber.
She's 89 years old. Intellectual property law is *still* mostly a boys' club in 2005; imagine how good she must have had to be in order to make it, back in the day.
This is what I call the "holy shit!" factor, and it happens over and over again in New York. You're talking to some random stranger at a party, or in the park, or you see someone on the bus or the subway reading a book you've enjoyed, and somehow you wind up in conversation...
Only to discover that you're chatting with somebody who is a total superstar (in their field, at least, and occasionally quite literally.)