Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Road Signs – 6-Pack Club

By Mike Sokol

My 6-Pack Club….

While driving to Elkhart the other day I decided to play a mental game with myself and pick out the top six dead people I would like to spend the day with. You know, chit chat … maybe have lunch and a few drinks, perhaps spend some time in their lab or office or whatever. And here’s my 6-Pack Club of those I want to meet along with a few notes on why I would like to spend some time talking with them. Yes, I know that Brian May and Elon Musk aren’t dead yet, but hey, it’s my list. Here’s why I want to hang out with each of them.

  1. Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519
    I would call him one of the greatest inventors and engineers of all times, and my wife would argue that he was a great artist, painting the Last Supper, Mona Lisa and many other artworks that have sold for hundreds of millions of dollars. Both of us are right. Leonardo invented and designed machines such as the helicopter and battle tank that couldn’t be built in his lifetime simply because technology and materials available to him were 500 years behind his imagination. And he was a star celebrity of his time, being invited to all sorts of parties just to hang out. The original Renaissance Man – he is my kinda guy. That’s why Leonardo da Vinci is at the top of my list. 

  2. Nikola Tesla, 1846-1943
    No, he didn’t invent the modern electric car, but Elon Musk named his company after him. That’s because Nikola Tesla not only invented the Tesla Coil, he also invented poly-phase AC power and went to battle with Edison against DC power, which never would have worked. That’s right, every power line you see overhead and every power wire running into your home uses Alternating Current. Tesla not only invented the generators to make AC power, he also invented the electric motors to use it. Plus he had over 300 inventions including ones that were designed to provide wireless power in the skies, and a death ray that could penetrate the earth and pop up anywhere else on the planet. Nikola Tesla is my favorite mad scientist, which is why he made it to the #2 position on my list. Don’t worry, when Tesla and I take over the world we will be benevolent overlords….

  3. Brian May (CBE), 1947-
    We first knew him as the guitarist for the 1970’s band Queen, and he’s still consistently rated as one of the top 10 guitar players in the world. And Brian May is certainly both of those. You may also have noticed that he’s not dead yet, so why is he on my list? Well, I’m making an exception for him just because he’s both a guitarist AND and an astrophysicist. That’s right, he was studying for his doctorate in astrophysics in the 1970s but took some time off to play in the little band Queen, who you’ll know from huge songs such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Will Rock You.” But he picked up where he left off in college and after 33 years submitted his revised thesis, A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud, and was awarded his doctorate in 2007. The fact that he’s one of the best guitar players in the world PLUS a really smart guy places him at #3 in my list. I’ll have a jam session set up for him.

  4. Albert Einstein, 1879-1955
    We all know who Einstein was: probably the smartest man in the world during the time he was alive, and perhaps the smartest of all time, with the possible exception of Stephen Hawking. Albert Einstein started out with an unexceptional career in the patent office in his 20s, but soon began running physics experiments inside his head. These mind experiments are what led him to his theory of relativity in 1915 at the age of 36. Yes, E=MC2 was part of this, but did you know that his understanding of time and space has allowed us to create devices such as the modern GPS you use in your car and smartphone? I would love to talk to him for hours about the thoughts running around in his head, which is why Einstein made it to #4 on my list.
  5. Elon Musk, 1971-
    OK, so this is my second not-dead guy, but he’s such an interesting character that I can’t wait for him to die to be in my club (just kidding). I think of Elon as perhaps the most influential entrepreneur of the 21st century. He could have just taken the money from selling PayPal and goofed off on an island somewhere. But he’s chosen to invest his 20 billion dollars in ways that will benefit humanity. Enter Tesla, the first really usable (albeit expensive) electric car company. There’s some serious stuff that needs to happen including fast recharging stations, so he’s putting in Tesla Supercharger stations around the country. And if that isn’t enough, he founded SpaceX, which not only has a way to launch satellites (and his personal red Tesla car) into space, but he’s also figured out how to land the boosters vertically for refueling and reuse, just like the old 1950s sci-fi shows I love so much. I think he offers hope to humanity. Instead of moaning about all the doom and gloom, he’s actually doing something that could save us from ourselves. And for that he’s made it to my #5 position.

  6. Grandpa Sokol,1886-1964
    While he’s not on any Wikipedia entry, my Grandpa Sokol was really interesting. He fought in the Hungarian army in WWI, where he was first in the cavalry, and later a heavy machine gunner. He was shot in the stomach with 2 bullets, and laid in the battlefield under a pile of corpses for days until a German Shepherd dog that was searching for live soldiers found him. He later immigrated to the U.S., but could only find a job as a coal miner in West Virginia, where he also owned a small farm. What I remember most about him is that he could play any instrument by ear. He could pick up a guitar or a trumpet, and in minutes be making music without any lessons or understanding of theory. But his favorite instrument was the accordion, and I can remember him and my uncle playing duets in the living room when I was maybe 10 years old. Everyone says I got my musical talent from my Grandpa Sokol, and it’s hard to argue with them. So I would love to spend an afternoon with my grandpa playing a few Hungarian Czardas. Thanks for all the music…   

Almost made into my 6-Pack Club. Better luck next time:

So who would be in your own 6-pack club. World leaders? Prolific inventors? Famous artists? Your 1st grade teacher? Let us know in the comments below. 
 Copyright Mike Sokol 2018 – All Rights Reserved

Let’s play safe out there….

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.




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Wolfe (@guest_25557)
5 years ago

Tesla, Musk, DaVinci, Hawking, Einstein, Curie, in that order… 😉

There have been “geniuses” of social engineering (scary tyrants mostly), but I’m completely fascinated by how *leaps* in science-engineering just seemed obvious to men like Tesla… Rather than standing on the shoulders of giants, some minds polevault and do triple backflips…

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