If we allow trivia to pass for science, should we be surprised when people treat science trivially?
The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water. Water is colorless, shallow water appears to be the color of whatever lies underneath it, but deep water is full of this scattered light, the purer the water the deeper the blue. The sky is blue for the same reason, but the blue at the horizon, the blue of land that seems to be dissolving into the sky, is a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance. This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue.
When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.
Interview with Maryam Mirzakhani, the brilliant Iranian mathematician who was the first woman to win the Fields Medal
- Interviewer: What advice would you give lay persons who would
- like to know more about mathematics—what it is,
- what its role in our society has been and so on?
- What should they read? How should they proceed?
- Dr. Mirzakhani: This is a difficult question. I don’t think that everyone
- should become a mathematician, but I do believe that
- many students don’t give mathematics a real chance.
- I did poorly in math for a couple of years in middle
- school; I was just not interested in thinking about it.
- I can see that without being excited mathematics can
- look pointless and cold. The beauty of mathematics
- only shows itself to more patient followers.
There was a smell of Time in the air tonight. He smiled and turned the fancy in his mind. There was a thought. What did Time smell like? Like dust and clocks and people. And if you wondered what Time sounded like it sounded like water running in a dark cave and voices crying and dirt dropping down upon hollow box lids, and rain. And, going further, what did Time look like? Time looked like snow dropping silently into a black room or it looked like a silent film in an ancient theater, one hundred billion faces falling like those New Year balloons, down and down into nothing. That was how Time smelled and looked and sounded. And tonight - Tomás shoved a hand into the wind outside his truck - tonight you could almost touch Time.
Richard Feynman on the value of science…
"The same thrill, the same awe and mystery, comes again and again when we look at any question deeply enough. With more knowledge comes a deeper, more wonderful mystery, luring one on to penetrate deeper still. Never concerned that the answer may prove disappointing, with pleasure and confidence we turn over each new stone to find unimagined strangeness leading on to more wonderful questions and mysteries - certainly a grand adventure!"
Background image credit: Michael Sidonio
But it is the imagination of the latter that keeps us inquiring about the former.
Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
I meet many people offended by evolution, who passionately prefer to be the personal handicraft of God than to arise by blind physical and chemical forces over aeons from slime…What they wish to be true, they believe is true.
Only 9 percent of Americans accept the central finding of modern biology that human beings (and all other species) have slowly evolved by natural processes from a succession of more ancient beings with no divine intervention needed along the way.
Look on the bright side! Since Carl wrote these words in 1995’s The Demon-Haunted World, support for human beings evolving solely by natural processes has risen to a whopping 32%!! Although, I must admit, I don’t know where that 9% number comes from.
If you read one thing today, make it the great Oliver Sacks on what hallucinations reveal about how our minds work