If you have ever sat in a science class, you might be familiar with the classic science-teacher opening to an introductory lesson on a new topic. Quite typically, you are not given an immediate outline of the new concepts, but rather briefed on how and why we came to know them in the first place. If you are to study the classical law of universal gravitation, you first need to know the story of how an apple supposedly decided to study the crown of Isaac Newton’s head. You might think this is somewhat silly. Why turn a physics lecture into a history class? Well, there is a reason for this trend, and it is not to fill time.
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot
When you think about the world we live in, you most likely feel like it’s getting worse by the day – there is an increasing number of terrorist attacks, education is absent in many parts of the world, many people don’t have access to healthcare or live in extreme poverty, to mention just a few. You may, therefore, be surprised to hear that all the major indicators actually show that the world has been getting consistently better in virtually all aspects for the last few decades! The question, therefore, arises as to why so many of us share such a distorted, negative perception of the world, and what we can do to align it with reality?
People often ask, “What is the single most important environmental/population problem facing the world today?” A flip answer would be, “The single most important problem is our misguided focus on identifying the single most important problem!”Jared Diamond
Sir Roger Penrose is one of those names in science you may see so often that you might just think it’s an adjective, especially if your interests happen to be particularly well aligned with his. Penrose’s name crops up in cosmology, quantum mechanics, various mathematical fields and even in philosophy and graphic art. He is also one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates in physics, which is why his name has been showing up even more frequently than usual. Since his is a name and character worth remembering, we’re bringing you a short overview of his most important endeavors and contributions.
Getting into a good college doesn’t have to be a reward for extreme sacrifice; it can be, instead, a side effect of the much grander goal of building a meaningful and engaging life.Cal Newport, How to be a High School Superstar
Think of a typical high school student who gets into a world-class college or university, like Cambridge, MIT, or one of the Ivy League universities. You might imagine someone with countless extracurricular activities, perfect grades, and loads of stress. What if there’s another way? What if, instead of sacrificing all your precious free time, you could get into a world-class college as a byproduct of leading an interesting life?
“Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.”Niels Bohr (and others, with variation)
“All models are wrong, but some are useful.”George Box, one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century