I’m back. My holiday was wonderful, and I’m really glad I was without the Internet, e-mail and whatnot for about two weeks. Because of that, I have to catch up to what has happened over here. So far, nothing much to report, but I have a lot of work waiting to get done. In the meantime, I’ll send you to interesting stuff out there.
Bee discusses the dullness (or lack thereof) of modern scientists. In my opinion the statement “Most scientists are dull” is dead on. It is the same statistic of “Most people are dull”, but it does not really say scientists are more dull than other people. Of course, the interesting scientists are so interesting that they make it up for the rest. By the way, don’t take these comments seriously. I’m not well rested enough to make a real point.
On this topic, over at Cosmic Variance, there is a discussion on whether learning philosophy makes you a better scientist. Sure, learning anything extra makes you a better scientist. That does not mean that we should all go back to the middle ages and read Thomas Aquinas and revel in discussions about Kant, Hegel and all those guys with beards (and some without). I grew up in places where people really spent way too much time doing philosophy and science was dropped by the wayside because trying to sound deep was ‘cool’. I’m really not convinced that all this rhetoric is all that useful for science per se.
Clifford discusses fundamentals. Whether doing things that are `fundamental or not’ is that important. Lubos has a rebuttal. So what’s my opinion? Seems to me that this is a discussion about semantics and the proper usage of words. Using the ‘fundamental’ label seems to inspire religious feelings somewhere in my subconscious.
Also, here you have a new entry by Oswaldo Zapata. He discusses the topic of beauty (in science, and in particular in string theory).
In the meantime, Michael Jackson is dead, which seems to be more important than however many people have died in other places of the world in various riots, protests and wars (at least if you take into account how much press coverage there is of this event). Also, I found out that Billy Mays passed away very recently. I had just read an article about him in an airline magazine. My cats were happy to see me again after my holiday and I got some really good peaches in the market. Now, there is this workshop at the KITP on the interface between Condensed Matter Physics and Gravitational Physics in higher dimensions. With two talks per day, I will be very busy.