Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Brief Thoughts from a Theoretical Physicist

I stumbled across this article featuring an interview with Brian Greene, a physicist grappling with string theory, which I found simultaneously fascinating and incomprehensible.

Anyway, he had a couple good things to say:
What issues are most woefully ignored in public discourse?

I think the general role of science is not as appreciated as it should be. There’s still a great sense that science is what takes place in laboratories, by scientists, without a recognition of how it so fully informs almost every aspect of everyday life — from cell phones to the iPods you were mentioning to personal computers to all manner of technology, medical and otherwise. A computer chip owes its existence to quantum physics. This esoteric sounding subject developed in the 1920s and ’30s is what allows these things to exist. Moreover, what’s ignored in conversations [currently preoccupying the world] — climate changes, global pandemics, stem cells — is often the underlying science, which can really inform the conversation and help it to go down very different directions. What’s missing in the public discourse is for science to be tightly woven into the cultural tapestry, so that it’s not viewed as something separate, but something fully integrated into the way we think.

What is on your iPod?

I don’t have an iPod.
This guy and I are so similar, it's like we're separated at birth. He digs science, I dig science. He doesn't own an iPod, I don't own an iPod. Wow, that's really eerie when you think about it.

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