Tag Archives: Brian Greene

Beauty, mystery and science

Here’s a cartoon aimed at demolishing the claim that science destroys the wonder and mystery of things.

via xkcd: Beauty. Thanks to Prof. Abel Méndez (@ProfAbelMendez).

How many times have I found the person in the street is more often turned off by what the scientists finds beautiful. Think small organisms, waste, bugs, soils, clay minerals, etc.

Richard Dawkins wrote about the fallacy of science destroying beauty in his book Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder.

Brian Green demonstrates this scientific enthusiasm in the recent interview on the Guardian Science Weekly podcast (Science Weekly podcast: Just how many universes are there?). he basically discusses ideas in his new book  The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos.

I have a copy and am looking forward to reading it.

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Brian Greene’s big idea

How’s this for a motivational speech. Given by a scientist. A theoretical physicist!

It’s Brian Greene – author of the books The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory and The Fabric of the Cosmos. The video below is of his “What’s the Big Idea” speech at the Aspen Idea Festival last year.

His idea – to see the scientific endeavor as the greatest adventure story. And that our culture should give that story its rightful place alongside art, music and literature.


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Reading in retirement

Scientific research is a very creative and personally satisfying process. However, researchers often find that the inevitable specialisation and concentration on limited aspects of reality can lead to a lack of understanding and appreciation of discoveries in other fields.

Since retirement I’ve appreciated the opportunity to read more widely. I find myself returning to subjects I haven’t considered for decades, or have neglected. I’m learning about the amazing discoveries humanity has made (behind my back) in the meantime.

I was encouraged to check out, and summarise, what I have been reading by the reading lists blogged by Damian and others. The number of books I have got through (in four years) shocked me – perhaps I’m a bit obsessive, or maybe its just the freedom retirement has given me.

I can recommend most books on the list – but definitely not every one (guess which).

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