For Halloween, I wrote about a very scary topic: higher homotopy groups. Homotopy is an idea in topology, the field of math concerned with properties of shapes that stay the same no matter how you squish or stretch them, as long as you don’t tear them or glue things together.
My last column outlined points I made in a February 18 debate at my school, Stevens Institute of Technology, about whether religion and science are compatible.
I havent read Jane Austen, Game Theorist and Im definitely not going to after reading William Deresiewiczs scathing review in the New Republic.
I have been fascinated with living things since childhood. Growing up in northern California, I spent a lot of time playing outdoors among plants and animals.
I recently knocked science journalist Chris Mooney for asserting that “You Have No Business Challenging Scientific Experts.” Non-experts have the right and even the duty, I retorted, to question scientific experts, who often get things wrong.
We are responsible for our own actions. Of course we are. Sure about that? “I think I can?” “I think I can’t?” All philosophizing aside, the assumption that we have free will has been called into question by research that suggests our brains are deciding for us before we become conscious of the decisions streamed [...]
Fisticuffs have broken out in The Guardian between two intellectual big shots, philosopher John Gray and psychologist Steven Pinker. The fight, which features lots of rhetorical flourishes and high dudgeon, addresses a serious issue: Is humanity achieving moral progress?
Physicist Sean Carroll has some words of wisdom for physicists who might have less than complimentary things to say about philosophy. The most recent altercation between a physicist and philosophy came from Neil deGrasse Tyson who casually disparaged philosophy in a Q&A session, saying that it can be a time sink and it doesn’t actually [...]
Philosopher Daniel Dennett once asked: Would you rather be remembered for being right about something, or for being “original and provocative”?
In 1993, when I was a full-time staff writer for Scientific American, my boss, Jonathan Piel, asked, or rather, commanded me to write an in-depth feature on something, anything, mathematical.
Can citizen scientists be taught to recognize the important information in a photo and create useful datasets to aid those working on the ground during a disaster response?
What separates good from bad troublemakers? Productive provocateurs from mere contrarians, bullshit artists, attention-seekers? This is the personalized equivalent of philosophy’s demarcation problem, which involves telling genuine from pseudo-science.
There is little that shapes the human experience as profoundly and pervasively as creativity. Creativity drives progress in every human endeavor, from the arts to the sciences, business, and technology.
New Year’s Day is approaching, a time when we—by which I mean I–brood over past failures and vow to improve ourselves: I will be less judgmental with my kids and more romantic with my girlfriend.
As readers of this blog know, late last spring I spoke at a cool conference in England called How the Light Gets In, where I hung out with all kinds of professional reality-ponderers.