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The Curious Wavefunction

The Curious Wavefunction

Musings on chemistry and the history and philosophy of science

Falsification and its discontents

Falsification and its discontents

One of the answers to Edge.org’s question “What scientific idea is ready for retirement”? is by physicist Sean Carroll. Carroll takes on an idea from the philosophy of science that’s usually considered a given: falsification...

January 24, 2014 — Ashutosh Jogalekar
Physics and fundamental laws: Necessary truth or misleading cacophony?

Physics and fundamental laws: Necessary truth or misleading cacophony?

Robert Oppenheimer’s greatest contribution to physics was one that he wanted nothing to do with for the rest of his life. In 1939 Oppenheimer and his student Hartland Snyder published a paper in the same issue of the Physical Review that featured Niels Bohr and John Wheeler’s seminal article on the mechanism of nuclear fission [...]..

January 22, 2014 — Ashutosh Jogalekar

The many tragedies of Edward Teller

Edward Teller was born on this day 106 years ago. Teller is best known to the general public for two things: his reputation as the “father of the hydrogen bomb” and as a key villain in the story of the downfall of Robert Oppenheimer...

January 15, 2014 — Ashutosh Jogalekar
“What scientific idea is ready for retirement?”

“What scientific idea is ready for retirement?”

Every year since 1998, Big Questions guru John Brockman has posed one big question on Edge.org and gotten about forty or fifty of the world’s leading thinkers to come up with their own answers...

January 15, 2014 — Ashutosh Jogalekar
Should you drink coffee before or after a learning task?

Should you drink coffee before or after a learning task?

Popular wisdom holds that caffeine enhances learning, alertness and retention, leading millions to consume coffee or caffeinated drinks before a challenging learning task such as attending a business strategy meeting or a demanding scientific presentation...

January 14, 2014 — Ashutosh Jogalekar
About that consensus on global warming: 9136 agree, one disagrees.

About that consensus on global warming: 9136 agree, one disagrees.

I just want to highlight this illuminating infographic by James Powell in which, based on more than 2000 peer-reviewed publications, he counts the number of authors from November, 2012 to December, 2013 who explicitly deny global warming (that is, who propose a fundamentally different reason for temperature rise than anthropogenic CO2)...

January 10, 2014 — Ashutosh Jogalekar
Why drug discovery is hard – Part 3: Vacuum cleaners that make Sir James Dyson weep

Why drug discovery is hard, part 3 – Vacuum cleaners that make Sir James weep

This is part 3 of a series of posts delving into the fundamental scientific challenges in drug discovery. Here are the other parts: 1, 2. Any number of thrillers or action movies should convince us that the first and most important stratagem in defeating an enemy is getting inside his fortress or camp...

January 10, 2014 — Ashutosh Jogalekar

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