Bring Both Brains to Bear

A true scientist must always be reminded that beliefs are a necessary evil. But in all situations he would do well to remember that his strongest and most fervent beliefs are always in those matters in which his ignorance is greatest.

Stupid Questions

It is often said that there are no stupid questions. Is this true? Or is it just a way to avoid discouraging seekers?

I can think of at least one circumstance where a question might be considered stupid. And that is to first misquote a statement, or misunderstand it, and then with conviction, question it’s validity.

Is this a stupid question? I’ll let you decide.

And is this important? It is important since the foundation of all scientific endeavors has never been to find the right answers so much as it has been to ask the right questions. And in looking back at the history of science, every single great discovery, every theory, every law, has really been a question in disguise.

Consider one of the most well known. Sir Isaac Newton looked at the moon. Made a few observations, and by sheer genius realized that the Earth was falling. But that is really the question isn’t it? Why is the Earth Falling? He could only ask that question if he had, by an even greater force of genius, realized that perhaps the Earth should NOT be falling. Had no one ever asked that question, (which by the way still awaits a definitive answer) we would never have flown from the earth, let alone reached the moon. And yes, by falling, as much, if not more than flying.


It is a kind of arrogance to willfully repeat mistakes.

For a function that is the sum of cosine theta and i sine theta

the derivative is the difference of i cosine theta and sine theta

factoring out the square root of negative one from the difference

the derivative of the function is the product of the function and i

solving the differential…

Interesting patter, African village built using fractal geometry.

Interesting patter, African village built using fractal geometry.


All scientific theories fail or eventually will as they are refined or revised. Only in Mathematics are theories indelible. Which for me makes physics all the more mysterious for even what has been well established can and must be revisited.

To eliminate clutter

It is the wonderful task of mathematics, as well as it’s immense power, to simplify all matters by the elimination of all that is unnecessary.


Many people who encounter me as a scientist like to say that I have no faith. This is a tremendously erroneous accusation. In response I will outline a great many beliefs that I have based entirely on faith for I have no proof to offer in support of these postulates.

1. I believe in Evolution. I believe that, given enough time, new species can be manifest from sufficient mutation. And I believe that sufficient time has been given.

2. I believe that there is intelligent life in this universe, perhaps even in our galaxy. The fact that we almost are gives me hope that beings that actually are intelligent may exist.

3. I believe that the secret to happiness is hope which can only be secured by hard work and discipline. That those who would attempt to raise my self esteem by encouraging me to lower my standards are really trying to help themselves at the expense of my proxy, and as such end up becoming the problem by trying to fix what’s not really broken.

4. I believe that there is a relationship between electromagnetism and gravity.

5. I believe that space consists of discrete quanta. And that we will discover that this will give dimension to the fine structure constant

\alpha = \frac{e^2}{(4 \pi \varepsilon_0)\hbar c} = \frac{e^2 c \mu_0}{2 h} = \frac{k_\mathrm{e} e^2}{\hbar c},

and essentially replace the speed of light as the bridge between reference frames. Or perhaps even eliminate reference frames.

6. I believe that there can be an entirely separate form of mathematics that could simplify what is considered difficult but will severely complicate the trivial. I further believe that transforms can be developed that will allow a change in mathematics in the same way that Lorentz transforms allow us to exchange reference frames.

7. I believe that a new mathematics may change the role of mathematics in science, which up until now has only been used to describe models and quantify observations.  Thus in the same way observation can affect physical phenomena, mathematics may play a role in affecting the actual relationships of physical phenomena which we have so far only used numbers to quantify.

8. I believe that our planet has never been visited by alien life forms. There are far too many mysteries on earth to be leaping to the conclusion that anything we don’t understand must be from outer space.  I have a far greater faith in our ignorance of terrestrial matters than I do in our knowledge of flying saucers.

9. I believe that there is an upper limit to the intelligence of a species. That individuals that approach or go beyond this limit are not sufficiently successful to pass on those genetic traits.

10. I believe that the egg came first. (Laid by something that was not quite a chicken yet)


It is interesting to note that those who are complacent in their belief that scientists will find a way to fix everything generally never listen to scientists when they say “Stop what you’re doing now!!!”

A critical point in the polution of our environment will at some point be reached. But those hellbent on getting there are convinced that the scientists whom they hope will save us from ourselves are lying about the need for conservation.

Hot Coffee

I get up in the morning and make hot coffee and I am ready to pour it into a thermos to take to work. The thermos is not perfect and so the coffee will lose some of it’s heat while sitting in the thermos.  I also like to add creamer. The creamer is cold. If I add the creamer it will also cool down the coffee to some lower temperature.

I could add the creamer right away before pouring the coffee into the thermos and then take it to work. 

I could put the coffee into the thermos without the creamer and wait to add the creamer when I am at work.

The question is, which scenario will yield a warmer cup of coffee when I am at work? Put the creamer in right away? or wait to add the creamer later? Or does it not matter, the coffee will lose the same amount of heat either way.