You and I Are Not Much Different from Cans of Soup

Philip Nelson, American physicist
in Biological Physics: Energy, Information, Life

 

Biological Physics: Energy, Information, Life written by Philip Nelson
Biological Physics: Energy, Information, Life written by Philip Nelson

John C. Malone on Assets in the Entertainment Industry

John C. Malone (1941 – ), American business executive, landowner, and philanthropist
at Sun Valley Conference 2012, quoted in New York Times

 

You Cannot Learn Too Much Linear Algebra

Benedict Gross, Ph.D., George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Mathematics, Harvard University
in Abstract Algebra, Lecture 2 at 14:25 via Harvard Extension

 

Benedict Gross standing in front of chalkboard with equations from Abstract Algebra Class
Benedict Gross teaching abstract algebra

On Scientifically Not Putting the Cart in Front of the Horse

Quite often in science we get a bit ahead of ourselves and begin theorizing wildly, which can very often be an excellent thought experiment in and of itself. But without some data to give proof to our theorems, we can be easily sidedtracked.  Never have I read a statement so poetically phrased to admonish against it as I have recently:

Werner R. Loewenstein (1926 – 2014), German born American biophysicist
in The Touchstone of Life: Molecular Information, Cell Communication and the Foundatons of Life (Oxford University Press, 1999)

 

Cart in Front of Horse

Rod, Can You Tell Our Contestant What She’s Won?

Possibly one of the oddest closing sentences of a technical book–and a very good one at that–I’ve ever read:

This pressure can be calculated by minimizing the Helmholtz function of the system. Details can be found in Fermi’s textbook on thermodynamics (Fermi 1956). But why does osmosis explain the behavior of a salted cucumber? This question is left to the reader as a parting gift.

André Thess in The Entropy Prinicple: Thermodynamics for the Unsatisified (Springer, 2011)

 

salted cucumber
 

Masara Ibuka on the Purposes of Incorporation of Sony

Masara Ibuka (), co-founder of Sony Corporation
on the first “Purposes of Incorporation” of Sony

 

A Cosmologically Centered Definition of Hydrogen

An anonymous wit defining hydrogen in light of the Big Bang Theory
As relayed by David Christian in his book Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History

 

Book cover of "The Maps of Time"

On the Fallacy of Diminishing Returns

Nominated for quote of the week, which I encountered while reading Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist:

Thomas Jefferson (), American Founding Father and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776)
in a letter to Isaac McPherson

 

What We Call the Past is Built on Bits

John Archibald Wheeler (), American theoretical physicist

 

HARASS SARAH is a PALINdrome, as well as a popular left-wing sport.

This is definitely the quote of the week:

Sol Golomb, mathematician and information theorist
via personal communication while discussing a palindromic word puzzle

 

HARASS SARAH is a PALINdrome, as well as a popular left-wing sport.

The Hidden Player

Thomas Henry Huxley

Paul Halmos on Prerequisites

Definitely the quote of the day:

Paul Halmos (1916 – 2006, Hungarian-born American mathematician
in Measure Theory (1950)

 

This is essentially the mathematician’s equivalent of the adage “Fake it ’til you make it.”

A New Low in Quantum Mechanics

R. Shankar in Principles of Quantum Mechanics

 

He really has a great sense of humor, doesn’t he?