Axiom of Choice? “Would you rather be deaf or blind?”

Sir Michael Francis Atiyah, OMFRSFRSEFAA, a British mathematician
in Mathematics in the 20th Century

 

Belief in the Ignorance of Experts

Richard Feynman, ForMemRS (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988), an American theoretical physicist
as quoted in lecture by Phil Nelson

All cell biologists have two cells of interest

Frederick Neidhardt (1931 — ), professor of Microbiology and Immunology
as quoted in The Machinery of Life by David S. Goodsell

 

Regard the World as Made of Information

John Archibald Wheeler (1911-2008), American theoretical physicist
[attributed by Jacob Bekenstein in “Information in the Holographic Universe” (Scientific American, 2007)]

 

John Archibald Wheeler

It has taken great minds to discover simple things

Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson CB FRS FRSE (May 2, 1860 – June 21, 1948), a Scottish biologist, mathematician and classics scholar
in On Growth and Form, 1917

 

The next major thrust in biology

Werner R. Loewenstein (), biologist, physiologist
in The Touchstone of Life: Molecular Information, Cell Communication, and the Foundations of Life, Oxford University Press, 1999

 

The Touchstone of Life (Book Cover)

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

Food is a product of economic supply and demand

Tyler Cowen (), American economist, academic, and writer
in An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies

 

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

 

Books have always been digital, not analog

James Gleick (August 1, 1954 — ) American author and historian of science
on Twitter

 

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

 

John McCarthy on Arithmetic

John McCarthy (), an American computer scientist and cognitive scientist who was one of the founders of the discipline of artificial intelligence
in Computer Scientist Coined ‘Artificial Intelligence’ in The Wall Street Journal