inthenoosphere
inthenoosphere:

Symbolic representation of the participatory universe as developed by physicist, John Archibald Wheeler

••••••
“We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” ― Carl Sagan
A video of John Wheeler talking about this image.
Christopher Langan’s animated gif version of John’s idea, via Imagining the Tenth Dimension.
••••••
I’m curious, who’s the artist of the above drawing? I haven’t been able to find a real source yet. It is Wheeler’s idea, but it’s unclear if this particular picture was drawn by him — seems not.

inthenoosphere:

Symbolic representation of the participatory universe as developed by physicist, John Archibald Wheeler

••••••

We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” ― Carl Sagan

A video of John Wheeler talking about this image.

Christopher Langan’s animated gif version of John’s idea, via Imagining the Tenth Dimension.

••••••

I’m curious, who’s the artist of the above drawing? I haven’t been able to find a real source yet. It is Wheeler’s idea, but it’s unclear if this particular picture was drawn by him — seems not.

TIL that Jason Silva calls himself a Futurist.
I want to talk about this. Because someone has to offer an opposing view, lest minds — especially young ones who haven’t read enough to know better — fall in this hole, never to return again. Mine nearly did, but I chose to hear out and learn from the skeptics, despite their “negativity”.
Silva is simply a filmmaker who enthusiastically uses buzzwords like “mindgasm" and "feedback loops" and "Quest Physics" — he borrows credibility. Many people are evidently apt to confuse this with profundity.
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For ease, the Wiki definition of a futurist:

Futurists (not in the sense of [the early 20th century art movement, futurism]) or futurologists are scientists and social scientists whose speciality is … to systematically explore predictions and possibilities about the future and how they can emerge from the present, whether that of human society in particular or of life on earth in general.

I don’t know if he does any of the above, but I can infer from what I’ve seen of it that Silva’s work does NOT involve science. It cannot. A scientifically literate person would not ever say the things this man says.
While many futurists do hold fringe beliefs/values/etc., futurism stems from a consideration of science and technology, and where they may lead us. Not New Age philosophy. NOT “The Secret”, not “intentions”, not “positive energy”, not mystical quantum anything. Some futurists may espouse those ideas, but they aren’t intrinsic to the movement.
••••••
For more info about futurism, please visit:
SpaceCollective.org
KurzweilAI.net
To learn more about differentiating between New Age BS and science, please visit the following links. (In no specified order, just a small sampling):
Scientific Literacy (list on Goodreads)If you don’t have time for whole books, at least start with a few quotes or a wiki summary. But please don’t make the mistake of rejecting outright or arguing based on a few excerpts. (Here, one might try to say the same about how I’m reacting to Silva. But the truth is, I was deeply immersed in material like his in my teen years, ergo I accepted and understood it before critically dissecting and rejecting it.)
Skepdic: New Thought"The dominating idea of all forms of New Thought is that thoughts or beliefs have an effect on things and people around us independently of our doing anything. Thinking creates reality."
Skepdic: “Energy” (New Age)"New Age spiritualism has co-opted some of the language of physics, including the language of quantum mechanics, in its quest to make ancient metaphysics sound like respectable science."
Skepdic: “Law” of AttractionAn offshoot of New Thought. Central tenet of “The Secret”.
Carl Sagan’s CosmosVideo series; a historical overview of science. Part of Sagan’s agenda toward scientific literacy. Things we all should’ve learned in grade school. Available for free, nearly everywhere.
"Science Saved My Soul" by Phil HellenesA 5-min excerpt of the original video.
Excerpt from Feynman’s The Meaning of it All

••••••
All that said… it’s difficult to live. People need the inspiration and personal values and philosophies that help them do so. Understanding that, I’m not anti-god nor anti-spirituality, etc. I am anti-obfuscation. There’s much more to this than I can cover in several paragraphs on a blog post.
I’m writing this not out of anger (although let’s be honest, some of this shit makes my blood boil), but in hopes of holding out yet another Candle in the Dark to anyone who may not otherwise have an opportunity to see one.

TIL that Jason Silva calls himself a Futurist.

I want to talk about this. Because someone has to offer an opposing view, lest minds — especially young ones who haven’t read enough to know better — fall in this hole, never to return again. Mine nearly did, but I chose to hear out and learn from the skeptics, despite their “negativity”.

Silva is simply a filmmaker who enthusiastically uses buzzwords like “mindgasm" and "feedback loops" and "Quest Physics" — he borrows credibility. Many people are evidently apt to confuse this with profundity.

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Besides the few famous ones in film and books, do theoretical physicists actually exist, happily, doing interesting things?

Or are they magical unicorn butterfly creatures that are only rumored to have been seen in the wild, but are only miserably locked away in towers, trying to get impossible tenure positions?

••••••

edit:

@ redcloud: haha. good one. yes.

@ thenoobyorker: the honest answer, I guess. I’m guessing it’s the latter. Janna Levin is one such unicorn that comes to mind, but… that’s just it. One. I don’t understand how one acquires the finances to live this life.

Image 1: At the Solvay Conference on Physics in 1927, the only woman in attendance was Marie Curie (bottom row, third from left).
Image 2: 牧瀬紅莉栖, Makise Kurisu of Steins;Gate

Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?
By Eileen Pollack, for the NYT
Published: October 3, 2013 

Last summer, researchers at Yale published a study proving that physicists, chemists and biologists are likely to view a young male scientist more favorably than a woman with the same qualifications. Presented with identical summaries of the accomplishments of two imaginary applicants, professors at six major research institutions were significantly more willing to offer the man a job. If they did hire the woman, they set her salary, on average, nearly $4,000 lower than the man’s. Surprisingly, female scientists were as biased as their male counterparts.

Read On —›

••••••

Highlights; emphasis mine:

I didn’t go into physics as a career. At the end of four years, I was exhausted by all the lonely hours I spent catching up to my classmates, hiding my insecurities, struggling to do my problem sets while the boys worked in teams to finish theirs. I was tired of dressing one way to be taken seriously as a scientist while dressing another to feel feminine. And while some of the men I wanted to date weren’t put off by my major, many of them were.

Her classmates teased her mercilessly: “You’re a girl. Girls can’t do physics.” She expected the teacher to put an end to the teasing, but he didn’t.

Other women chimed in to say that their teachers were the ones who teased them the most. In one physics class, the teacher announced that the boys would be graded on the “boy curve,” while the one girl would be graded on the “girl curve”; when asked why, the teacher explained that he couldn’t reasonably expect a girl to compete in physics on equal terms with boys.

For proof of the stereotypes that continue to shape American attitudes about science, and about women in science in particular, you need only watch an episode of the popular television show “The Big Bang Theory,”

Although Americans take for granted that scientists are geeks, in other cultures a gift for math is often seen as demonstrating that a person is intuitive and creative. … native-born American students of both sexes steer clear of math clubs and competitions because “only Asians and nerds” would voluntarily do math.

Urry told me that at the space telescope institute where she used to work, the women from Italy and France “dress very well, what Americans would call revealing. You’ll see a Frenchwoman in a short skirt and fishnets; that’s normal for them. The men in those countries seem able to keep someone’s sexual identity separate from her scientific identity. American men can’t seem to appreciate a woman as a woman and as a scientist; it’s one or the other.

The most powerful determinant of whether a woman goes on in science might be whether anyone encourages her to go on.

 “Just swim in your own lane,” he said. Seeing my confusion, he told me that he had been on the swimming team at Stanford. His stroke was as good as anyone’s. But he kept coming in second. “Zeller,” the coach said, “your problem is you keep looking around to see how the other guys are doing. Keep your eyes on your own lane, swim your fastest and you’ll win.

He stared into the distance. “I guess I just haven’t seen that many women whose work I’m excited about.” I watched him mull over his answer, the way I used to watch him visualize n-dimensional toruses cradled in his hands. “Maybe women are victims of misperception,” he said finally.

“I have found that even when women win the Nobel Prize, someone is bound to tell me they did not deserve it, or the discovery was really made by a man, or the important result was made by a man, or the woman really isn’t that smart. This is what discrimination looks like in 2011.” … women … turned out to be as biased as the men. When she gives a talk and reveals the results, she said, “you can watch the tension in the room drop. I can say: ‘We all do this. It’s not only you. It’s not just the bad boys who do this.’

The problem is that most girls — and boys — decide they don’t like math and science before those subjects reveal their true beauty, a condition worsened by the unimaginative ways in which science and math are taught.

Four young women — one black, two white, one Asian by way of Australia — explained to me how they had made it so far when so many other women had given up.

“Oh, that’s easy,” one of them said. “We’re the women who don’t give a crap.

Don’t give a crap about — ?

“What people expect us to do.”

“Or not do.”

“Or about men not taking you seriously because you dress like a girl. I figure if you’re not going to take my science seriously because of how I look, that’s your problem.

 As so many studies have demonstrated, success in math and the hard sciences, far from being a matter of gender, is almost entirely dependent on culture — a culture that teaches girls math isn’t cool and no one will date them if they excel in physics; a culture in which professors rarely encourage their female students to continue on for advanced degrees; a culture in which success in graduate school is a matter of isolation, competition and ridiculously long hours in the lab; a culture in which female scientists are hired less frequently than men, earn less money and are allotted fewer resources.

And yet, as I listened to these four young women laugh at the stereotypes and fears that had discouraged so many others, I was heartened that even these few had made it this far, that theirs will be the faces the next generation grows up imagining when they think of a female scientist.

odditiesoflife

odditiesoflife:

10 Must-See Photographs from the 1940s

  1. A mother is photographed while hiding her face in shame after putting up a sign announcing that she is putting her own four children up for sale in Chicago, Illinois in 1948.
  2. A sign posted to remind soldiers to take Atabrine, an anti-malaria drug, while stationed in Papua, New Guinea during World War II.
  3. A young man sits and reads a book in the ruins of a London bookstore after the air strikes in 1940.
  4. A young woman sprays her arm with self-tanning spray from a suntan vending machine in 1949.
  5. Hitler’s officers and cadets smile for a photograph while they are seated for Christmas dinner in 1941.
  6. A sorrowful suicide — 23 year old Evelyn McHale is photographed after jumping from the 83rd floor of the Empire State Building and landing on a United Nations limousine in 1947.
  7. An Austrian boy displays glee after receiving a new pair of shoes during World War II.
  8. A thoughtful soldier in the trenches shares his banana with a goat during the battle on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands during World War II in 1944.
  9. A distraught little girl desperately clutches her doll while sitting in the ruins of her bombed home after the air strikes in London, England in 1940.
  10. An anti-comic book movement began in 1940 causing many watchdog groups to promote the burning of comic books claiming that Batman and Robin promoted homosexuality and that children would become confused about the law of physics because of Superman’s ability to fly.

sources 1, 2

all interesting but…
REBLOGGING FOR NUMBER 10.

The Amplituhedron is the “jewel”-like, theoretical geometric structure (actually a mathematical tool) that’s been making the rounds in science news. The summary linked above appears fairly solid and unbiased, so far as I can tell.

Philip Gibbs

so far it is only applicable to the planar limit of one specific quantum field theory and it is not one encountered in nature. It is therefore very premature to say that this makes conventional quantum field theory obsolete.

On its own the theory is very interesting but of limited use. The real excitement is in the idea that it extends in some way to theories which could be physical.

Part of the story of the amplituhedron is the idea that space, time, locality and unitarity are emergent. This is exciting because people have always speculated that some of these things may be emergent in theories of quantum gravity. In my opinion it is too strong to call this emergence. Emergence of space-time implies that space and time are approximate and there are places such as a black hole singularity where they cease to be a smooth manifold. The amplituhedron does not give you this.

They will have to find a way to go beyond the planar limit, generalise to higher dimensions, include gravity and identify the relevant symmetries for string theory. Then there is just the little issue of relating the result to reality. It could be a long road.

astronomnomy

Seven tips for (Physics) Freshers: Things to Keep in Mind As You Begin Your Journey

astronomnomy:

Congratulations for picking a really fun and satisfying subject to study! As someone who’s been through it all already (MSci Theo Phys and am in the midst of an Astro PhD) I thought, in honour of the first day of term, I would impart some old-people wisdom for those just starting their first classes - mistakes I made so you don’t have to…

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via Quanta MagazineBy: Natalie Wolchover    September 17, 2013Illustration by Andy Gilmore

Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.
“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University …The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions.
…

THIS IS (POSSIBLY) EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.
TL;DR: An idea that might help unify nearly a century of knowledge. A clue as to what may comprise everything in the universe as-known-to-date. HUGE. Read. Share.

via Quanta Magazine
By: Natalie Wolchover   
September 17, 2013
Illustration by Andy Gilmore

Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.

“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University …

The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions.


THIS IS (POSSIBLY) EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.

TL;DR: An idea that might help unify nearly a century of knowledge. A clue as to what may comprise everything in the universe as-known-to-date. HUGE. Read. Share.

When we represent a group of connections by a closed and coherent set of concepts, axioms, definitions and laws which in turn is represented by a mathematical scheme, we have in fact isolated and idealized this group of connections with the purpose of clarification.

But even if complete clarity has been achieved in this way, it is not known how accurately the set of concepts describes reality.

Heisenberg, Werner
Physics and Philosophy

Continued:

These idealizations may be called a part of the human language that has been formed from the interplay between the world and ourselves, a human response to the challenge of nature. In this respect they may be compared to the different styles of art, say of architecture or music.

A style of art can also be defined by a set of formal rules which are applied to the material of this special art. These rules can perhaps not be represented in a strict sense by a set of mathematical concepts and equations, but their fundamental elements are very closely related to the essential elements of mathematics.

Equality and inequality, repetition and symmetry, certain group structures play the fundamental role both in art and in mathematics. Usually the work of several generations is needed to develop that formal system which later is called the style of the art, from its simple beginning to the wealth of elaborate forms which characterize its completion.

… the question of how far the formal rules of the style represent that reality of life which is meant by the art, cannot be decided from the formal rules. Art is always an idealization; the ideal is different from reality — at least from the reality of the shadows, as Plato would have put it — but idealization is necessary for understanding.

This comparison between the different sets of concepts in natural science with different styles of art may seem very far from the truth to those who consider the different styles of art as rather arbitrary products of the human mind. They would argue that in natural science these different sets of concepts represent objective reality, have been taught to us by nature, are therefore by no means arbitrary, and are a necessary consequence of our gradually increasing experimental knowledge of nature. About these points most scientists would agree; but are the different styles of art an arbitrary product of the human mind?

Here again we must not be misled by the Cartesian partition. The style arises out of the interplay between the world and ourselves, or more specifically between the spirit of the time and the artist. The spirit of a time [(Zeitgeist)] is probably a fact as objective as any fact in natural science, and this spirit brings out certain features of the world which are even independent of time, and are in this sense eternal. The artist tries by his work to make these features understandable, and in this attempt he is led to the forms of the style in which he works.

Therefore, the two processes, that of science and that of art, are not very different. Both science and art form in the course of the centuries a human language by which we can speak about the more remote parts of reality …”

Thanks for understanding, Heisenberg.