Somehow, I only learned about this today, and it is already standby tickets only, but you never know. If you’re in LA and interested in a different kind of conversation, consider taking in the event (part of the Aloud series) at the downtown Los Angeles Central Library tomorrow night at 7:00pm. It’s between two friends and colleagues of mine, the science writer K C Cole and the scientist Lenny Susskind! The event is entitled, “The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics”, and presumably will be about Lenny’s reflections on some of the exciting squabbles over various important issues in black hole physics that took place (and still take place) in our field of physics. The above turns out to be (I just learned from a Google search) the title of a book he’s written, so you might be interested in it for your Summer (or other) reading.
Some of you may recall her really great conversation with Alan Alda that took place at USC earlier this year. I reported on it here. K C tends to run these sorts of Continue reading ‘Black Hole Battles’
A commenter, slim potato, implicitly asked a really good question earlier. It was a comment on a post I did yesterday about my struggles with a computation I was working on. I gave an answer, but since I know that a lot of readers don’t read the comments, and because one of the missions of this blog is to give a window on what scientists such as myself do and (importantly) how we do it, I thought I’d elevate the comment and my response into a post. Feel free to add your own thoughts to it in the comments, either as a non-scientist, a scientist, a specialist from another field, or other.
I would have assumed that most of your time when working on a paper was involved on catching good ideas, not getting muddled with conventions and calculations.
Thanks. That’s a common misunderstanding of what we do. What makes a field of physical science like physics work is computations – all of that business with calculations (including checking that your computations conventions are internally consistent) is vital to the field.
Frankly, “Good Ideas” are a dime a dozen. Anyone in my field ought to be able to think of at least six of them before breakfast. What makes a good idea go Continue reading ‘On Good Ideas’