Albert Einstein

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pages: 282 words: 89,436

Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat: How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics by Paul Halpern


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, clockwork universe, cosmological constant, dark matter, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, lone genius, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Solar eclipse in 1919, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics

Barbour (Boston: Birkhäuser, 1994), 218. 250 Notes 8. Albert Einstein to Erwin Schrödinger, January 22, 1946, Albert Einstein Duplicate Archive, Princeton, NJ, 22-093. 9. Erwin Schrödinger to Albert Einstein, February 19, 1946, Albert Einstein Duplicate Archive, 22-094. 10. Erwin Schrödinger to Albert Einstein, March 24, 1946, Albert Einstein Duplicate Archive, 22-102. 11. Albert Einstein to Erwin Schrödinger, April 7, 1946, Albert Einstein Duplicate Archive, 22-103. 12. Erwin Schrödinger to Albert Einstein, June 13, 1946, Albert Einstein Duplicate Archive, 22-107. 13. Albert Einstein to Erwin Schrödinger, July 16, 1946, Albert Einstein Duplicate Archive, 22-109. 14. Albert Einstein to Erwin Schrödinger, January 27, 1947, Albert Einstein Duplicate Archive, 22-136. 15. William Rowan Hamilton, quoted in Robert Percival Graves, Life of Sir William Rowan Hamilton (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, 1882). 16.

George Prior Woollard, “Transcontinental Gravitational and Magnetic Profile of North America and Its Relation to Geologic 249 Notes Structure,” Geological Society of America Bulletin 54, no. 6 (June 1, 1943): 747–789. 29. “Schroedinger’s New Theory Confirmed,” Irish Press, June 28, 1943, 1. 30. Erwin Schrödinger to Albert Einstein, August 13, 1943, Albert Einstein Duplicate Archive, 22-075. 31. Albert Einstein to Erwin Schrödinger, September 10, 1943, Albert Einstein Duplicate Archive, 22-076. 32. Erwin Schrödinger to Albert Einstein, October 31, 1943, Albert Einstein Duplicate Archive, 22-088. 33. Albert Einstein to Erwin Schrödinger, December 14, 1943, Albert Einstein Duplicate Archive, 22-090. 34. Reported in Walter Moore, Schrödinger: Life and Thought (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 418. Moore has speculated that because Schrödinger always wanted a son, he hoped that she would get pregnant on the chance she would have a boy. 35.

Erwin Schrödinger, Space-Time Structure (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963), 1. 5. Albert Einstein, speech given in Kyoto, Japan, on December 14, 1922, quoted in Engelbert L. Schücking and Eugene J. Surowitz, “Einstein’s Apple,” unpublished manuscript, 2013. 6. Albert Einstein to Arnold Sommerfeld, October 29, 1912, in Albert Einstein, The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, vol. 5, The Swiss Years: Correspondence, 1902–1914, English translation supplement, ed. Don Howard, trans. Anna Beck (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), Doc. 421. 7. Carl Seelig, Albert Einstein: A Documentary Biography, trans. Mervyn Savill (London: Staples Press, 1956), 108. 8. Albert Einstein to Paul Ehrenfest, January 1916, in Seelig, Albert Einstein, 156. 9. Richard Feynman, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character (New York: Norton, 2010), 58. 10.

pages: 349 words: 27,507

E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation by David Bodanis


Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Berlin Wall, British Empire, dark matter, Ernest Rutherford, Erwin Freundlich, Fellow of the Royal Society, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Mercator projection, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stephen Hawking, Thorstein Veblen, V2 rocket

., p. xx. 5 “Your presence in the class . . .”: Philipp Frank, Einstein: His Life and Times, trans. George Rosen (New York: Knopf, 1947, revised 1953), p. 17. 5 “displayed some quite good achievements”: Albrecht Fölsing, Albert Einstein: A Biography (London: Viking Penguin, 1997), pp. 115-16. 7 . . . jokingly called his department of theoretical physics . . . : The phrasing is recalled by a visitor, Rudolf Ladenburg; in Folsing, Albert Einstein, p. 222; see also Anton Reiser, Albert Einstein, a Biographical Portrait (New York: A. and C. Boni, 1930), p. 68. 7 “I like him a great deal . . .”: Folsing, Albert Einstein, p. 73. 7 . . . feeling “the greatest excitement”: Reiser, Einstein, p. 70. 7 “The idea is amusing . . . that I cannot know.” Collected Papers, vol. 5, doc. 28. The friend was Conrad Habicht. 8 E=mc2 had arrived in the world: Einstein did not write E=mc2 in 1905.

Yet this higher-order nature of the law is why the “m” in E=mc2 is so general, applying to every substance in the universe—from the carbon in your hand, to plutonium in a bomb, or the hydrogen inside the sun. 87 “a temptation to superficiality . . . : Albrecht Fölsing, Albert Einstein: A Biography (London: Viking Penguin, 1997), p. 102. 87 . . . this gently self-teasing tone: In the letters of many artists of the time there’s often a similar tone; a similarly bemused acceptance that there is a less than rational world 265 notes of received rules within which we have to live. The fact that an entire knowledge-admiring academic system was mixed in with a society that had totally different standards—of Junker superiority; of Kaiserlich grandeur—roused intelligent cynicism among many of the young. 87 “This should suffice to show . . . Albert Einstein never did attain.”: The quotes are from his sister Maja’s delightful short memoir, “Albert Einstein—A Biographical Sketch,” in Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 1. The Early Years: 1879–1902, trans.

Von Laue was directed from the patent office reception room and along a corridor; a young man came out whom von Laue ignored; von Laue waited. Later the young man returned. It was Einstein; finally the two said hello. From von Laue’s account in a 1952 letter in Carl Seelig, Albert Einstein: A Documentary Biography (trans. Mervyn Savill (London: Staples Press, 1956), p. 78. 89 “I have to tell you . . .”: Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, vol. 1. I’ve rearranged material from the letters given in documents 39, 72, 76, and 70. 90 The myth that she had been responsible for . . . : The story was first promoted in In the Shadow of Albert Einstein, published in Serbo-Croat in 1969 by the retired schoolteacher Desanka Trbuhović-Gjurić. It was developed in Andrea Gabor’s Einstein’s Wife (New York: Viking, 1995), and received a great public boost when Jill Ker Conway, onetime Smith College president, reviewed Gabor’s book most favorably in The New York Times.

pages: 1,079 words: 321,718

Surfaces and Essences by Douglas Hofstadter, Emmanuel Sander


affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Benoit Mandelbrot, Brownian motion, Chance favours the prepared mind, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Flynn Effect, Georg Cantor, Gerolamo Cardano, Golden Gate Park, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, l'esprit de l'escalier, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, place-making, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, theory of mind, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

Moreover, using the word “dude” strongly resonates with using the word “one”, and vice versa — indeed, when used together, these two words paint a vivid portrait not only of Albert Einstein but of a certain brand of English speakers who are prone to use this kind of phrase. To put it more explicitly, probably most native speakers of American English have developed a category in their minds that could be labeled “the kind of person who goes around saying ‘one smart dude’ ”. However, the category is not as narrow as this label suggests. To be sure, it would be instantly evoked if one were to hear the above remark about Albert Einstein’s intelligence, but its evocation doesn’t depend on having heard the specific words “smart” and “dude”; it would also be evoked by remarks like “Doris Day was one cute cookie” or “That’s one bright lamp!”

It is very plausible that your mental images of these two men might start to mix and blur, thus resulting, in the end, in a new mental entity that we might baptize “Twain/Grieg” — the name not of a person but of a category. Analogy-making and Categorization: Two Sides of the Same Coin If you were now to run across some photos of Albert Einstein, you might well think, “An excellent example of the category Twain/Grieg!” As a result, your mental entity Twain/Grieg would slightly change, taking into account this third member. The outcome would be a more general category, and as such it would deserve a new label, just as when a small company grows large, it no longer belongs solely to the two people who founded it many years earlier. As a matter of fact, your category initially based on the facial resemblances of Mark Twain and Edvard Grieg (and then Albert Einstein), as it came to include more similar-looking people, could, in view of its growing generality, change its name, perhaps adopting the acronymic label “TGE”, or it could even lose its label completely.

Low-level and High-level Einsteinian Analogies Before we step aboard the train of grand Einsteinian analogies, we wish to make it clear that it was not solely in the highest and most exalted flights of his scientific imagination that Albert Einstein resorted to making analogies. Just like every human being, Einstein perceived the world around him by making analogies on many levels, all the way down to the tiniest mental connections. A rather obvious example of an Einsteinian analogy comes from a reminiscence he wrote, late in life, about why he choose, as a teen-ager, not to become a mathematician: “I saw that mathematics was split up into numerous specialties, each of which could absorb the short lifetime granted to us. Consequently I saw myself in the position of Buridan’s ass, which was unable to decide upon any specific bundle of hay.” The image is amusing, especially when one notes that Albert Einstein is comparing himself to a ravenous but confused donkey that is utterly immobilized because it is surrounded by a number of tempting things to eat, and which, in the end, perishes because it can’t bring itself to make a choice.

pages: 287 words: 87,204

Erwin Schrodinger and the Quantum Revolution by John Gribbin


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Arthur Eddington, British Empire, Brownian motion, double helix, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Solar eclipse in 1919, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, trade route, upwardly mobile

But there was much more to Schrödinger than the reluctant revolutionary of quantum physics. One of the most intriguing aspects of Schrödinger the physicist, and one that lies at the heart of his antipathy to the revolution he participated in, is that although he made a major contribution to the new science of the twentieth century, he was brought up in the scientific tradition of the nineteenth. He graduated from high school and started at university in 1906, the year after Albert Einstein published his classic papers on the special theory of relativity and quantum physics. But Einstein, of course, was an exception; his ideas on quantum physics, in particular, were not taken seriously for at least another ten years, and the real quantum revolution took place at the hands of Young Turks such as Werner Heisenberg (born in 1901) and Paul Dirac (born in 1902), who, along with the likes of Niels Bohr, Louis de Broglie, and Einstein, all come into the story of Schrödinger’s life and work.

After these experiences, one of his main concerns was to secure his own and his wife’s financial future; he worried about pensions until his death. His first attempt to get away from Nazi-influenced Europe came to nothing when he turned up in Oxford with both his wife and his mistress, offending the academic establishment there by making no attempt to conceal their living arrangements, with which his wife, who had her own lovers, was quite happy. The possibility of a post in Princeton alongside Albert Einstein fell through for the same reason. Schrödinger eventually landed up in more tolerant Dublin, where at the behest of Éamon de Valera, the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies was set up to provide him with a base. Schrödinger was also unconventional in other respects. As a university lecturer in the last days of Prussian formality, he neglected to wear a tie, and dressed so casually that he was often mistaken for a student and sometimes for a tramp.

The five-storey building was divided into five separate apartments, and in 1890 “our” Schrödinger and his parents moved in to the spacious fifth-floor accommodation, with views overlooking St. Stephan’s Cathedral. Most of what we know about Erwin’s early life comes from the recollections of his aunt Minnie, which should be taken with the same pinch of proverbial salt as similar recollections made (much later in life) by relatives of Albert Einstein about his precocious childhood. But in both cases the reminiscences surely contain seeds of truth. From an early age, Erwin was interested in astronomy: he would persuade Minnie to stand representing the Earth while he ran round her to be the Moon, and then make her walk in a circle around a light representing the Sun while he continued to run round her. He also kept a kind of daily diary even before he could write, dictating his insights to Minnie.

pages: 492 words: 149,259

Big Bang by Simon Singh


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Andrew Wiles, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Astronomia nova, Brownian motion, carbon-based life, Cepheid variable, Chance favours the prepared mind, Commentariolus, Copley Medal, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, Dava Sobel, Defenestration of Prague, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, Edmond Halley, Edward Charles Pickering, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, Erwin Freundlich, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, Hans Lippershey, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Henri Poincaré, horn antenna, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Karl Jansky, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, Murray Gell-Mann, music of the spheres, Olbers’ paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Paul Erdős, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, scientific mainstream, Simon Singh, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbiased observer, V2 rocket, Wilhelm Olbers, William of Occam

JAMES JEANS The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce, and gives it some of the grace of tragedy. STEVEN WEINBERG In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it’s the exact opposite. PAUL DIRAC The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. ALBERT EINSTEIN Table of Contents Cover Title Page Dedication Epigraph Chapter 1 IN THE BEGINNING Chapter 2 THEORIES OF THE UNIVERSE Chapter 3 THE GREAT DEBATE Chapter 4 MAVERICKS OF THE COSMOS Chapter 5 THE PARADIGM SHIFT Epilogue What is Science? Glossary Further Reading Index P.S. About the author About the book Read on Acknowledgements About the Author From the reviews of Big Bang: By the same author Copyright About the Publisher Chapter 1 IN THE BEGINNING Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths.

Egocentric attitudes may have been a contributory factor behind the dominance of the geocentric world-view, but there were other reasons for preferring an Earth-centred universe to Aristarchus’ Sun-centred universe. One basic problem with the Sun-centred world-view was that it appeared to be simply ridiculous. It just seemed so utterly obvious that the Sun revolved round a static Earth, and not the other way round. In short, a Sun-centred universe ran counter to. Good scientists, however, should not be swayed by common sense, because it sometimes has little to do with the underlying scientific truth. Albert Einstein condemned common sense, declaring it to be ‘the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen’. Another reason why the Greeks rejected Aristarchus’ Solar System was its apparent failure to stand up to scientific scrutiny. Aristarchus had built a model of the universe that was supposed to match reality, but it was not clear that his model was accurate. Did the Earth really orbit the Sun?

Wider expanses and greater depths are now exposed to the searching eye of knowledge, regions of which we had not even a presentiment. It has brought us much nearer to grasping that plan that underlies all physical happening. HERMANN WEYL But the years of anxious searching in the dark for a truth that one feels but cannot express, the intense desire and the alternations of confidence and misgiving, and the final emergence into light – only those who have experienced it can appreciate it. ALBERT EINSTEIN It is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, and certainly not desirable, as one’s hat keeps blowing off. WOODY ALLEN During the course of the early twentieth century, cosmologists would develop and test a whole variety of models of the universe. These candidate models emerged as physicists gained a clearer understanding of the universe and the scientific laws that underpin it.

pages: 684 words: 188,584

The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era by Craig Nelson


Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Doomsday Clock, El Camino Real, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, music of the spheres, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, Project Plowshare, Ralph Nader, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, William Langewiesche, éminence grise

At the dawn of the Atomic Age, physicists were elevated in the public mind to the role of secular priests, their study of subatomic particles appearing to lead them, simultaneously, to spiritual and moral truths. Notably, Albert Einstein and Marie Curie became heroes to millions around the world, role models for a new era. Along with many civilians, E. O. Lawrence, Enrico Fermi, and both generations of Curies believed that their scientific discoveries would inexorably lead to benefits for all humankind. Instead, that sweet hope, along with their current reputations, has been battered by a history of thermonuclear-winter terrors and run-amok power plants. Following the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the great pacifist Albert Einstein, who had nothing to do with fission beyond his letters to Roosevelt, was depicted on the cover of Time magazine against a mushroom cloud and his most beloved equation, E = mc2, while Mme.

“I built it from its very”: Letter to Gerta von Ubisch, July 1, 1947, Meitner Collection. “After these three laws were read”: Rittenmeyer and Skundrick. “The Jewess endangers the institute”; “nothing more could be done”; “The great misfortune has happened”: Sime. “It is considered undesirable”: Rife. “is like a sensitive child”: Letter to Ehrenfest, May 4, 1920, in Albrecht Fölsing, Albert Einstein: A Biography (London: Viking, 1997). “appeared to me like a miracle”: Paul A. Schilpp, ed., Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist (New York: MJF Books, 1969). “Bohr loved paradoxes”: Teller. “I wanted her to be provided for”; “The danger consisted in the SS’s”: Hahn. “You have made yourself as famous”: Rife. “No, but I was told”: Segrè, From X-Rays to Quarks. “Perhaps you cannot fully appreciate”: Meitner to Hahn, September 25, October 15, and December 5, 1938, in Krafft.

Under the Thrall of a Two-Faced God Photographs Heartfelt Thanks About Craig Nelson Notes Sources Photo Credits Index For Stuart—You are the best in the world at what you do. The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as of all serious endeavor in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. —ALBERT EINSTEIN Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we fear less. —MARIE CURIE 1 Radiation: What’s in It for Me? YESTERDAY you dashed your breakfast eggs with dried spices that had been irradiated against bacteria, germination, and spoilage. The secret ingredient in the microwave oven reheating that morning’s to-go coffee was radioactive thorium, first isolated from hearty Scandinavian minerals and named for their tempestuous lord.

pages: 95 words: 24,843

From Dictatorship to Democracy by Gene Sharp


Albert Einstein, conceptual framework

A copy of the English-language edition was seen on display in the window of a bookstore in Bangkok by a student from Indonesia, was purchased, and taken back home. There, it was translated into Indonesian, and published in 1997 by a major Indonesian publisher with an introduction by Abdurrahman Wahid. He was then head of Nadhlatul Ulama, the largest Muslim organization in the world, with thirty-five million members, and later President of Indonesia. During this time, at my office at the Albert Einstein Institution we only had a handful of photocopies from the Bangkok English language booklet. For a few years we had to make copies of it when we had enquiries for which it was relevant. Later, Marek Zelaskiewz, from California, took one of those copies to Belgrade during Milošević’s time and gave it to the organization Civic Initiatives. They translated it into Serbian and published it. When we visited Serbia after the collapse of the Milošević regime we were told that the booklet had been quite influential in the opposition movement.

Several others are in preparation. Between 1993 and 2002 there were six translations. Between 2003 and 2008 there have been twenty-two. The great diversity of the societies and languages into which translations have spread support the provisional conclusion that the persons who initially encounter this document have seen its analysis to be relevant to their society. Gene Sharp January 2008 Albert Einstein Institution Boston, Massachusetts Preface ONE OF MY MAJOR CONCERNS for many years has been how people could prevent and destroy dictatorships. This has been nurtured in part because of a belief that human beings should not be dominated and destroyed by such regimes. That belief has been strengthened by readings on the importance of human freedom, on the nature of dictatorships (from Aristotle to analysts of totalitarianism), and histories of dictatorships (especially the Nazi and Stalinist systems).

The fall of one regime does not bring in a utopia. Rather, it opens the way for hard work and long efforts to build more just social, economic, and political relationships and the eradication of other forms of injustices and oppression. It is my hope that this brief examination of how a dictatorship can be disintegrated may be found useful wherever people live under domination and desire to be free. Gene Sharp 6 October 1993 Albert Einstein Institution Boston, Massachusetts 1 Facing Dictatorships Realistically IN RECENT YEARS VARIOUS DICTATORSHIPS – of both internal and external origin – have collapsed or stumbled when confronted by defiant, mobilized people. Often seen as firmly entrenched and impregnable, some of these dictatorships proved unable to withstand the concerted political, economic, and social defiance of the people.

pages: 291 words: 92,406

Thinking in Pictures: And Other Reports From My Life With Autism by Temple Grandin


Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, factory automation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), source of truth, theory of mind

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 11: 365–371. J. Gleick 1993 Genius: Richard Feynman and modern physics. New York., Little, Brown A. Grant 1885 Charles Darwin. New York., Appleton Grant V. W. 1968 Great abnormals. New York., Hawthorn B. Hermelin 2001 Bright Splinters of the Mind. London., Jessica Kingsley R. Highfield, P. Garter 1993 The private lives of Albert Einstein. New York., St. Martin' Jamison K. R. 1993 The private lives of Albert Einstein. New York., St. Martin' G. Kevin 1967 Inspired amateurs. Freeport, New York., Books for Libraries Press J. Kincheloe L. S. Steinberg R. D. Tippins J. 1992 The stigma of genius. Durango, Colorado., Hollowbrook Landa R., Piven J., Wzorek M. M. Gayle J. O. Chase G. A. Folstein S. E. 1992 Social language use in parents of autistic individuals. Psychological Medicine, 22: 245–254.

., Harvey T. 1999 The exceptional brain of Albert Einstein. Lancet, 353: 2149–2153. Wheelwright S., Baron-Cohen S. 2001 The link between autism and skills such as engineering, math, physics, and computing: A reply to Jarrold and Routh. Autism, 5: 223–227. Chapter 11 Stairway to Heaven: Religion and Belief REFERENCES Appenzeller T. 1994 Recreating the universe' fateful flaws. Science, 263: 921. D. Brinkley 1994 Saved by the light. New York., Villard Budiasky S. 1989 The ancient contract. U.S. News & World Report, pp. 75–79. March 20, Dixon R. 1981 The mathematical daisy. New Scientist, pp. 791–795. December 17, B. J. Eadie 1992 Embraced by the light. Placerville, California., Old Leaf Press Einstein A. 1940 Science and religion. Nature, 146: 605. A. Einstein 1949 Albert Einstein, philosopher-scientist.

Teachers need to speak slowly to accommodate a nervous system that processes information slowly. And sudden movements that will cause sensory confusion should also be avoided. Children who are echolalic—who repeat what they hear— may be at a midpoint on the sensory processing continuum. Enough recognizable speech gets through for them to be able to repeat the words. Dr. Doris Allen, at the Albert Einstein Hospital in New York, emphasizes that echolalia should not be discouraged, so as not to inhibit speech. The child repeats what has been said to verify that he heard it correctly. Research by Laura Berk, at Illinois State University, has shown that normal children talk to themselves to help them control their behavior and learn new skills. Since autism is caused by immature brain development, it is likely that echolalia and self-talking, which occur in older autistic children, are the result of immature speech patterns.

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The Scientist as Rebel by Freeman Dyson

Albert Einstein, Asilomar, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, dark matter, double helix, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, Norbert Wiener, Paul Erdős, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman

Broecker, “Thermohaline Circulation, the Achilles Heel of Our Climate System: Will Man-Made CO2 Upset the Current Balance?,” Science, Vol. 278 (1997), pp. 1582–1588, cited by Smil. 6 WITNESS TO A TRAGEDY THOMAS LEVENSON IS a filmmaker who produces documentary films for public television. He has a sharp eye for the dramatic events and personal details that bring history to life. His book Einstein in Berlin1 is a social history of Germany covering the twenty years from 1914 to 1933, the years when Albert Einstein lived in Berlin. The picture of the city’s troubles comes into a clearer focus when it is viewed through Einstein’s eyes. Einstein was a good witness, observing the life of the city in which he played an active role but remained always emotionally detached. He wrote frequent letters to his old friends in Switzerland and his new friends in Germany, recording events as they happened and describing his hopes and fears.

After 1918 he extended his revolutionary rhetoric from mathematics to physics, solemnly proclaiming the breakdown of the established order in both disciplines. In 1922 Schrödinger joined him in calling for radical reconstruction of the laws of physics. Weyl and Schrödinger agreed with Spengler that the coming revolution would sweep away the principle of physical causality. The erstwhile revolutionaries David Hilbert and Albert Einstein found themselves in the unaccustomed role of defenders of the status quo, Hilbert defending the primacy of formal logic in the foundations of mathematics, Einstein defending the primacy of causality in physics. In the short run, Hilbert and Einstein were defeated and the Spenglerian ideology of revolution triumphed, both in physics and in mathematics. Heisenberg discovered the true limits of causality in atomic processes, and Gödel discovered the limits of formal deduction and proof in mathematics.

But in the nineteenth century, after two hundred years of amateur leadership, science became increasingly professional. Among the leading scientists of the nineteenth century, professionals such as Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell were the rule and amateurs Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel were the exceptions. In the twentieth century the ascendancy of the professionals became even more complete. No twentieth-century amateur could stand like Darwin in the front rank with Edwin Hubble and Albert Einstein. If Ferris is right, astronomy is now moving into a new era of youthful exuberance in which amateurs will again have an important share of the action. It appears that each science goes through three phases of development. The first phase is Baconian, with scientists exploring the world to find out what is there. In this phase, amateurs and butterfly collectors are in the ascendant. The second phase is Cartesian, with scientists making precise measurements and building quantitative theories.

pages: 661 words: 169,298

Coming of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Cepheid variable, Chance favours the prepared mind, Commentariolus, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, delayed gratification, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, Gary Taubes, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Henri Poincaré, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Karl Jansky, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, music of the spheres, planetary scale, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Solar eclipse in 1919, source of truth, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Wilhelm Olbers

The Domain of Natural Science. New York: Dover, 1968. Hodge, Paul W. Galaxies. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1986. Hodson, F.R., ed. The Place of Astronomy in the Ancient World. London: Oxford University Press, 1974. Hoffmann, Banesh. Albert Einstein, Creator and Rebel. New York: Viking, 1972. Nontechnical study of Einstein’s life and work, by his former collaborator. —————. Relativity and Its Roots. San Francisco: Freeman, 1983. Einstein and the aether. Holton, Gerald, and Yehuda Elkana, eds. Albert Einstein, Historical and Cultural Perspectives. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1982. —————. The Scientific Imagination. London: Cambridge University Press, 1979. —————. Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought, Kepler to Einstein. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974.

MIND AND MATTER 20. THE PERSISTENCE OF MYSTERY ADDENDUM TO THE PERENNIAL EDITION GLOSSARY A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE NOTES BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX About the Author Books by Timothy Ferris Copyright About the Publisher One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike—and yet it is the most precious thing we have. —Albert Einstein The wind was flapping a temple flag, and two monks were having an argument about it. One said the flag was moving, the other that the wind was moving; and they could come to no agreement on the matter. They argued back and forth. Eno the Patriarch said, “It is not that the wind is moving; it is not that the flag is moving; it is that your honorable minds are moving.” —Platform Sutra PART ONE SPACE The self shines in space through knowing.

More important were his “thought experiments,” the careful thinking through of procedures that he could not actually carry out. To be sure, Galileo recognized, as he put it, that “reason must step in” only “where the senses fail us.” But since he lived in a time when the senses were aided by none but the most rudimentary experimental apparatus—he had, for instance, no timepiece more accurate than his pulse—Galileo found that reason had to step in rather often. In the words of Albert Einstein, the greatest all-time master of the thought experiment, “The experimental methods of Galileo’s disposal were so imperfect that only the boldest speculation could possibly bridge the gaps between empirical data.”12 Consequently it was more by thinking than by experimentation that Galileo arrived at new insights into the law of falling bodies. His reasoning went something like this: Suppose that a cannonball takes a given time—say, two pulse beats—to fall from the top of a tower to the ground.

pages: 310 words: 89,838

Massive: The Missing Particle That Sparked the Greatest Hunt in Science by Ian Sample


Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Donald Trump, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Gary Taubes, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, uranium enrichment, Yogi Berra

Whichever way you look at it, this story is massive. 1 Long Road to Princeton The drive up to Princeton could take the better part of a day, and that was if you were lucky. The route followed the coastline up the eastern seaboard, looped around the broad expanse of the Chesapeake Bay, and went on to Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia before finally arriving in the town that was once home to the greatest physicist of all, Albert Einstein. Peter Higgs packed some clothes and a folder full of research notes and went out to the car with his wife, Jody, and their six-month-old son, Christopher. He swung the suitcase in the back and had a long look at the road map. Satisfied with the directions, he pulled away, working north and east through the tree-lined streets and out toward the highway as the town eased itself to life beneath the spring morning sun.

The same thing happens with the neutron, which contains one up quark and two down quarks. If Newton had had the last word on mass—that it was simply a measure of matter—then adding up the masses of the individual quarks should give the right answers. But Newton knew only part of the story. The missing mass came from somewhere else. There is more to mass than meets the eye. How much more became clearer in 1905, when a twenty-six-year-old Albert Einstein, while holding down a day job at a patent office in Bern, Switzerland, published a paper entitled “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend on Its Energy Content?” To cut to the chase, the answer is yes. Einstein showed that mass and energy are interchangeable, that mass can be considered a measure of how much energy an object contains. For the scientific establishment, the idea was a bolt from the blue, but it is an unavoidable consequence of Einstein’s special theory of relativity. 16 The equation Einstein derived was m = E/c2, where an object’s mass equals its energy divided by the speed of light squared.

Dyson’s enthusiasm for Higgs’s work didn’t mean he was in for an easy time at the Institute for Advanced Study. The institute was home to some of the brightest physicists in the world, and some of them were certain to disagree with Higgs’s theory. Renowned scientists had flocked to the institute since Louis Bamberger, an American philanthropist, had established it in the 1930s. Its most famous resident, Albert Einstein, who had died in 1955, had spent the last twenty-five years of his life there, trying to explain how the forces of nature were born. The Austrian-American logician Kurt Gödel was still there, redefining the limits of human knowledge. He and Einstein had been friends, though he had vexed Einstein by pointing out that his famous theories allowed time travel to be possible.21 The father of modern computing, John von Neumann, was also at the institute, turning the mathematics of poker into a political strategy to win the Cold War.22 Robert Oppenheimer, the towering figure who had led the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb, had become head of the institute in 1946, only adding to the intimidating aura of the place.

Geek Wisdom by Stephen H. Segal


Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, battle of ideas, biofilm, fear of failure, Henri Poincaré, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Mark Zuckerberg, mutually assured destruction, nuclear paranoia, Saturday Night Live, Vernor Vinge

This is why science fiction and role-playing games make up the enduring popular image of modern-day geekdom, mind you, because those are the places where math and myth intersect: literature built on the infinite possibilities of science, improv sword and sorcery shaped by the numerical output of 20-sided dice. Hence Geek Wisdom: the first compendium of sacred teachings from the wide-ranging “holy scriptures” of geekdom, that weird mass of pop culture and high art ranging from blockbuster movies to esoteric novels to cult-classic T-shirt slogans. Star Wars. The Princess Bride. Albert Einstein. Stan Lee. From such sources we’ve gathered (and mused thoughtfully upon) the deepest, purest, most profound ideas and sayings to be found. The ones that cut right to the heart of life in the twenty-first century. The ones we quote as if they’d come from the Bible, or from Shakespeare. The ones that, increasingly, have emerged from the underground to form the cellular structure of a true new culture canon.

George Washington realized it, too, and that’s why he decided eight years was long enough for anyone to be president of the United States. Tim Allen tried to dodge around it, and that’s why his dishwasher exploded. King David said to hell with it and had his lover’s husband killed, and that’s why he had epic family problems for the rest of his life. Paris Hilton seems oblivious to the very concept, and that’s why animal lovers have long been inclined to worry about her poor, poor dog. And Albert Einstein realized the full, inhuman horror of it—that’s why he wrote to Franklin Roosevelt to explain the possibility of an atomic bomb. Sure, the seed of the truism can be found in Luke 12:48 (“To whom much is given, much is expected”). But although the word of that uppity young Jewish carpenter from Nazareth may be eternal, it took an uppity young Jewish comic-book writer from New York City to put it in terms that ring true to the modern ear.

“YOU’RE TRAVELING THROUGH ANOTHER DIMENSION, A DIMENSION NOT ONLY OF SIGHT AND SOUND, BUT OF MIND.” —ROD SERLING, THE TWILIGHT ZONE “I WAS BOLD IN THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE, NEVER FEARING TO FOLLOW TRUTH AND REASON TO WHATEVER RESULTS THEY LED, AND BEARDING EVERY AUTHORITY WHICH STOOD IN THEIR WAY.” —THOMAS JEFFERSON THE WORLD is most often changed by ideas rather than by guns, bombs, and fists. Albert Einstein. Karl Marx. Thomas Jefferson. Carl Sagan. Men like these have sparked revolutions and given us new ways to see and understand our world. This is no surprise; geeks throughout history have long known the power of the mind. It wasn’t until the twentieth century, however, that we developed a robust subculture that embraced the kind of flights of fancy that have come to define us. Jefferson correctly saw a need to fuel the mind, a cultural desire for speculation that gave people insight into the human condition.

pages: 412 words: 122,952

Day We Found the Universe by Marcia Bartusiak


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, California gold rush, Cepheid variable, Copley Medal, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, Edmond Halley, Edward Charles Pickering, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, horn antenna, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, Occam's razor, Pluto: dwarf planet, Solar eclipse in 1919, William of Occam

No longer was our cosmic birth a matter of metaphysical speculation or a biased whim; it had become a scientific principle that could be tested and probed. This new cosmic outlook came about through a unique convergence—the perfect storm—of sweeping developments. Not only did a burgeoning economy provide the money—and new technologies the instruments—to make these discoveries, but newly introduced ideas in theoretical physics supplied some answers. No less a scientific figure than Albert Einstein had arrived on the scene with a novel theory of gravity that provided a unique explanation for the universe's bewildering behavior. A dynamism entered into the universe's workings. Einstein's equations introduced the idea that space and time are woven into a distinct object, whose shape and movement are determined by the matter within it. His general theory of relativity anticipated the universe's expansion and turned its study into an intellectual and theoretical adventure.

Using Newton's laws of gravity and motion, scientists arrived at one answer, but upon applying James Clerk Maxwell's laws of electromagnetism, they obtained a differing result. It took a rebel—a cocky kid who spurned rote learning throughout his schooling, always questioned conventional wisdom, and had an unshakable faith in his own abilities—to blaze a trail through this baffling territory, one that involved an entirely new take on space, time, gravity, and the behavior of the universe at large. Before anyone else, Albert Einstein discerned that a drastic change was needed, “the discovery of a universal formal principle,” as he put it. This was not the iconic Einstein—the sockless, rumpled character with baggy sweater and fright-wig coiffure—but a younger, more romantic figure with alluring brown eyes and wavy dark hair. While in his twenties and thirties, he was at the height of his prowess. Among his gifts was a powerful physical instinct, almost a sixth sense for knowing how nature should work.

Before the publication of his bizarre yet fascinating solution, de Sitter exchanged a number of letters with Einstein arguing over its details. Einstein was clearly flummoxed by de Sitter's quirky take on the universe. It “does not make sense to me,” he wrote. Where was the “world material” in his cosmos, where were the stars? It didn't seem based in reality. In Einstein's eyes, de Sitter's solution was physically impossible. The properties of space could not be determined, he believed, without the presence of matter. Albert Einstein and Willem de Sitter working out a problem at the Mount Wilson Observatory's Pasadena headquarters in 1932 (Associated Press) De Sitter was certainly making a huge assumption by considering a cosmic density so low that the universe could be regarded as devoid of matter. But what was exciting about his model was that it was testable. If distances to the spiral nebulae could be measured precisely, then astronomers would be able to see if the redshifts truly increased “systematically,” as de Sitter noted in his paper.

pages: 293 words: 74,709

Bomb Scare by Joseph Cirincione


Albert Einstein, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, energy security, Ernest Rutherford, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, uranium enrichment, Yogi Berra

They are in great part responsible for the optimism the reader will find in the final chapters. Joseph Cirincione Washington, D.C. March 2008 THE ATOM Figure from the Department of Energy FISSION Figure from Ohio State University, Department of Physics CENTRIFUGE Figure from Cirincione, Wolfsthal, and Rajkumar, Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Threats (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005) CHAPTER ONE BUILDING THE BOMB Albert Einstein signed the letter. Years later he would regret it, calling it the one mistake he had made in his life. But in August 1939, Adolf Hitler’s armies already occupied Czechoslovakia and Austria and his fascist thugs were arresting Jews and political opponents throughout the Third Reich. Signing the letter seemed vital. His friends and fellow physicists, Leo Szilard and Eugene Wigner, had drafted the note he would now send to President Franklin D.

They believed it to be a weapon of genocide: “The use of this weapon would bring about the destruction of innumerable human lives; it is not a weapon which can be used exclusively for the destruction of material installations of military or semi-military purposes. Its use therefore carries much further than the atomic bomb itself the policy of extermination of civilian populations.”3 Even if the Soviets developed the H-bomb, they argued, the United States could deter its use with atomic weapons. The scientists’ views did not prevail. Albert Einstein wrote in March 1950, “The idea of achieving security through national armaments is, at the present state of military technique, a disastrous illusion. . . . The armament race between the USA and the USSR, originally supposed to be a preventive measure, assumes hysterical character.”4 The Super project inaugurated the design and testing of the advanced weapon that now composes the large majority of modern arsenals.

In the middle of the last century, when the United Kingdom, France, and China were developing nuclear arsenals, there was a pervasive view among political elites in many nations that nuclear weapons were acceptable, desirable, even necessary. The increasing size of nuclear arsenals and alarm over the spread of deadly radioactive fallout from nuclear tests, however, stoked fears of nuclear dangers. Distinguished philosopher Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein (in one of his last acts before his death) issued the Russell-Einstein Manifesto in July 1955. “We have to learn to think in a new way,” they wrote. “We have to learn to ask ourselves, not what steps can be taken to give military victory to whatever group we prefer, for there no longer are such steps; the question we have to ask ourselves is: what steps can be taken to prevent a military contest of which the issue must be disastrous to all parties?”

pages: 257 words: 80,100

Time Travel: A History by James Gleick


Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, augmented reality, butterfly effect, crowdsourcing, Doomsday Book, index card, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Marshall McLuhan, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, wikimedia commons

.*1 A proud member of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, he rides up and down the Thames valley on a forty-pounder with tubular frame and pneumatic tires, savoring the thrill of riding his machine: “A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go.” At some point he sees a printed advertisement for a contraption called Hacker’s Home Bicycle: a stationary stand with rubber wheels to let a person pedal for exercise without going anywhere. Anywhere through space, that is. The wheels go round and time goes by. The turn of the twentieth century loomed—a calendar date with apocalyptic resonance. Albert Einstein was a boy at gymnasium in Munich. Not till 1908 would the Polish-German mathematician Hermann Minkowski announce his radical idea: “Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.” H. G. Wells was there first, but unlike Minkowski, Wells was not trying to explain the universe.

If he has passed through a hundred thousand generations, why isn’t he a hundred thousand generations old?” Here is an obvious contradiction: “the first contradiction in the whole proceeding.” • Time goes at a certain rate, and this rate must be the same for everyone, everywhere. “Two objects or systems” cannot have “different rates of displacement or change in time”—obviously. Pitkin scarcely knew what devilishness Albert Einstein was conjuring in Berlin. • Traveling through time must obey rules of arithmetic, just like traveling through space. Do the math: “To traverse a million years in a few days is exactly like traveling a thousand miles in one inch.” A thousand miles does not equal one inch; ergo, a million years cannot equal a few days. “Now is not this a pure self-contradiction, on a par with the proposition that you or I can go from New York to Pekin without moving farther than our own front door?”

Radio had begun as a glorious dream—the finest fruits of the culture, the wisest thoughts and best music, transmitted into homes across the land. “Chaliapin and Melba would sing to us, President Coolidge and Mr. Baldwin would talk to us simply, earnestly, directly; the most august in the world would wish us good evening and pass a friendly word; should a fire or shipwreck happen, we were to get the roar of the flames and the cries for help.” A. A. Milne would tell stories to children and Albert Einstein would bring science to the masses. “All sporting results before we went to bed would be included, the weather forecast, advice about our gardens, the treatment of influenza, and the exact time.” Yet for Wells the dream had turned sour. Asked by the New York Times to assess the state of radio for its readers, he ranted bitterly, disillusioned as a child finding lumps of coal in the Christmas stocking.

pages: 695 words: 219,110

The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene


airport security, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, clockwork universe, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, dark matter, dematerialisation, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, urban renewal

It is not hard to show that these equations imply a speed for electromagnetic waves given by 1/√ε0μ , which when evaluated is in fact the speed of light. 2. There is some controversy as to the role such experiments played in Einstein’s development of special relativity. In his biography of Einstein, Subtle Is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982), pp. 115–19, Abraham Pais has argued, using Einstein’s own statements from his later years, that Einstein was aware of the Michelson-Morley results. Albrecht Fölsing in Albert Einstein: A Biography (New York: Viking, 1997), pp. 217–20, also argues that Einstein was aware of the Michelson-Morley result, as well as earlier experimental null results in searching for evidence of the aether, such as the work of Armand Fizeau. But Fölsing and many other historians of science have also argued that such experiments played, at best, a secondary role in Einstein’s thinking.

Such developments have also shown that space and time top the list of age-old scientific constructs that are being fantastically revised by cutting-edge research. To Isaac Newton, space and time simply were—they formed an inert, universal cosmic stage on which the events of the universe played themselves out. To his contemporary and frequent rival Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, “space” and “time” were merely the vocabulary of relations between where objects were and when events took place. Nothing more. But to Albert Einstein, space and time were the raw material underlying reality. Through his theories of relativity, Einstein jolted our thinking about space and time and revealed the principal part they play in the evolution of the universe. Ever since, space and time have been the sparkling jewels of physics. They are at once familiar and mystifying; fully understanding space and time has become physics’ most daunting challenge and sought-after prize.

As anticipated, the two problems Kelvin had raised were promptly addressed, but they proved anything but minor. Each ignited a revolution, and each required a fundamental rewriting of nature’s laws. The classical conceptions of space, time, and reality—the ones that for hundreds of years had not only worked but also concisely expressed our intuitive sense of the world— were overthrown. The relativity revolution, which addressed the first of Kelvin’s “clouds,” dates from 1905 and 1915, when Albert Einstein completed his special and general theories of relativity (Chapter 3). While struggling with puzzles involving electricity, magnetism, and light’s motion, Einstein realized that Newton’s conception of space and time, the corner-stone of classical physics, was flawed. Over the course of a few intense weeks in the spring of 1905, he determined that space and time are not independent and absolute, as Newton had thought, but are enmeshed and relative in a manner that flies in the face of common experience.

pages: 312 words: 89,728

The End of My Addiction by Olivier Ameisen


Albert Einstein, epigenetics, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), statistical model

In memory of my parents It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom. —ALBERT EINSTEIN Miracles only happen in the soul of one who looks for them. —STEFAN ZWEIG Contents Foreword by Jeffrey S. Borer, M.D. Note to the Reader 1. Moment of Truth 2. A Remedy Gone Wrong 3. Under Treatment and “In Recovery” 4. Doing Great and Feeling Awful 5. Falling Down 6. Against Medical Advice, or, The Life of Afterward 7. Cutting Through Craving 8. The End of Addiction? 9. How Baclofen Works: What We Know, and Need to Know Appendix Baclofen and Complete Suppression of Alcoholism Case Report 1: Ameisen, O. “Complete and prolonged suppression of symptoms and consequences of alcohol-dependence using high-dose baclofen: a self-case report of a physician.” Case Report 2: Bucknam, W.

People with addiction don’t like themselves, they think they are worthless losers, and they avoid looking in the mirror as much as possible. A counselor at Marworth spoke about this issue and told us, “Look at yourself in the mirror. Look, and like yourself. Do as they say in AA, ‘Fake it till you make it.’ You hate what you see in the mirror, but fake that you like it. Smile at yourself and say, ‘I’m an attractive person.’” The counselor looked like Albert Einstein on a bad hair day with no sleep. When he said, “I look at myself in the mirror and I love what I see,” we all laughed. But I took his advice, and even though I thought I was ugly, I wound up liking what I saw in the mirror. Marworth’s life lessons also included writing daily gratitude and next-day planning lists. The gratitude list was everything good that happened during the day. The idea was to appreciate simple things that people normally take for granted, like being alive and breathing, eating good food and having a roof over your head, seeing something beautiful in nature, having a pleasant conversation with someone, and so on.

Revealing my identity would also make the point that those who suffer from addiction deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as sufferers from other diseases. One thing missing from the baclofen-related research I had found so far was support for baclofen’s safety at high doses. But then one day, searching for articles on “oral high-dose baclofen,” I hit something promising. In 1991 C. R. Smith et al., of the Medical Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, had published a paper in Neurology entitled “High-dose oral baclofen: experience in patients with multiple sclerosis.” The abstract referred to MS patients taking more than 80 milligrams of baclofen a day and said that “taking a high dose was not associated with discontinuing treatment.”1 I checked around Paris for the article, but could not find a library that carried Neurology.

pages: 439 words: 104,154

The Clockwork Universe: Saac Newto, Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern WorldI by Edward Dolnick


Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Arthur Eddington, clockwork universe, complexity theory, double helix, Edmond Halley, Isaac Newton, lone genius, music of the spheres, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, Simon Singh, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Microscopes and telescopes were the glamorous innovations that drew all eyes—Gulliver’s Travels testifies to Swift’s fascination with their power to reveal new worlds—but new instruments were only part of the story of the age. The insights that would soon transform the world required no tools more sophisticated than a fountain pen. For it was the mathematicians who invented the engine that powered the scientific revolution. Centuries later, the story would find an echo. In 1931, with great hoopla, Albert Einstein and his wife, Elsa, were toured around the observatory at California’s Mount Wilson, home to the world’s biggest telescope. Someone told Elsa that astronomers had used this magnificent telescope to determine the shape of the universe. “Well,” she said, “my husband does that on the back of an old envelope.” Those outsiders who did take science seriously tended to dislike what they saw. The scientists themselves viewed their work as a way of paying homage to God, but their critics were not so sure.

Thus began one of the most intense investigations in the history of thought. Since his early years at Cambridge, Newton had largely abandoned mathematics. Now his mathematical fever surged up again. For seventeen months Newton focused all his powers on the question of gravity. He worked almost without let-up, with the same ferocious concentration that had marked his miracle years two decades before. Albert Einstein kept a picture of Newton above his bed, like a teenage boy with a poster of LeBron James. Though he knew better, Einstein talked of how easily Newton made his discoveries. “Nature to him was an open book, whose letters he could read without effort.” But the real mark of Newton’s style was not ease but power. Newton focused his gaze on whatever problem had newly obsessed him, and then he refused to look away until he had seen to its heart.

He would stick to what he could know, even though Leibniz talked “as if it were a Crime to content himself with Certainties and let Uncertainties alone.” Newton opted for caution. “Ye cause of gravity is what I do not pretend to know,” he wrote in 1693, “& therefore would take more time to consider of it.” Twenty years later, he had made no progress. “I have not been able to discover the cause of those properties of gravity,” Newton wrote in 1713, “and I frame no hypotheses.” Another two centuries would pass before Albert Einstein framed a new hypothesis. In the meantime, Newton declared his peace with his own considerable achievement. “And to us it is enough that gravity does really exist, and act according to the laws which we have explained,” he wrote, in a kind of grand farewell to his theory, “and abundantly serves to account for all the motions of the celestial bodies, and of our sea.” Chapter Fifty-Two In Search of God A different feature of Newton’s theory of gravitation raised the most troubling question of all: where did God fit into Newton’s universe?

pages: 335 words: 95,280

The Greatest Story Ever Told—So Far by Lawrence M. Krauss

Albert Einstein, complexity theory, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, dark matter, Ernest Rutherford, Isaac Newton, Magellanic Cloud, Murray Gell-Mann, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, the scientific method

Maxwell showed that the speed of an electromagnetic disturbance that emanates from an oscillating charge can be rendered precisely in terms of the measured strength of electricity and the measured strength of magnetism, which are determined by measuring the constants A and B in the laboratory. When he used the data then available for the measured strength of electricity and the measured strength of magnetism and plugged in the numbers, he derived: Speed of electromagnetic waves ≈ 311,000,000 meters per second A famous story claims that when Albert Einstein finished his General Theory of Relativity and compared its predictions for the orbit of Mercury to the measured numbers, he had heart palpitations. One can only imagine, then, the excitement that Maxwell must have had when he performed his calculation. For this number, which may seem arbitrary, was well known to him as the speed of light. In 1849, the French physicist Fizeau had measured the speed of light, an extremely difficult measurement back then, and had obtained: Speed of light ≈ 313,000,000 meters per second Given the accuracy available at the time, these two numbers are identical.

Any experiment that you perform at rest, such as throwing a ball up in the air and catching it, will have an identical result if performed while moving at a constant speed, as, say, might happen while riding on an airplane in the absence of turbulence. No experiment you can perform on the plane, if its windows are closed, will tell you whether the plane is moving or standing still. While Galileo started the ball rolling, both literally and metaphorically, in 1632, it took another 273 years to fully lay to rest this issue (issues, unlike objects, can be laid to rest). It would take Albert Einstein to do so. Einstein was not a revolutionary in the same sense as Galileo, if by this term one describes those who tear down the dictates of the authorities who came before, as Galileo had done for Aristotle. Einstein did just the opposite. He knew that rules that had been established on the basis of experiment could not easily be tossed aside, and it was a mark of his genius that he didn’t.

This is so important I want to repeat it for the benefit of those people who write to me every week or so telling me that they have discovered a new theory that demonstrates everything we now think we know about the universe is wrong—and using Einstein as their exemplar to justify this possibility. Not only is your theory wrong, but you are doing Einstein a huge disservice: rules that have been established on the basis of experiment cannot easily be tossed aside. • • • Albert Einstein was born in 1879, the same year that James Clerk Maxwell died. It is tempting to suggest that their combined brilliance was too much for one simple planet to house at the same time. But it was just a coincidence, albeit a fortuitous one. If Maxwell hadn’t preceded him, Einstein couldn’t have been Einstein. He came from the first generation of young scientists who grew up wrestling with the new knowledge about light and electromagnetism that Faraday and Maxwell had generated.

pages: 158 words: 49,168

Infinite Ascent: A Short History of Mathematics by David Berlinski


Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Douglas Hofstadter, Eratosthenes, four colour theorem, Georg Cantor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Murray Gell-Mann, Stephen Hawking, Turing machine, William of Occam

In 1846, the French mathematician Joseph Liouville published an edited version of Galois’ last work in the Journal de mathématiques, homage deferred and so homage denied. It was only in 1870—almost forty years after Galois’ duel!—that Camille Jourdan published a reasonably accurate and complete account of Galois’ theories in his treatise on algebra, Traité des substitutions et des équations algébriques. Galois’ work entered fully into scientific consciousness at what is virtually the beginning of the modern era, just ten years before the birth of Albert Einstein. When in 1907 Hermann Minkowski recast Einstein’s theory of special relativity so that it made mathematical sense, he expressed the fusion of space and time that Einstein had foreseen in the language of groups. The publication of Galois’ ideas allowed mathematicians to see that a system of architecture lay exposed beneath the shifting surface of the numbers themselves—not only groups, but semi-groups, simple groups, semisimple groups, Abelian groups, Lie groups, and beyond the groups, rings, fields, lattices, and ideals.

Isolated and alone and immured in his own immature fury, it was Évariste Galois who brought this magnificent structure into being. FEW MATHEMATICAL SUBJECTS SEEM quite so irresistibly lurid, the very words non-Euclidean suggesting an exotic universe in which embarrassing extra dimensions pop up in space and things by curving manage simultaneously to turn themselves inside out and upside down. When in 1915 Albert Einstein advanced a theory of gravity in which old-fashioned Newtonian forces vanished in favor of curved space and time, the impression was widespread that things were far weirder than anyone might have imagined. These impressions are not so much mistaken as misconceived. There is weirdness in non-Euclidean geometry, but not because of anything that geometers might say about the ordinary fond familiar world in which space is flat, angles sharp, and only curves are curved.

If there is one abstract space, and that one capable of incarnating itself in various ways, then the question of whether the space in which we live is Euclidean, elliptical, or hyperbolic, or even some unsuspected monstrosity in between, is no longer mathematical. We must seek, Riemann wrote, “the grounds of various metrical relationships outside the manifold itself, in the various binding forces which act upon it.…” Not yet born, it was Albert Einstein who heard this remark in the spirit world in which he was waiting as Riemann spoke. The debate between those who take non-Euclidean geometry in stride and those who find it the source of inexpugnable weirdness may now safely be subordinated, at least in so far as mathematics is concerned. Weirdness? That remains. It remains somewhere. But not in space. And not in mathematics. It is the physicists who have inherited the weird.

pages: 1,396 words: 245,647

The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom by Graham Farmelo


Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, gravity well, Henri Poincaré, invention of radio, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Murray Gell-Mann, period drama, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Simon Singh, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, strikebreaker, University of East Anglia

What Dirac did notice was that Heisenberg had not constructed his theory to be consistent with special relativity so, true to form, Dirac played his favourite game of trying to produce a version of Heisenberg’s theory that was consistent with relativity, but he soon gave up.36 At the end of September, Dirac prepared to return to Cambridge, convinced that the non-commuting quantities in the theory were the key to the mystery. To make progress, he needed to find the lock – a way of interpreting these quantities, a way of linking them to experimentally observed reality. One person who, unknown to Dirac, shared his excitement about the theory was Albert Einstein, who wrote to a friend: ‘Heisenberg has laid a big quantum egg.’37 At the beginning of October, Dirac began his final year as a postgraduate student. With Fowler’s encouragement, he set aside his books of intricate calculations based on the Bohr theory, well aware that – if Heisenberg’s theory was right – those calculations were all but worthless. It was during a Sunday walk in the countryside, soon after term began, that Dirac had his first great epiphany.

The application was advertised in the Times Higher Education Supplement, his mother says. 31 This proof copy is in Dirac Papers, 2/14/1 (FSU). 32 An English translation of this paper, together with other key papers in the early history of quantum mechanics, are reprinted in Van der Waerden (1967). 33 Dirac (1977: 119). 34 Interview with Flo Dirac, Stockholms Dagblad, 10 December 1933. 35 Darrigol (1992: 291–7). 36 Dirac (1977: 121). 37 Letter from Albert Einstein to Paul Ehrenfest, 20 September 1925, in Mehra and Rechenberg (1982: 276). 38 Dirac (1977: 121–5). 39 Dirac (1977: 122). 40 Here, X and Y are mathematical expressions of a type known as partial differentials. What is important is the superficial similarity between the form of the Poisson bracket and the difference AB – BA. 41 Eddington (1928: 210). 42 Elsasser (1978: 41). 43 Reference for Dirac, written by Fowler in April 1925, for the Royal Commission of the Exhibition of 1851, 1851COMM. 44 Dalitz and Peierls (1986: 147).

Although Dirac’s approach and presentation were more elegant and easier to use, the two papers covered substantially the same ground and featured much the same conclusions. So although Dirac had made another distinguished contribution to quantum mechanics – his second within a year – he had yet to beat all his colleagues to a key innovation in the theory. He had, however, acquired some distinguished admirers, though most of them were struggling to understand his peculiar combination of logic and intuition. One of them was Albert Einstein, who told a friend: ‘I have trouble with Dirac. This balancing on the dizzying path between genius and madness is awful.’26 One evening in Dirac’s lodgings shortly before Christmas, the telephone rang. It was Professor Bohr, Dirac’s landlady told him, as she passed the receiver to him. This was a new experience for him – he had never before used a telephone.27 Knowing that Dirac was about to spend the holiday alone, Bohr was calling to ask if he would like to spend Christmas with him and his family.

pages: 998 words: 211,235

A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar


Al Roth, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Brownian motion, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, experimental economics, fear of failure, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, linear programming, lone genius, market design, medical residency, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, Ronald Coase, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, spectrum auction, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, upwardly mobile, zero-sum game

Donald Newman, a mathematician who knew Nash at MIT in the 1950s, used to say about him that “everyone else would climb a peak by looking for a path somewhere on the mountain. Nash would climb another mountain altogether and from that distant peak would shine a searchlight back onto the first peak.”5 No one was more obsessed with originality, more disdainful of authority, or more jealous of his independence. As a young man he was surrounded by the high priests of twentieth-century science — Albert Einstein, John von Neumann, and Norbert Wiener — but he joined no school, became no one’s disciple, got along largely without guides or followers. In almost everything he did — from game theory to geometry — he thumbed his nose at the received wisdom, current fashions, established methods. He almost always worked alone, in his head, usually walking, often whistling Bach. Nash acquired his knowledge of mathematics not mainly from studying what other mathematicians had discovered, but by rediscovering their truths for himself.

He had carved out a brilliant career at the apex of the mathematics profession, traveled, lectured, taught, met the most famous mathematicians of his day, and become famous himself. His genius also won him love. He had married a beautiful young physics student who adored him, and fathered a child. It was a brilliant strategy, this genius, this life. A seemingly perfect adaptation. Many great scientists and philosophers, among them René Descartes, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Immanuel Kant, Thorstein Veblen, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein, have had similarly strange and solitary personalities.20 An emotionally detached, inward-looking temperament can be especially conducive to scientific creativity, psychiatrists and biographers have long observed, just as fiery fluctuations in mood may sometimes be linked to artistic expression. In The Dynamics of Creation, Anthony Storr, the British psychiatrist, contends that an individual who “fears love almost as much as he fears hatred” may turn to creative activity not only out of an impulse to experience aesthetic pleasure, or the delight of exercising an active mind, but also to defend himself against anxiety stimulated by conflicting demands for detachment and human contact.21 In the same vein, Jean-Paul Sartre, the French philosopher and writer, called genius “the brilliant invention of someone who is looking for a way out.”

Princeton was full of purists — topologists, algebraists, number theorists — and Duffin especially regarded Nash as someone obviously suited, by interest and temperament, for a career in the most abstract mathematics. “I thought he would be a completely pure mathematician,” Duffin recalled. “Princeton was first in topology. That’s why I wanted to send him to Princeton.”57 The only thing Nash really knew about Princeton was that Albert Einstein and John von Neumann were there, along with a bunch of other European émigrés. But the polyglot Princeton mathematical milieu — foreign, Jewish, left-leaning — still seemed to him a distinctly inferior alternative. Sensing Nash’s hesitation, Solomon Lefschetz, the chairman of the Princeton department, had already written to him urging him to choose Princeton.58 He finally dangled a John S.

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The Misbehavior of Markets by Benoit Mandelbrot


Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, Benoit Mandelbrot, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black-Scholes formula, British Empire, Brownian motion, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, carbon-based life, discounted cash flows, diversification, double helix, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Elliott wave, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, implied volatility, index fund, informal economy, invisible hand, John Meriwether, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market microstructure, Myron Scholes, new economy, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, random walk, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, stochastic volatility, transfer pricing, value at risk, Vilfredo Pareto, volatility smile

Also, as fate would have it, very different motivations had sent other scientists on this trail. Long before, the invention of the microscope led to observations of the erratic way that tiny pollen grains jiggled about in a sample of water. A Scottish botanist, Robert Brown, studied this motion, observed that it is not a manifestation of life but a physical phenomenon, and received (possibly inflated) credit for the discovery through the term “Brownian motion.” In 1905, Albert Einstein developed for it equations very similar to Bachelier’s own equations of bond-price probability—though Einstein never knew that. Regardless, one cannot help but marvel that the movement of security prices, the motion of molecules, and the diffusion of heat could all be of the same mathematical species. As will be seen, it is one of many such strange liaisons in nature. Bachelier did not stop at theory: He also tested his equations against real prices for options and futures contracts.

It is one of the little miracles of animal neurology with which we are all familiar. But even more miraculous: If the cat happens to brush against an obstacle on the way down, the edge of a table, for instance, its body in mid-air will spontaneously adjust course, to avoid a collision. How does it do it? That was the subject of one of my stranger research collaborations, when I was for a year a visiting professor of physiology at Albert Einstein School of Medicine, in New York. My host, Professor Vahe Amassian, wanted to get to the bottom of this mystery, wiring a cat’s brain to observe the pattern of neuronal firing in mid-flight. (Yes, it is a bit scary to see all those electrodes coming out of its head.) But I urged him to take it easy and first go back to basics: What does the cat’s brain activity look like when nothing is happening?

But for the curious reader, in these Notes we provide a brief elaboration—mathematical and historical. Further detail can be found in this book’s bibliography and and in many cases more directly in Prelude Introducing a Maverick in Science xiv “Paul H. Cootner…” From Cootner 1964. xv “The grand aim of all science…” An oft-repeated quotation of Albert Einstein, from Life magazine, January 9, 1950. xvii “Mandelbrot’s life story…” All accounts of Mandelbrot’s life in this book are based primarily on conversations between the authors, supplemented by Mandelbrot’s own writings. A summary of his life and work may be found in Gleick 1987. An autobiographical essay plus additional biographical and bibliographical information is available at Mandelbrot’s web site,

pages: 372 words: 101,174

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil


Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, brain emulation, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer age, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, double helix,, epigenetics, George Gilder, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, linear programming, Loebner Prize, mandelbrot fractal, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

There is controversy as to whether or not she would have shared in that prize had she been alive in 1962. 7. Albert Einstein, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” (1905). This paper established the special theory of relativity. See Robert Bruce Lindsay and Henry Margenau, Foundations of Physics (Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press, 1981), 330. 8. “Crookes radiometer,” Wikipedia, 9. Note that some of the momentum of the photons is transferred to the air molecules in the bulb (since it is not a perfect vacuum) and then transferred from the heated air molecules to the vane. 10. Albert Einstein, “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?” (1905). This paper established Einstein’s famous formula E = mc2. 11. “Albert Einstein’s Letters to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt,”

Indeed, that would have to be what observers on Earth would see. But we know that the speed of light is a constant, as the Michelson-Morley experiment had shown. Thus he would necessarily see the light beam traveling ahead of him at the full speed of light. This seemed like a contradiction—how could it be possible? The answer became evident to the German boy, whose name, incidentally, was Albert Einstein (1879–1955), by the time he turned twenty-six. Obviously—to young Master Einstein—time itself must have slowed down for him. He explains his reasoning in a paper published in 1905.7 If observers on Earth were to look at the young man’s watch they would see it ticking ten times slower. Indeed, when he got back to Earth, his watch would show that only 10 percent as much time had passed (ignoring, for the moment, acceleration and deceleration).

After we construct a model of how thinking works through this process of self-reflection, we’ll examine to what extent we can confirm it through the latest observations of actual brains and the state of the art in re-creating these processes in machines. CHAPTER 2 THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS ON THINKING I very rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterwards. —Albert Einstein The brain is a three-pound mass you can hold in your hand that can conceive of a universe a hundred billion light years across. —Marian Diamond What seems astonishing is that a mere three-pound object, made of the same atoms that constitute everything else under the sun, is capable of directing virtually everything that humans have done: flying to the moon and hitting seventy home runs, writing Hamlet and building the Taj Mahal—even unlocking the secrets of the brain itself.

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Is God a Mathematician? by Mario Livio


Albert Einstein, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Brownian motion, cellular automata, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Georg Cantor, Gerolamo Cardano, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, music of the spheres, Myron Scholes, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, Russell's paradox, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, traveling salesman

The famous mathematician John von Neumann (1903–57), who was lecturing on Hilbert’s work at the time, canceled the rest of his planned course and devoted the remaining time to Gödel’s findings. Gödel the man was every bit as complex as his theorems. In 1940, he and his wife Adele fled Nazi Austria so he could take up a position at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. There he became a good friend and walking partner of Albert Einstein. When Gödel applied for naturalization as an American citizen in 1948, it was Einstein who, together with Princeton University mathematician and economist Oskar Morgenstern (1902–77), accompanied Gödel to his interview at the Immigration and Naturalization Service office. The events surrounding this interview are generally known, but they are so revealing about Gödel’s personality that I will give them now in full, precisely as they were recorded from memory by Oskar Morgenstern on September 13, 1971.

The events surrounding this interview are generally known, but they are so revealing about Gödel’s personality that I will give them now in full, precisely as they were recorded from memory by Oskar Morgenstern on September 13, 1971. I am grateful to Ms. Dorothy Morgenstern Thomas, Morgenstern’s widow, and to the Institute for Advanced Study for providing me with a copy of the document: It was in 1946 that Gödel was to become an American citizen. He asked me to be his witness and as the other witness, he proposed Albert Einstein who also gladly consented. Einstein and I occasionally met and were full of anticipation as to what would happen during this time prior to the naturalization proceedings themselves and even during those. Gödel whom I have seen of course time and again in the months before this event began to go in a thorough manner to prepare himself properly. Since he is a very thorough man, he started informing himself about the history of the settlement of North America by human beings.

This is certain, that it must proceed from a cause that penetrates to the very centres of the Sun and planets…and propagates its virtue on all sides to immense distances, decreasing always as the inverse square of the distances…But hitherto I have not been able to discover the cause of those properties of gravity from phenomena, and I frame no hypotheses. The person who decided to meet the challenge posed by Newton’s omission was Albert Einstein (1879–1955). In 1907 in particular, Einstein had a very strong reason to be interested in gravity—his new theory of special relativity appeared to be in direct conflict with Newton’s law of gravitation. Newton believed that gravity’s action was instantaneous. He assumed that it took no time at all for planets to feel the Sun’s gravitational force, or for an apple to feel the Earth’s attraction.

pages: 338 words: 106,936

The Physics of Wall Street: A Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable by James Owen Weatherall


Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Asian financial crisis, bank run, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, dark matter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, George Akerlof, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Rogoff, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, martingale, Myron Scholes, new economy, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, prediction markets, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic process, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, tulip mania, V2 rocket, Vilfredo Pareto, volatility smile

“Osborne Family History: Recollections of M.F.M. Osborne.” Courtesy of the Osborne family. Osborne, M.F.M., and Albert Einstein. 1946. Unpublished correspondence. Courtesy of the Osborne family. Packard, N. H. 1988. “Adaptation Toward the Edge of Chaos.” Dynamic Patterns in Complex Systems, ed. J.A.S. Kelso, A. J. Mandell, and M. F. Shlesinger. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing. — — — . 1990. “A Genetic Learning Algorithm for the Analysis of Complex Data.” Complex Systems 4 (5): 543–72. Packard, N. H., J. P. Crutchfield, J. D. Farmer, and R. S. Shaw. 1980. “Geometry From a Time Series.” Physical Review Letters 45 (9): 712–16. Pais, Abraham. 1982. Subtle Is the Lord: The Science and Life of Albert Einstein. Oxford: Oxford University Press. — — — . 2006. J. Robert Oppenheimer: A Life. New York: Oxford University Press.

If you were able to look closely enough, with a microscope, say, you would be able to see that the particles were constantly jittering. This seemingly random motion, according to the Roman poet Titus Lucretius (writing in about 60 B.C.), shows that there must be tiny, invisible particles — he called them “primordial bits” — buffeting the specks of dust from all directions and pushing them first in one direction and then another. Two thousand years later, Albert Einstein made a similar argument in favor of the existence of atoms. Only he did Lucretius one better: he developed a mathematical framework that allowed him to precisely describe the trajectories a particle would take if its twitches and jitters were really caused by collisions with still-smaller particles. Over the course of the next six years, French physicist Jean-Baptiste Perrin developed an experimental method to track particles suspended in a fluid with enough precision to show that they indeed followed paths of the sort Einstein predicted.

ETH Zürich had a fine reputation, but it was quite new: it was only in 1911 that ETH was restructured to become a real university, with graduate students, shedding its past as an engineering-oriented teaching school. The other university in the city, the University of Zürich, was the largest in Switzerland. But it was no Göttingen. Weyl wasn’t ETH’s only recent hire, however. As part of the restructuring, the school had made a number of appointments to the physics department. One of these was a prominent young physicist, an undergraduate alumnus of ETH named Albert Einstein. Einstein had gone on to do a PhD in physics at the University of Zürich, graduating in 1905 — the same year that he published a mathematical treatment of Brownian motion (anticipated, of course, by Bachelier), came up with a theory of the photoelectric effect (for which he would win the Nobel Prize in 1921), and discovered the special theory of relativity, including his famous equation e = mc2.

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Collider by Paul Halpern


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, dark matter, Ernest Rutherford, Gary Taubes, gravity well, horn antenna, index card, Isaac Newton, Magellanic Cloud, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Solar eclipse in 1919, statistical model, Stephen Hawking

Its prominently displayed CERN logo reminded me that this cozy village and its pastoral surroundings play a role in one of the leading scientific endeavors of the twenty-first century. Back on the Meyrin campus of CERN, I noted a similar juxtaposition of old and new. CERN is a laboratory keenly aware of its history. Its streets are named after a wide range of people who have spent their careers trying to discover the fundamental components of nature—from Democritus to Marie Curie and from James Clerk Maxwell to Albert Einstein. Scattered around its museum area are an assortment of accelerators and detectors of various shapes, sizes, and vintage. Comparing the small early detectors to ATLAS served to highlight the unbelievable progress made in particle physics during the last seventy-five years. CERN makes good use of many of its historical devices. Particles entering the LHC will first be boosted by several different older accelerators—the earliest built in the 1950s.

However, as temperatures lower, the roulette wheel freezes, and the marker points to a random direction. The Higgs field’s initial symmetry, with all angles being equal, has spontaneously broken to favor a single angle. Because the Higgs field sets the baseline for the vacuum (lowest energy) state of the universe, this transforms during the symmetry breaking from a situation called the true vacuum, in which the lowest energy is zero, to a false vacuum, in which it is nonzero. Following Albert Einstein’s famous dictum E = mc2 (energy equals mass times the speed of light squared), the acquired energy becomes mass and is shared among many elementary particles, including the carriers of the weak interaction. In short, the halting of the Higgs field’s “roulette wheel” channels mass into the weak exchange (and other) particles and explains why they are bulky while the photons remain massless. With its phenomenal ability to bestow mass on other particles, the Higgs has acquired the nickname the “God particle.”

A famous 1887 experiment by American researchers Albert Michelson and Edward Morley disproved the ether hypothesis by showing that the speed of light is the same in all directions. Still, given the compelling analogy to material waves, it was hard for the scientific community to accept that light is able to move through sheer emptiness. The constancy of the speed of light in a vacuum raised another critical question. In a scenario pondered by the young Albert Einstein, what would happen if someone managed to chase and catch up with a light wave? Would it appear static, like a deer frozen in a car’s headlights? In other words, in that case would the measured speed of light be zero? That’s what Newtonian mechanics predicts, because if two things are at the same speed, they should seem to each other not to be moving. However, Maxwell’s equations make no provision for the velocity of the observer.

pages: 381 words: 78,467

100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family And by Sonia Arrison


23andMe, 8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, attribution theory, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, Clayton Christensen, dark matter, East Village,, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, Googley, income per capita, indoor plumbing, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, post scarcity, Ray Kurzweil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Singularitarianism, smart grid, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Thomas Malthus, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, X Prize

“This underscores the power of researchers being able to scan the whole genome, and not just limit their searches to their own best hunches.”84 This power also translates into discovering weaknesses in cancer cells, thereby making possible personalized treatment, as well as looking at the genomes of people who live a very long time to see if they possess certain protector genes that regular people do not. There are at least two well-known groups studying centenarians (people who are older than one hundred). One is the Boston University New England Centenarian Study, run by Dr. Thomas Perls, and the other is the Longevity Genes Project at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, run by Dr. Nir Barzilai. According to Dr. Perls’s research, even though lifestyle and habits are important for health, it is clear that “exceptional longevity runs very strongly in families.”85 Dr. Nir Barzilai agrees. The “super agers,” as he calls them, appear to have a heritable genetic makeup that allows them to better avoid cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure.86 The key, of course, is to find out exactly what parts of their genetic code keep them so healthy.

At this point, we should also note that any savings invested at a younger age would be earning interest over a longer period of time than ever before. Because compounding works by adding accumulated interest back to the principal, interest is continually earned on whatever principal there was plus the interest that the individual has already made. This means that money grows at a much faster rate when saved in this manner than if stuffed in the mattress. Indeed, compounding works so well that Albert Einstein called it the “eighth wonder of the world.” For example, if a person saved $100,000 at age 30, the value at age 65 would be $551,602 and the value at age 130 would be $13,150,126 (assuming, for simplicity, compound interest of 5 percent and no additional savings). This can be contrasted with a person who saves the same amount under the same conditions but doesn’t begin until age 50. That person would have only $207,893 at age 65 and $4,956,144 at age 130.

pid=newsarchive&refer=home&sid=aEUlnq6ltPpQ. 83 “Your Genome in Minutes: New Technology Could Slash Sequencing Time,” ScienceDaily, December 31, 2010, 84 Francis Collins, “A Genome Story: 10th Anniversary Commentary,” Scientific American, June 25, 2010, 85 Boston University School of Medicine, New England Centenarian Study, “Why Study Centenarians? An Overview,” 86 Albert Einstein College of Medicine, “Einstein Launches to Spotlight Aging Research,” November 1, 2010, 87 J. Craig Venter Institute, “First Self-Replicating Synthetic Bacterial Cell,” 88 Katie Drummond, “Pentagon Looks to Breed Immortal ‘Synthetic Organisms,’ Molecular Kill-Switch Included,” Wired News, February 5, 2010, 89 Aubrey de Grey with Michael Rae, Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime (New York: St.

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Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics by Jim Al-Khalili


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, butterfly effect, clockwork universe, complexity theory, dark matter, Edmond Halley, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Ernest Rutherford, Henri Poincaré, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, Olbers’ paradox, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, Wilhelm Olbers

This will cause it to accelerate—to alter its state from being at rest to being in motion. But once it is moving, the same argument applies: namely, that, as time goes by, the distances covered are based on the moving object’s speed, which need not be constant. The Dichotomy argument is then an abstract irrelevance that has nothing to say about true motion in the physical world. I should make one final remark before moving on. Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity teaches us that maybe we should not dismiss the Dichotomy Paradox so confidently. According to Einstein, time can be regarded in a similar way to space—indeed, he refers to time as the fourth axis, or fourth dimension, of what is called space–time. This suggests that maybe the flow of time is just an illusion after all—and, if it is, then so is motion. But I would argue that, despite the success of relativity theory, this conclusion takes us away from physics and into the murky waters of metaphysics—abstract ideas that don’t have the solid backing of empirical science.

I certainly do not plan to use any algebra or draw any technical graphs in order to teach you the basics of relativity, and I could in principle just jump to the resolution of the paradox in the hope that you are happy to trust me on this business of lengths getting shorter at ultra-high speeds. But then again, I could just be making this stuff up. So you have a choice: you can skip to the end of the chapter where I explain away the paradox if you (a) know something about the Special Theory of Relativity already or (b) trust that if Albert Einstein says so then that is good enough for you; or you can allow me to lead you through the arguments carefully and gently. If you go for the latter option it will be worth it in the long run, since the next two chapters, on paradoxes involving the nature of time rather than space, will also depend on what I explain here. And I promise I shall do my very best to make it not only painless, but possibly even fun.

The Michelson-Morley result was the equivalent of both you on board the moving train and the observer watching the train go by agreeing on how fast the passenger was moving! It sounds ridiculous, right? Surely, as I explained before, you see the passenger moving at walking pace while the platform observer sees him whizz past at train speed, plus a little more. Just eight years before Michelson and Morley achieved their disturbing finding, Albert Einstein had been born in Ulm in Germany. That same year, 1879, Albert Michelson, working at a U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, had measured the speed of light to an accuracy of about one part in ten thousand. He wasn’t the first to do this and would not be the last, but it would stand him in good stead when he and Morley conducted their famous experiment. As for the young Einstein, although of course he was completely unaware of the astonishing result that Michelson and Morley announced to the world, he was nevertheless soon pondering the unusual properties of light himself by devising imaginary experiments.

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Cosmos by Carl Sagan


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, clockwork universe, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, germ theory of disease, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, music of the spheres, pattern recognition, planetary scale, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, spice trade, Tunguska event

The light by which we see it now has spent seventy-five years traversing the dark of interstellar space on its long journey to Earth. In the unlikely event that Beta Andromedae blew itself up last Tuesday, we would not know it for another seventy-five years, as this interesting information, traveling at the speed of light, would require seventy-five years to cross the enormous interstellar distances. When the light by which we now see this star set out on its long voyage, the young Albert Einstein, working as a Swiss patent clerk, had just published his epochal special theory of relativity here on Earth. Space and time are interwoven. We cannot look out into space without looking back into time. Light travels very fast. But space is very empty, and the stars are far apart. Distances of seventy-five light-years or less are very small compared to other distances in astronomy. From the Sun to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy is 30,000 light-years.

If you had walked through the pleasant Tuscan countryside in the 1890’s, you might have come upon a somewhat long-haired teenage high school dropout on the road to Pavia. His teachers in Germany had told him that he would never amount to anything, that his questions destroyed classroom discipline, that he would be better off out of school. So he left and wandered, delighting in the freedom of Northern Italy, where he could ruminate on matters remote from the subjects he had been force-fed in his highly disciplined Prussian schoolroom. His name was Albert Einstein, and his ruminations changed the world. Einstein had been fascinated by Bernstein’s People’s Book of Natural Science, a popularization of science that described on its very first page the astonishing speed of electricity through wires and light through space. He wondered what the world would look like if you could travel on a wave of light. To travel at the speed of light? What an engaging and magical thought for a boy on the road in a countryside dappled and rippling in sunlight.

When you returned from your relativistic journey, what a difference there would be between your friends and you, they having aged decades, say, and you having aged hardly at all! Traveling close to the speed of light is a kind of elixir of life. Because time slows down close to the speed of light, special relativity provides us with a means of going to the stars. But is it possible, in terms of practical engineering, to travel close to the speed of light? Is a starship feasible? Tuscany was not only the caldron of some of the thinking of the young Albert Einstein; it was also the home of another great genius who lived 400 years earlier, Leonardo da Vinci, who delighted in climbing the Tuscan hills and viewing the ground from a great height, as if he were soaring like a bird. He drew the first aerial perspectives of landscapes, towns and fortifications. Among Leonardo’s many interests and accomplishments—in painting, sculpture, anatomy, geology, natural history, military and civil engineering—he had a great passion: to devise and fabricate a machine that could fly.

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Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America by Shawn Lawrence Otto


affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Berlin Wall, Brownian motion, carbon footprint, Cepheid variable, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dean Kamen, desegregation, double helix, energy security, Exxon Valdez, fudge factor, ghettoisation, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, sharing economy, smart grid, Solar eclipse in 1919, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, University of East Anglia, War on Poverty, white flight, Winter of Discontent, working poor, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

America was entering a golden age of science, propelled in no small part by the massive philanthropic investments of two Republican men: steel magnate Andrew Carnegie,10 who funded public libraries across the nation, helped found what is now Carnegie Mellon University, and funded basic scientific research through the Carnegie Institution of Washington (since renamed the Carnegie Institution for Science); and John D. Rockefeller Sr.,11 who endowed the University of Chicago as well as Rockefeller University and Johns Hopkins University’s school of public health. As Hubble began secretly studying astronomy,12 what had captured the imagination of the American public was the growing fame of the former Swiss patent officer with wild hair and a playful face, Albert Einstein. THE HOAX OF RELATIVITY Einstein’s general theory of relativity had made the striking prediction that gravity could bend space and so disrupt the straight-line flow of light. On May 29, 1919, scientists set out to test the theory by carefully observing the way starlight behaved during a solar eclipse. If Einstein was right, the sun’s gravity would bend the light of stars that were in line with it, making them appear to be slightly offset.

Presiding over the American science war effort was Edwin Hubble’s boss Vannevar Bush, an engineer and the president of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. There had been a certain lack of cooperation between the Europe-friendly science enterprise and the military during World War I, and certain administrative barriers to the military’s adoption of new technologies,4 that Bush was anxious to prevent the United States from repeating, particularly with the vast influx of talent the country was reaping as a result of growing Nazi intolerance. Albert Einstein was the most famous of these immigrants, but there were many others—most of them Jewish. Bush was strongly of the opinion that science and technology would lead to military superiority for whichever country best exploited them. After the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939, Bush became convinced of the need to establish a federal agency that would coordinate US research efforts. He was able to schedule a hasty meeting in June 1940 with President Franklin D.

We have made a thing that by all [the] standards of the world we grew up in is an evil thing. And by so doing, by our participation in making it possible to make these things, we have raised again the question of whether science is good for man, of whether it is good to learn about the world, to try to understand it, to try to control it, to help give to the world of men increased insight, increased power.10 Albert Einstein, who had played a key role in alerting President Roosevelt to the possibility of making such a bomb, shared Oppenheimer’s feelings. He sent a telegram to hundreds of prominent Americans in May of 1946, asking for $200,000 to fund a national campaign “to let the people know that a new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels…. This appeal is sent to you only after long consideration of the immense crisis we face.”

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The Search for Superstrings, Symmetry, and the Theory of Everything by John Gribbin


Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, complexity theory, dark matter, Dmitri Mendeleev, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking

.… Here he introduces the ‘quarky’ zoo of subatomic particles and their mediating forces, Gribbin himself mediating for generalists the theories advanced to explain and unify them.… In these mind-bending realms, Gribbin's seasoned skills wonderfully simplify matters (and forces) without ‘dumbifying’ them.” —Gilbert Taylor, Booklist BY THE SAME AUTHOR In Search of the Edge of Time Hothouse Earth Being Human In Search of the Big Bang In Search of Schrödinger's Cat The Hole in the Sky Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science (WITH MICHAEL WHITE) Albert Einstein: A Life in Science The Matter Myth (WITH PAUL DAVIES) In the Beginning Schrödinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality Companion to the Cosmos The Case of the Missing Neutrinos Almost Everyone's Guide to Science Thanks to Benjamin Gribbin for editorial assistance Copyright Copyright © 1998 by John and Mary Gribbin Illustrations copyright © 1998 by John Gribbin All rights reserved.

Scarcely had physicists started to acknowledge this cosy possibility, however, than the house of cards they had so painstakingly constructed came tumbling down. It turned out that the behaviour of light could sometimes only be explained in terms of particles (photons) while the wave explanation, or model, remained the only valid one in other circumstances. A little later, physicists realized that, as if waves that sometimes behave as particles were not enough to worry about, particles could sometimes behave like waves. And meanwhile Albert Einstein was overturning established wisdom about the nature of space, time and gravity with his theories of relativity. When the dust began to settle at the end of the 1920s, physicists had a new picture of the world which was very different from the old one. This is still the basis of the picture we have today. It tells us that there are no pure particles or waves, but only, at the fundamental level, things best described as a mixture of wave and particle, occasionally referred to as ‘wavicles’.

Every time subatomic particles are involved in interactions the outcome depends on chance. The odds may be very heavily stacked in favour of one particular outcome, or they may be no better than tossing a coin on a 50:50 basis. But they are clearly and precisely laid down by the laws of quantum physics, and there is no such thing as certainty in the quantum world. This is the point about quantum theory which made Albert Einstein reject the whole thing, with his famous remark about God, ‘that He would choose to play dice with the world… is something that I cannot believe for a single moment’ (often paraphrased as ‘I cannot believe that God does play dice’). But all the evidence is that God does play dice. Every experiment confirms the accuracy of the quantum interpretation. When we carry out an experiment, which might involve measuring the position of an electron, for example, we cannot know for certain how things are going to develop later.

pages: 186 words: 64,267

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, bet made by Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne, Brownian motion, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, dark matter, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Magellanic Cloud, Murray Gell-Mann, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking

v3.1 CONTENTS Cover Other Books by This Author Title Page Copyright FOREWORD Chapter One Our Picture of the Universe Chapter Two Space and Time Chapter Three The Expanding Universe Chapter Four The Uncertainty Principle Chapter Five Elementary Particles and the Forces of Nature Chapter Six Black Holes Chapter Seven Black Holes Ain’t So Black Chapter Eight The Origin and Fate of the Universe Chapter Nine The Arrow of Time Chapter Ten Wormholes and Time Travel Chapter Eleven The Unification of Physics Chapter Twelve Conclusion ALBERT EINSTEIN GALILEO GALILEI ISAAC NEWTON GLOSSARY ACKNOWLEDGMENTS About the Author FOREWORD I didn’t write a foreword to the original edition of A Brief History of Time. That was done by Carl Sagan. Instead, I wrote a short piece titled “Acknowledgments” in which I was advised to thank everyone. Some of the foundations that had given me support weren’t too pleased to have been mentioned, however, because it led to a great increase in applications.

To their great surprise, they found they were exactly the same! Between 1887 and 1905 there were several attempts, most notably by the Dutch physicist Hendrik Lorentz, to explain the result of the Michelson-Morley experiment in terms of objects contracting and clocks slowing down when they moved through the ether. However, in a famous paper in 1905, a hitherto unknown clerk in the Swiss patent office, Albert Einstein, pointed out that the whole idea of an ether was unnecessary, providing one was willing to abandon the idea of absolute time. A similar point was made a few weeks later by a leading French mathematician, Henri Poincaré. Einstein’s arguments were closer to physics than those of Poincaré, who regarded this problem as mathematical. Einstein is usually given the credit for the new theory, but Poincaré is remembered by having his name attached to an important part of it.

However, if we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we would know the mind of God. ALBERT EINSTEIN Einstein’s connection with the politics of the nuclear bomb is well known: he signed the famous letter to President Franklin Roosevelt that persuaded the United States to take the idea seriously, and he engaged in postwar efforts to prevent nuclear war. But these were not just the isolated actions of a scientist dragged into the world of politics. Einstein’s life was, in fact, to use his own words, “divided between politics and equations.”

pages: 202 words: 62,199

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown


Albert Einstein, Clayton Christensen, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, double helix,, endowment effect, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, microcredit, minimum viable product, North Sea oil, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Vilfredo Pareto

First, play broadens the range of options available to us. It helps us to see possibilities we otherwise wouldn’t have seen and make connections we would otherwise not have made. It opens our minds and broadens our perspective. It helps us challenge old assumptions and makes us more receptive to untested ideas. It gives us permission to expand our own stream of consciousness and come up with new stories. Or as Albert Einstein once said: “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”6 Second, play is an antidote to stress, and this is key because stress, in addition to being an enemy of productivity, can actually shut down the creative, inquisitive, exploratory parts of our brain. You know how it feels: you’re stressed about work and suddenly everything starts going wrong.

He intentionally never held a political position of any kind, yet he became, officially within India, the “Father of the Nation.” But his contribution extended well beyond India. As General George C. Marshall, the American secretary of state, said on the occasion of Gandhi’s passing: “Mahatma Gandhi had become the spokesman for the conscience of mankind, a man who made humility and simple truth more powerful than empires.”3 And Albert Einstein added: “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”4 It is impossible to argue with the statement that Gandhi lived a life that really mattered. Of course, we don’t have to try to replicate Gandhi to benefit from his example as someone who lived, fully and completely, as an Essentialist. We can all purge our lives of the nonessential and embrace the way of the Essentialist—in our own ways, and in our own time, and on our own scale.

Eknath Easwaran, preface to The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas, ed. Louis Fischer (1962; repr., New York: Vintage, 1990), xx. 2. “Gandhiji’s Philosophy: Diet and Diet Programme,” n.d., Mahatma Gandhi Information Website, 3. 4. Albert Einstein, “Mahatma Gandhi,” in Out of My Later Years: Essays (New York: Philosophical Library, 1950). 5. Henry David Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, March 27, 1848, in The Portable Thoreau, ed. Jeffrey S. Cramer (London: Penguin, 2012). 6. Proverbs 23:7. APPENDIX: LEADERSHIP ESSENTIALS 1. Guy Kawasaki, “From the Desk of Management Changes at Apple,” MacUser, December 1991, and then a follow-up piece, “How to Prevent a Bozo Explosion,” How to Change the World, February 26, 2006, 2.

pages: 797 words: 227,399

Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Atahualpa, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bill Joy: nanobots, blue-collar work, borderless world, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis, digital map,, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, friendly fire, game design, George Gilder, Google Earth, Grace Hopper, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, pattern recognition, private military company, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Yogi Berra

When these three parts act together, a robot gains the functionality of an artificial organism. If a machine lacks any of these three parts, it is not a robot. For example, the difference between a computer and a robot is the former’s lack of effectors to change the world around it. Interestingly, a machine’s sophistication has nothing to do with whether it is a robot. Just like biologic life might range in intelligence from bacteria and Paris Hilton to Homo sapiens and Albert Einstein, man’s artificial creations too show wide levels of complexity. Despite the seeming simplicity of this definition, it is still subject to some debate. For example, some scientists say that in order to be a robot, the machine has to be mobile. Yet this forgets that movement is just one way to change the world around you (as the world now has you in a different location). Defining only mobile systems as robots would not only exclude robots that work on factory lines, but would also be akin to defining paraplegics out of the human race.

The brilliant physicist Andrei Sakharov was the designer of their first hydrogen bomb. He went on to become an advocate for nuclear disarmament, for which the dissident won the Nobel Peace Prize and was put in prison. Ultimately, nuclear scientists from around the world banded together to form an organization to work against the weapons they had once developed. Spurred on by a letter from Albert Einstein (who, ironically, had also sent the letter that initially convinced President Roosevelt to fund the atomic bomb’s research), it had its first meeting in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, in 1957. While what became known as the “Pugwash movement for nuclear disarmament” ultimately won a Nobel Peace Prize, the nuclear refuseniks’ efforts were more than a decade too late. The nuclear genie was already out of the bottle.

No military is better at this than the American, in large part because no culture is better at it than the American.” Many feel this makes America a unique sort of great power. Technology was not just America’s pathway to power, but has entered into American cultural consciousness like no other great power in history. Only in American history did inventors, scientists, and technologic entrepreneurs like Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Bill Gates become cultural icons, while the whole system of industrialized technology found its origin in the United States. The result, argue such optimists as George and Meredith Friedman in The Future of War: Power, Technology and American World Dominance in the Twenty-first Century, is that “America is by its nature a technological nation.” The U.S. Army report similarly concurred, “Technology is part of how Americans see themselves, to reach for it is instinctive.

pages: 398 words: 86,023

The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia by Andrew Lih


Albert Einstein, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill,, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, crowdsourcing, Debian,, Firefox, Hacker Ethic, HyperCard, index card, Jane Jacobs, Jason Scott:, jimmy wales, Marshall McLuhan, Network effects, optical character recognition, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Stallman, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, wikimedia commons, Y2K

For programmers, CamelCase was an acceptable shorthand, but for the kind of contributors writing a credible encyclopedia, it was ghastly. Kovitz recalled how the CamelCase word abominations made the academic, exacting editor in chief Larry Sanger “cringe.” Despite the wiki project’s tech roots, Sanger and Wales launched it knowing it was an experiment, even with the bizarre CamelCase. But it wasn’t simply a bit odd. There were real practical problems. While it’s quite obvious CamelCase works fine for articles like AlbertEinstein, it required Nupedians to be imagina- Wiki_Introduced_63 tive for article names that were short. For one-word articles, funny-looking titles like NepTune and MatheMatics started to crop up. The CamelCase titles for even shorter articles looked more ridiculous, like ApE or EgG, but it was the only solution with the UseModWiki software, out of the box. The wiki experiment was done under the auspices of the Nupedia project and was originally meant as a development proving ground for Nupedia.

Raul654 was well known in the community as the large, cheery, and bombastic computer science graduate student who never shied away from cleaning Trolls,_Vandals,_and_Sock_Puppets,_Oh_My_181 up messes around Wikipedia. He had taken on obnoxious users in the past and wanted a more systematic way to deal with them. In 2004, he was on the case of a prickly user named Plautus Satire, who had vandalized the articles on [[Albert Einstein]], [[Hubble Space Telescope]], and [[Black Hole]] with nonsensical claims. In the Einstein article, he insisted on pushing the idea that the scientist was a fraud: Einstein performed no experiments and claimed his ideas came to him in dreams. His poor grasp of mathemetics, as evidenced by his failure to pass admissions examinations to engineering schools, prevented him from doing mathematical analyses of the hypotheses he presented, and his method of pure deductive reasoning has been roundly dismissed as unscientific, unproductive and prone to deviate far and wide from reality.70 Raul654 was not amused.

TROLLS, VANDALS, AND SOCK PUPPETS, OH MY 65. 66. http://nostalgia _to_destroy_ Wikipedia& oldid=49164. 67. From “The Cathedral and the Bazaar,” p. 65. 68. 69. 234_Notes 70. ?title=Albert_Einstein& diff=2380047& oldid= 2380036 . 71. Chapter 8. CRISIS OF COMMUNITY 72. .aspx?id=111504A. 73. 74. -of-the-Wikipedia-prankster—page-2/2008-1029_3 -5995977-2 .html ? 75. -protection. 76.

pages: 377 words: 97,144

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World by James D. Miller


23andMe, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, barriers to entry, brain emulation, cloud computing, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping,, feminist movement, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Netflix Prize, neurotypical, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, phenotype, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture

It’s extremely unlikely that the chaotic forces of evolution just happened to stumble on the best possible recipe for intelligence when they created our brains, especially since our brains have many constraints imposed on them by biology: they must run on energy obtained from mere food, must fit in a small space, and can’t use useful materials, such as metals and plastics, that engineers employ all the time. We share about 98 percent of our genes with some primates, but that 2 percent difference was enough to produce creatures that can assemble spaceships, sequence genes, and build hydrogen bombs.10 What happens when mankind takes its next step, and births life-forms who have a 2 percent genetic distance from us? But even if people such as Albert Einstein and his almost-as-theoretically-brilliant contemporary John von Neumann had close to the highest possible level of intelligence allowed by the laws of physics, creating a few million people or machines possessing these men’s brainpower would still change the world far more than the Industrial Revolution did. To understand why, let me tell you a bit about von Neumann. Although a fantastic scientist, a pathbreaking economist, and one of the best mathematicians of the twentieth century, von Neumann also possessed fierce practical skills.

If Clark’s conjecture is correct, evolutionary selection pressures changed mankind enough to give us the Industrial Revolution. The next chapter considers what could happen if we push evolution aside by using high-tech genetic manipulation to shape our children’s genes. Might we bring about a Singularity? The present state of the art in rationality training is not sufficient to turn an arbitrarily selected mortal into Albert Einstein, which shows the power of a few minor genetic quirks of brain design compared to all the self-help books ever written in the 20th century. —Eliezer Yudkowsky190 CHAPTER 9 INCREASING IQ THROUGH GENETIC MANIPULATION191 You’re in church, about to marry Pat, when your parents come up to you with a look of horror on their faces. They begin explaining that you must postpone the wedding because Pat’s brother has cystic fibrosis, a debilitating disease that clogs its victim’s lungs with mucus, making the person prone to deadly infections.

The stronger the correlation between bathroom and dining room quality, the better the dining room you will get if you succeed in getting a home with fantastic bathrooms. SELECTING AGAINST CERTAIN TYPES OF INTELLIGENCE Embryo selection against autism would likely reduce the number of geniuses. High-functioning autistics often excel at pattern recognition, a skill vital to success in science and mathematics. Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Socrates have all been linked to Asperger syndrome, a disorder (or at least a difference) on the autism spectrum.206 Parents with strong math backgrounds are far more likely to have autistic children, perhaps an indication that having lots of “math genes” makes one susceptible to autism.207 Magnetic resonance imaging has shown that on average, autistic two-year-olds have larger brains than their non-autistic peers do.208 A Korean study found the percentage of autistics who had a superior IQ was greater than that found in the general population.209 Some autistics have an ability called “hyperlexia,” characterized by having average or above-average IQs and word-reading ability well above what would be expected given their ages.

pages: 266 words: 86,324

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Atul Gawande, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, feminist movement, forensic accounting, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, index fund, Isaac Newton, law of one price, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

.: Harvard University Press, 1998), p. 123. 32. Abraham Pais, The Science and Life of Albert Einstein (London: Oxford University Press, 1982), p. 17; see also the discussion on p. 89. 33. On Brown and the history of Brownian motion, see D. J. Mabberley, Jupiter Botanicus: Robert Brown of the British Museum (Braunschweig, Germany, and London: Verlag von J. Cramer / Natural History Museum, 1985); Brian J. Ford, “Brownian Movement in Clarkia Pollen: A Reprise of the First Observations,” Microscope 40, no. 4 (1992): 235–41; and Stephen Brush, “A History of Random Processes. I. Brownian Movement from Brown to Perrin,” Archive for History of Exact Sciences 5, no. 34 (1968). 34. Pais, Albert Einstein, pp. 88–100. 35. Albert Einstein, quoted in Ronald William Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times (New York: HarperCollins, 1984), p. 77.

After all, if the chests of 5,738 Scottish soldiers distribute themselves nicely along the curve of the normal distribution and the average yearly mileage of 200 million drivers can vary by as little as 100 miles from year to year, it doesn’t take an Einstein to guess that the 10 septillion or so molecules in a liter of gas might exhibit some interesting regularities. But actually it did take an Einstein to finally convince the scientific world of the need for that new approach to physics. Albert Einstein did it in 1905, the same year in which he published his first work on relativity. And though hardly known in popular culture, Einstein’s 1905 paper on statistical physics proved equally revolutionary. In the scientific literature, in fact, it would become his most cited work.32 EINSTEIN’S 1905 WORK on statistical physics was aimed at explaining a phenomenon called Brownian motion. The process was named for Robert Brown, botanist, world expert in microscopy, and the person credited with writing the first clear description of the cell nucleus.

pages: 356 words: 95,647

Sun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking by Charles Seife


Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Brownian motion, correlation does not imply causation, Dmitri Mendeleev, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gary Taubes, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Mikhail Gorbachev, Project Plowshare, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, the scientific method, Yom Kippur War INTRODUCTION Circe warned me to shun the island of the blessed sun-god, for it was here, she said, that our worst danger would lie. —THE ODYSSEY, TRANSLATED BY SAMUEL BUTLER The dream is as ancient as humanity: unlimited power. It has driven generation after generation of scientists to the brink of insanity. In 1905, after centuries of attempts to build perpetual motion machines, scientists discovered an essentially limitless source of energy. With his famous equation, E = mc2, Albert Einstein discovered that a minuscule chunk of mass could, theoretically, be converted into an enormous amount of energy. Indeed, E = mc 2 is the equation that describes why the sun shines; at its core, the sun is constantly converting matter to energy in a reaction known as fusion. If scientists could do the same thing on Earth—if they could convert matter into energy with a controlled fusion reaction—scientists could satisfy humanity’s energy needs until the end of time.

Indeed, the radium would always be hotter than its surroundings, even though there were no external sources of heat. Marie Curie herself was baffled. She suspected that some sort of change was happening at the center of the radium atom, but she didn’t know what it could be—or how such a tiny chunk of matter could produce so much energy. The answer would come a few years later when the young Albert Einstein formulated his theory of relativity. The theory revolutionized the way scientists perceive space, time, and motion. One of the equations that came out of the theory was E = mc2, the most famous scientific equation of all time. E = mc2 showed that matter, m, could be converted into energy, E. This was the secret to the seemingly endless fountain of energy coming from radium. If you put a gram of radium in a sealed ampule, over many, many years the radium (a whitish metal) will gradually disappear.

Physicists soon joined the chemists in their support of atomic theory; they began to provide evidence for the existence of tiny atomic particles. Theorists like Ludwig Boltzmann realized that you could explain the properties of gases simply by imagining matter as a collection of atoms madly bouncing around. Observers even saw the random motion of atoms indirectly: the jostling of water molecules makes a tiny pollen grain swim erratically about. (Albert Einstein helped explain this phenomenon—Brownian motion—in 1905.) Though a few stubborn holdouts absolutely refused to believe in atomic theory,14 by the beginning of the twentieth century the scientific community was convinced. Matter was made of invisible atoms of various kinds: hydrogen atoms, oxygen atoms, carbon atoms, iron atoms, gold atoms, uranium atoms, and a few dozen others. But, as scientists were soon to find out, atoms are not quite as uncuttable as the ancient Greeks thought.

pages: 416 words: 106,582

This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman


23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Satyajit Das, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, selection bias, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game

It involves setting up an imagined piece of apparatus and running a simple experiment with it in your mind, for the purpose of proving or disproving a hypothesis. In many cases, a gedankenexperiment is the only approach. An actual experiment to examine retrieval of information falling into a black hole cannot be carried out. The notion was particularly important during the development of quantum mechanics, when legendary gedankenexperiments were conducted by the likes of Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein to test such novel ideas as the uncertainty principle and wave-particle duality. Examples, like that of “Schrödinger’s cat,” have even come into the popular lexicon. Is the cat simultaneously dead and alive? Others, particularly the classic double slit through which a particle/wave passes, were part of the first attempt to understand quantum mechanics and have remained as tools for understanding its meaning.

In one study, a group of participants was asked to play a simple five-finger exercise on the piano while another group of participants was asked to think about playing the same tune in their heads using the same finger movements, one note at a time. Both groups showed a change in their motor cortex, with differences among the group who mentally rehearsed the tune as great as those who did so physically. Losing retention? Decide how far you want to apply Albert Einstein’s law of memory. When asked why he went to the phone book to get his number, he replied that he memorized only those things he couldn’t look up. There’s a lot to remember these days. Between the dawn of civilization and 2003, there were five exabytes of data collected (an exabyte equals 1 quintillion bytes). Today five exabytes of data gets collected every two days! Soon there will be five exabytes every few minutes.

Thus, a simple glance at the dark night sky reveals that the universe must be dynamic: expanding, or evolving. Astronomers grappled with this paradox for several centuries, devising unworkable schemes for its resolution. Despite at least one correct view (by Edgar Allan Poe!), the implications never really permeated even the small community of people thinking about the fundamental structure of the universe. And so it was that Albert Einstein, when he went to apply his new theory to the universe, sought an eternal and static model that could never make sense, introduced a term into his equations which he later called his greatest blunder, and failed to invent the Big Bang theory of cosmology. Nature appears to contradict itself with the utmost rarity, and so a paradox can be an opportunity for us to lay bare our cherished assumptions and discover which of them we must let go.

pages: 316 words: 90,165

You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves by Hiawatha Bray


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, British Empire, call centre, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, digital map, don't be evil, Edmond Halley, Edward Snowden, Firefox, game design, Google Earth, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, license plate recognition, lone genius, openstreetmap, polynesian navigation, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFID, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, trade route, turn-by-turn navigation, uranium enrichment, urban planning, V2 rocket, Zipcar

Anschütz was certain that the Sperry product violated his own company’s German and British patents. He filed suit against Sperry in both countries. The suits dragged well beyond the start of World War I, with predictable results. Sperry was victorious in Britain, but beaten in Germany. If local nationalism wasn’t enough of an edge for Anschütz, he also benefited from the testimony of his expert witness, a veteran Swiss patent inspector named Albert Einstein.10 Ultimately, it did not matter. With the British wartime blockade, Sperry couldn’t sell in Germany. The British and Americans were eager to buy, and after the war the victorious Allies seized all German patents, ensuring that the judgment against Sperry was never enforced. Sperry also pioneered the use of the same technology in airplanes. Once again, Sperry began with the idea of a gyrostabilizer, a machine that would enable aircraft to fly straight and level even when buffeted by unpredictable gusts of wind.

And not because of a lack of suitable technology. One of the world’s leading theoretical physicists insisted that the very laws of nature made inertial navigation impossible. George Gamow, a Ukrainian scientist who had fled life under Joseph Stalin and emigrated to the United States, would play a major role in developing the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe and a minor role in the history of navigation. Gamow asserted that Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity ensured that an inertial navigator would never work. One of the curious consequences of Einstein’s theory was the equivalence of acceleration and gravity. The force of acceleration that pushes you back against your car seat when you step on the gas is indistinguishable from the force of gravity that presses your body downward, toward the center of the earth. Being inside an inertial navigation device would be like being strapped into a seat inside a box with no windows.

Three years later Navigation Technology Satellite II, the last of the TIMATION family, flew into orbit with a pair of cesium atomic clocks, the most accurate timepieces flown so far. NTS II was arguably the first true GPS satellite, though it was far from capable of real-world use. Instead, its precise radio signals provided the essential data needed to build an operational system. Among the most crucial observations was confirmation of one of Albert Einstein’s odder predictions. Einstein’s theories of general and special relativity held that although time might seem relentless and inexorable to humans, it is actually quite variable. For instance, time passes more slowly for someone on a moving train than it does for a person sitting on a park bench, watching the train roll by. Moreover, Einstein argued that time would move faster for a person floating in space than it would for a person on earth, because as you draw closer to a planet’s gravity field, time slows down.

pages: 493 words: 139,845

Women Leaders at Work: Untold Tales of Women Achieving Their Ambitions by Elizabeth Ghaffari


Albert Einstein, AltaVista, business process, cloud computing, Columbine, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, dark matter, family office, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, follow your passion, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, high net worth, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, performance metric, pink-collar, profit maximization, profit motive, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, thinkpad, trickle-down economics, urban planning, women in the workforce, young professional

They showed an ability to understand complementary disciplines and what those other perspectives might add to their own development or career. They were intrigued by the different ways their profession might grow and benefit through contact with other similar or dissimilar professional interests. That describes Dr. Sandra Witelson—professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Inaugural Albert Einstein/Irving Zucker Chair in Neuroscience at the DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario)—who developed “The Brain Bank” for comparative analysis of the brain's structure. It also describes Dr. Jennifer Tour Chayes, distinguished scientist, mathematician, co-founder, and managing director of Microsoft's NERD Center (New England Research & Development). Those among them who chose to have children are extremely proud of their families and their individuality.

Several of our Springboard alumnae are now active investors and find that Springboard companies are a great source of lucrative investment opportunities. Sandra F. Witelson Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McMaster University Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Dr. Sandra Freedman Witelson is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She is the inaugural recipient of the Albert Einstein/Irving Zucker Chair in Neuroscience at the university's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. Her current research is focused on the relationship between brain structure and function using postmortem neuroanatomical study of the brains banked in her brain collection at McMaster University—currently an international public resource for neuroscience, neuroimaging, and molecular biology. She earned a bachelor's of science, a master's of science, and a PhD in psychology from McGill University in Montreal.

Witelson concentrated on expanding the brain bank at McMaster University, as well as her research in cognitive neuroanatomy to understand the relationship between the structure of the brain and the behavior of human beings. In 1995, Dr. Witelson's discovery of significant differences between men's and women's brains, specifically in the density of brain cells in the language region, was reported extensively in the media. She was then invited to study the brain of the late Dr. Albert Einstein, and with her associates, published the research findings in the June 1999 issue of Lancet, a prominent British medical journal. Dr. Witelson has been honored with numerous awards, including the Morton Prince Award of the American Psychopathological Association (1976); the John Dewan Prize, awarded by the Ontario Mental Health Foundation (1978), recognizing an outstanding researcher for contribution to significant new knowledge or concepts bearing upon mental health; and the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry Research Fund Award (1978), awarded for outstanding research in the field of mental health conducted in Canada.

pages: 467 words: 154,960

Trend Following: How Great Traders Make Millions in Up or Down Markets by Michael W. Covel


Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, backtesting, beat the dealer, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, Clayton Christensen, commodity trading advisor, computerized trading, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Elliott wave, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everything should be made as simple as possible, fiat currency, fixed income, game design, hindsight bias, housing crisis, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, linear programming, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, market microstructure, mental accounting, money market fund, Myron Scholes, Nash equilibrium, new economy, Nick Leeson, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, South Sea Bubble, Stephen Hawking, survivorship bias, systematic trading, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, value at risk, Vanguard fund, volatility arbitrage, William of Occam, zero-sum game

When lightning struck LTCM, trend followers were assessing the same markets—playing the zero-sum game at the same time. In hindsight, the old-guard Chicago professors were clearly aware of the problem as Nobel Laureate Professor Merton Miller pondered: “Models that they were using, not just Black-Scholes models, but other kinds of models, were based on normal behavior in the markets and when the behavior got wild, no models were able to put up with it.”35 If only the principals at LTCM had remembered Albert Einstein’s quote that elegance was for tailors, part of his observation Chapter 4 • Big Events, Crashes, and Panics 155 about how beautiful formulas could pose problems in the real world. LTCM had the beautiful formulas; they were just not for the real world. Eugene Fama, Scholes’ thesis advisor, had long held deep reservations about his student’s options pricing model: “If the population of price changes is strictly normal [distribution], on the average for any stock…an observation more than five standard deviations from the mean should be observed about once every 7,000 years.

Pedro pitched into the eighth only five times in his 29 regularseason starts, and simply didn’t pitch well after he’d thrown 100 pitches, the number he’d tossed before taking the mound in the eighth. In fact, during 2003, opponents’ batting averages went up .139 after Pedro tossed his 105th pitch—strong evidence that he’d continue to weaken. That it would turn out badly was likely, as most everyone knew—and as the Red Sox computers knew.30 190 The truth of a theory is in your mind, not in your eyes. Albert Einstein31 Trend Following (Updated Edition): Learn to Make Millions in Up or Down Markets doubt that an analysis of numbers to make baseball decisions, as evidenced by Bill James, Billy Beane, and John W. Henry, is smart business. It is a smart way to play the odds. Key Points • John W. Henry: “Life is too dynamic to remain static.” • If you have realistic confidence in your method and yourself, then temporary setbacks don’t matter.

It might feel like there should be something more exciting, more glamorous, more fun to do in which case you might consider a trip to Las Vegas. If you want to win, you execute the signal as prescribed. That means you trade at price level 20, and you throw the curve ball when called for by the coach. What do you want? Fun, excitement and glamour? Or do you want to execute correctly and possibly win? Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. Albert Einstein 218 Trend Following (Updated Edition): Learn to Make Millions in Up or Down Markets Process Versus Outcome The Greek philosopher Archilochus tells us, the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one great thing. The fox— artful, sly and astute— represents the financial institution that knows many things about complex markets and sophisticated marketing. The hedgehog—whose sharp spines give it almost impregnable armor when it curls into a ball—is the financial institution that knows only one great thing: longterm investment success is based on simplicity.

pages: 532 words: 133,143

To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science by Steven Weinberg


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Astronomia nova, Brownian motion, Commentariolus, cosmological constant, dark matter, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, fudge factor, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, music of the spheres, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, retrograde motion, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

For instance, leading physicists at the turn of the twentieth century, including Hendrik Lorentz and Max Abraham, devoted themselves to understanding the structure of the recently discovered electron. It was hopeless; no one could have made progress in understanding the nature of the electron before the advent of quantum mechanics some two decades later. The development of the special theory of relativity by Albert Einstein was made possible by Einstein’s refusal to worry about what electrons are. Instead he worried about how observations of anything (including electrons) depend on the motion of the observer. Then Einstein himself in his later years addressed the problem of the unification of the forces of nature, and made no progress because no one at the time knew enough about these forces. Another important difference between Hellenistic scientists and their Classical predecessors is that the Hellenistic era was less afflicted by a snobbish distinction between knowledge for its own sake and knowledge for use—in Greek, episteme versus techne (or in Latin, scientia versus ars).

The 1920s saw the advent of quantum mechanics, a radically new framework for physical theory. Instead of calculating the trajectories of a planet or a particle, one calculates the evolution of waves of probability, whose intensity at any position and time tells us the probability of finding the planet or particle then and there. The abandonment of determinism so appalled some of the founders of quantum mechanics, including Max Planck, Erwin Schrödinger, Louis de Broglie, and Albert Einstein, that they did no further work on quantum mechanical theories, except to point out the unacceptable consequences of these theories. Some of the criticisms of quantum mechanics by Schrödinger and Einstein were troubling, and continue to worry us today, but by the end of the 1920s quantum mechanics had already been so successful in accounting for the properties of atoms, molecules, and photons that it had to be taken seriously.

Small discrepancies between theory and observation remained, in the motion of the Moon and of Halley’s and Encke’s comets, and in a precession of the perihelia of the orbit of Mercury that was observed to be 43" (seconds of arc) per century greater than could be accounted for by gravitational forces produced by the other planets. The discrepancies in the motion of the Moon and comets were eventually traced to nongravitational forces, but the excess precession of Mercury was not explained until the advent in 1915 of the general theory of relativity of Albert Einstein. In Newton’s theory the gravitational force at a given point and a given time depends on the positions of all masses at the same time, so a sudden change of any of these positions (such as a flare on the surface of the Sun) produces an instantaneous change in gravitational forces everywhere. This was in conflict with the principle of Einstein’s 1905 special theory of relativity, that no influence can travel faster than light.

pages: 330 words: 77,729

Big Three in Economics: Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes by Mark Skousen


Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business climate, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, delayed gratification, experimental economics, financial independence, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, liberation theology, liquidity trap, means of production, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, open economy, paradox of thrift, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, price stability, pushing on a string, rent control, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, unorthodox policies, Vilfredo Pareto, zero-sum game

His teaching at Harvard was interrupted when he joined the Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency) in 1942. After the war, Sweezy came up for tenure at Harvard, but despite vigorous backing by Schumpeter, was rejected, never to have a permanent academic position again. In 1949, he co-founded Monthly Review, "an independent socialist magazine," whose first issue made a major splash by publishing "Why Socialism?" by Albert Einstein. (Einstein's essay is remarkably Marxist in tone.) Sweezy has been associated with Monthly Review ever since, in addition to collaborating with Paul Baran on writing Monopoly£apital (1966). Yet throughout his career, Sweezy was known for taking "far-fetched and unreal" positions (his words), such as his arch defense of Fidel Castro's Cuba (a nation currently ranked by the UN as the world's worst human rights violator) and his constant anticipation of capitalism's imminent collapse (1942,363).

Some Keynesians, such as Charles Hession and John Kenneth Galbraith, emphatically insist that the correct title is The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, without the comma. True, no commas were used on the cover of the original, but in the preface, Keynes added a comma after "employment." Keynes identified with the great scientists of the past. Adam Smith and Roger Babson compared their analytical systems to those of Sir Isaac Newton, and Keynes emulated Albert Einstein. Keynes's book title refers to Einstein's general theory of relativity. His book, he said, created a "general" theory of economic behavior while he relegated the classical model to a "special" case and treated classical economists as "Euclidean geometers in a non-Euclidean world" (Skidelsky 1992, 487). Like Marx, Keynes had high hopes that his magnum opus would be read by students and the general public and convinced Macmillan to price the 400-page treatise at only five shillings.

He has made innumerable contributions to pure mathematical economics, for which he has been both honored and blamed—honored for making economics a pure logical science, and blamed for carrying the Ricardian vice and Walrasian equilibrium analysis to an extreme, devoid of any empirical work. (See chapters 2 and 4.) For his popular and scientific works, the academic community has awarded Samuelson virtually every honor it confers. He was the first American to win the Nobel Prize in economics, in 1970. He was awarded the first John Bates Clark Medal for the brightest economist under forty, and beyond economics, he received the Albert Einstein Medal in 1971. There's even an annual award named after him, the Paul A. Samuelson Award, given for published works in finance. His articles have appeared in all the major (and many minor) journals. He was elected president of the American Economic Association (AEA), has received innumerable honorary degrees from various universities, and has been the subject of many Festschrifts, gatherings at which scholars honor a fellow colleague with essays about his work.

pages: 285 words: 78,180

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life by J. Craig Venter


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, Barry Marshall: ulcers, bioinformatics, borderless world, Brownian motion, clean water, discovery of DNA, double helix, epigenetics, experimental subject, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing machine

What puzzled Brown was that this microscopic motion did not arise from currents in the fluid, or from evaporation, or from any other obvious cause. At first he thought that he had glimpsed “the secret of life,” but after observing the same kind of motion in mineral grains he discarded that belief. The first key step in our current understanding of what Brown had witnessed came more than seventy-five years after his discoveries, when Albert Einstein [1879–1955] demonstrated how the tiny particles were being shoved about by the invisible molecules that made up the water around them. Until Einstein’s 1905 paper, a minority of physicists (notably Ernst Mach [1838–1916]) still doubted the physical reality of atoms and molecules. Einstein’s notion was eventually confirmed with careful experiments conducted in Paris by Jean Baptiste Perrin (1870–1942), who was rewarded for this and other work with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1926.

This would be the ultimate proof by synthesis. 8 Synthesis of the M. mycoides Genome If we want to solve a problem that we have never solved before, we must leave the door to the unknown ajar. —Richard Feynman, 19881 Many believe that the most important innovations of human creativity are the result of some kind of visionary gift, a gift associated with such extraordinary and singular geniuses as Isaac Newton, Michelangelo, Marie Curie, and Albert Einstein. I don’t doubt the incredible impact of individuals who can make great intellectual leaps, who can see further than anyone before them, and who discern patterns where others see only noise. However, there is also a less dramatic kind of creativity that drives science, a humble variety that is no less important: problem-solving.2 Vaulting a single hurdle to achieve one very particular goal can sometimes result in a technology that can prove to have an extraordinary range of other uses.

While these presentations of teleportation are purely fictional, the concept of “quantum teleportation” is very much a reality and was introduced to a wider audience by Michael Crichton in his 1999 novel Timeline, which was later turned into a movie. The origins of quantum teleportation date back much earlier and rest, in part, on an intellectual disagreement between two of Schrödinger’s most impressive peers in the development of the theory of the atomic world (quantum theory): Albert Einstein, who disliked the theory’s strange take on reality, and Niels Bohr (1885–1962), the Danish father of atomic physics. In 1935, in the course of this dispute, Einstein highlighted one perplexing feature of quantum theory with the help of a thought experiment that he devised with his colleagues Boris Podolsky (1896–1966) and Nathan Rosen (1909–1995). They first noted that quantum theory applied not only to single atoms but also to molecules made of groups of atoms.

pages: 243 words: 66,908

Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Meadows. Donella, Diana Wright


affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, game design, Gunnar Myrdal, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Just-in-time delivery, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, peak oil, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Whole Earth Review

My particular teachers (and students who have become my teachers) have been, in addition to Jay: Ed Roberts, Jack Pugh, Dennis Meadows, Hartmut Bossel, Barry Richmond, Peter Senge, John Sterman, and Peter Allen, but I have drawn here from the language, ideas, examples, quotes, books, and lore of a large intellectual community. I express my admiration and gratitude to all its members. I also have drawn from thinkers in a variety of disciplines, who, as far as I know, never used a computer to simulate a system, but who are natural systems thinkers. They include Gregory Bateson, Kenneth Boulding, Herman Daly, Albert Einstein, Garrett Hardin, Václav Havel, Lewis Mumford, Gunnar Myrdal, E.F. Schumacher, a number of modern corporate executives, and many anonymous sources of ancient wisdom, from Native Americans to the Sufis of the Middle East. Strange bedfellows, but systems thinking transcends disciplines and cultures and, when it is done right, it overarches history as well. Having spoken of transcendence, I need to acknowledge factionalism as well.

As a result, complex systems do much more than stay steady or explode exponentially or approach goals smoothly—as we shall see. * Definitions of words in bold face can be found in the Glossary. — TWO— A Brief Visit to the Systems Zoo _____________ The . . . goal of all theory is to make the . . . basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of . . . experience. —Albert Einstein,1 physicist One good way to learn something new is through specific examples rather than abstractions and generalities, so here are several common, simple but important examples of systems that are useful to understand in their own right and that will illustrate many general principles of complex systems. This collection has some of the same strengths and weaknesses as a zoo.2 It gives you an idea of the large variety of systems that exist in the world, but it is far from a complete representation of that variety.

Ramon Margalef, “Perspectives in Ecological Theory,” Co-Evolution Quarterly (Summer 1975), 49. 3. Jay W. Forrester, Industrial Dynamics (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1961), 15. 4. Honoré Balzac, quoted in George P. Richardson, Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991), 54. 5. Jan Tinbergen, quoted in ibid, 44. Chapter Two 1. Albert Einstein, “On the Method of Theoretical Physics,” The Herbert Spencer Lecture, delivered at Oxford (10 June 1933); also published in Philosophy of Science 1, no. 2 (April 1934): 163–69. 2. The concept of a “systems zoo” was invented by Prof. Hartmut Bossel of the University of Kassel in Germany. His three recent “System Zoo” books contain system descriptions and simulation-model documentations of more than 100 “animals,” some of which are included in modified form here.

pages: 272 words: 76,089

Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium by Carl Sagan


Albert Einstein, anti-communist, clean water, cosmic abundance, dark matter, demographic transition, Exxon Valdez, F. W. de Klerk, germ theory of disease, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Mikhail Gorbachev, pattern recognition, planetary scale, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, zero-sum game

That evening, in his small room in the Strand Palace Hotel, he calculated that only a few pounds of matter, if it could be made to undergo a controlled neutron chain reaction, might liberate enough energy to run a small city for a year ... or, if the energy were released suddenly, enough to destroy that city utterly. Szilard eventually emigrated to the United States, and began a systematic search through all the chemical elements to see if any produced more neutrons than collided with them. Uranium seemed a promising candidate. Szilard convinced Albert Einstein to write his famous letter to President Roosevelt urging the United States to build an atomic bomb. Szilard played a major role in the first uranium chain reaction in Chicago in 1942, which in fact led to the atomic bomb. He spent the rest of his life warning about the dangers' of the weapon he had been the first to conceive. He had found, in yet another way, the awesome power of the exponential.

While I do not think that, if there is a god, his plan for me will be altered by prayer, I'm more grateful than I can say to those— including so many whom I've never met—who have pulled for me during my illness. 266 • Billions and Billions Many of them have asked me how it is possible to face death without the certainty of an afterlife. I can only say it hasn't been a problem. With reservations about "feeble souls," I share the view of a hero of mine, Albert Einstein: I cannot conceive of a god who rewards and punishes his creatures or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egotism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.

.: Catholics for a Free Choice, 1989). Carl Sagan, The Dragons of Eden (New York: Random House, 1977). Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search for Who We Are (New York: Random House, 1992). Chapter 17, Gettysburg and Now Lawrence J. Korb, "Military Metamorphosis," Issues in Science and Technology, Winter 1995/6, pp. 75-77. Chapter 19, In the Valley of the Shadow Albert Einstein, The World as I See It (New York: Covici Friede Publishers, 1934).

pages: 626 words: 181,434

I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas R. Hofstadter


Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Brownian motion, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Georg Cantor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Conway, John von Neumann, mandelbrot fractal, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, place-making, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, publish or perish, random walk, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telepresence, Turing machine

The one–two punch of the Norwegian “Pig” and the Sardinian piglet resulted in my following my sister’s lead in completely giving up meat-eating. I also refused to buy leather shoes or belts. Soon I became a fervent proselytizer for my new credo, and I remember how gratified I was that I managed to sway a couple of my friends for a few months, although to my disappointment, they gradually gave up on it. In those days, I often wondered how some of my personal idols — Albert Einstein, for instance — could have been meat-eaters. I found no explanation, although recently, to my great pleasure, a Web search yielded hints that Einstein’s sympathies were, in fact, toward vegetarianism, and not for health reasons but out of compassion towards living beings. But I didn’t know that fact back then, and in any case many other heroes of mine were certainly carnivores who knew exactly what they were doing.

In fact, if colloidal particles are added to a glass of water, then it becomes a locus of Brownian motion, which is an incessant random jiggling of the colloidal particles, due to a myriad of imperceptible collisions with the water molecules, which are far tinier. (The colloidal particles here play the role of simmballs, and the water molecules play the role of simms.) The effect, which is visible under a microscope, was explained in great detail in 1905 by Albert Einstein using the theory of molecules, which at the time were only hypothetical entities, but Einstein’s explanation was so far-reaching (and, most crucially, consistent with experimental data) that it became one of the most important confirmations that molecules do exist. Who Shoves Whom Around inside the Careenium? And so we finally have come to the crux of the matter: Which of these two views of the careenium is the truth?

This is not the meaning I have in mind, either. The idea I want to convey by the phrase “a symbol in the brain” is that some specific structure inside your cranium (or your careenium, depending on what species you belong to) gets activated whenever you think of, say, the Eiffel Tower. That brain structure, whatever it might be, is what I would call your “Eiffel Tower symbol”. You also have an “Albert Einstein” symbol, an “Antarctica” symbol, and a “penguin” symbol, the latter being some kind of structure inside your brain that gets triggered when you perceive one or more penguins, or even when you are just thinking about penguins without perceiving any. There are also, in your brain, symbols for action concepts like “kick”, “kiss”, and “kill”, for relational concepts like “before”, “behind”, and “between”, and so on.

pages: 634 words: 185,116

From eternity to here: the quest for the ultimate theory of time by Sean M. Carroll


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, Columbine, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix,, gravity well, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, lone genius, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener,, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Schrödinger's Cat, Slavoj Žižek, Stephen Hawking, stochastic process, the scientific method, wikimedia commons

Turning this vague scenario into an honest cosmological model will require that we actually take advantage of the mysterious vacuum energy that dominates our universe. Getting there from here requires a deeper understanding of curved spacetime and relativity, to which we now turn. PART TWO TIME IN EINSTEIN’S UNIVERSE 4 TIME IS PERSONAL Time travels in divers paces with divers persons. —William Shakespeare, As You Like It When most people hear “scientist,” they think “Einstein.” Albert Einstein is an iconic figure; not many theoretical physicists attain a level of celebrity in which their likeness appears regularly on T-shirts. But it’s an intimidating, distant celebrity. Unlike, say, Tiger Woods, the precise achievements Einstein is actually famous for remain somewhat mysterious to many people who would easily recognize his name.53 His image as the rumpled, absentminded professor, with unruly hair and baggy sweaters, contributes to the impression of someone who embodied the life of the mind, disdainful of the mundane realities around him.

For one thing, the rumpled look with the Don King hair attained in his later years bore little resemblance to the sharply dressed, well-groomed young man with the penetrating stare who was responsible for overturning physics more than once in the early decades of the twentieth century.54 For another, the origins of the theory of relativity go beyond armchair speculations about the nature of space and time; they can be traced to resolutely practical concerns of getting persons and cargo to the right place at the right time. Figure 10: Albert Einstein in 1912. His “miraculous year” was 1905, while his work on general relativity came to fruition in 1915. Special relativity, which explains how the speed of light can have the same value for all observers, was put together by a number of researchers over the early years of the twentieth century. (Its successor, general relativity, which interpreted gravity as an effect of the curvature of spacetime, was due almost exclusively to Einstein.)

This was problematic, as the Temperance movement was strong in America at the time, and Berkeley in particular was completely dry; a recurring theme in Boltzmann’s account is his attempts to smuggle wine into various forbidden places.193 We will probably never know what mixture of failing health, depression, and scientific controversy contributed to his ultimate act. On the question of the existence of atoms and their utility in understanding the properties of macroscopic objects, any lingering doubts that Boltzmann was right were rapidly dissipating when he died. One of Albert Einstein’s papers in his “miraculous year” of 1905 was an explanation of Brownian motion (the seemingly random motion of small particles suspended in air) in terms of collisions with individual atoms; most remaining skepticism on the part of physicists was soon swept away. Questions about the nature of entropy and the Second Law remain with us, of course. When it comes to explaining the low entropy of our early universe, we won’t ever be able to say, “Boltzmann was right,” because he suggested a number of different possibilities without ever settling on one in particular.

pages: 612 words: 181,985

Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen


Albert Einstein, anti-communist, experimental subject, operation paperclip, Ronald Reagan, V2 rocket, éminence grise

Robertson spoke German fluently and was respected by Germany’s academic elite not just for his scientific accomplishments but because he had studied, in 1925, in Göttingen and Munich. Before the war, Dr. Robertson counted many leading German scientists as his friends. World War II changed his perspective, notably regarding any German scientist who stayed and worked for Hitler. While at Princeton, Dr. Robertson had become friendly with Albert Einstein. The two men worked on theoretical projects together and spent time discussing Hitler, National Socialism, and the war. Einstein, born in Germany, had worked there until 1933, becoming director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics and professor at the University of Berlin. But when Hitler came to power, Einstein immediately renounced his citizenship in defiance of the Nazi Party and immigrated to the United States.

Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress, penned a scathing letter to Secretary of War Patterson that was made public. “As long as we reward former servants of Hitler, while leaving his victims in D. P. [displaced-persons] camps, we cannot even pretend that we are making any real effort to achieve the aims we fought for.” Eleanor Roosevelt became personally involved in protesting Operation Paperclip, organizing a conference at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel with Albert Einstein as honored guest. The former First Lady urged the United States government to suspend visas for all Germans for twelve years. When professors at Syracuse University learned that a new colleague, Dr. Heinz Fischer, an expert in infrared technology and a former member of the Nazi Party, had been sent by the army to work in one of their university laboratories under a secret military contract, they wrote an editorial for the New York Times.

“Certainly not wishing to jeopardize the legitimate needs of the national defense, and not advocating the policy of hatred and vengeance toward our former enemies, we nevertheless believe that a large-scale importation of German scientists… is not in keeping with the best objectives of American domestic and foreign policy,” the members of FAS wrote. One American scientist was more forthright. “Certainly any person who can transfer loyalties from one idealology [sic] to another upon the shifting of a meal ticket is not better than Judas!” he said. Albert Einstein was the most esteemed figure to publicly denounce Operation Paperclip. In an impassioned letter, written on behalf of his FAS colleagues, Einstein appealed directly to President Truman. “We hold these individuals to be potentially dangerous.… Their former eminence as Nazi Party members and supporters raises the issue of their fitness to become American citizens and hold key positions in American industrial, scientific and educational institutions.”

pages: 855 words: 178,507

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick


Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, bank run, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, citation needed, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter,, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, lifelogging, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, Simon Singh, Socratic dialogue, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, talking drums, the High Line, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, Turing machine, Turing test, women in the workforce

Whatever I can understand, I must completely understand.♦ Gödel’s retort took care of them both. “Russell evidently misinterprets my result; however, he does so in a very interesting manner,” he wrote. “In contradistinction Wittgenstein … advances a completely trivial and uninteresting misinterpretation.”♦ In 1933 the newly formed Institute for Advanced Study, with John von Neumann and Albert Einstein among its first faculty members, invited Gödel to Princeton for the year. He crossed the Atlantic several more times that decade, as fascism rose and the brief glory of Vienna began to fade. Gödel, ignorant of politics and naïve about history, suffered depressive breakdowns and bouts of hypochondria that forced him into sanatoria. Princeton beckoned but Gödel vacillated. He stayed in Vienna in 1938, through the Anschluss, as the Vienna Circle ceased to be, its members murdered or exiled, and even in 1939, when Hitler’s army occupied his native Czechoslovakia.

.… The night was noisier than the day, and at the ghostly hour of midnight, for what strange reasons no one knows, the babel was at its height.♦ But engineers could now see the noise on their oscilloscopes, interfering with and degrading their clean waveforms, and naturally they wanted to measure it, even if there was something quixotic about measuring a nuisance so random and ghostly. There was a way, in fact, and Albert Einstein had shown what it was. In 1905, his finest year, Einstein published a paper on Brownian motion, the random, jittery motion of tiny particles suspended in a fluid. Antony van Leeuwenhoek had discovered it with his early microscope, and the phenomenon was named after Robert Brown, the Scottish botanist who studied it carefully in 1827: first pollen in water, then soot and powdered rock. Brown convinced himself that these particles were not alive—they were not animalcules—yet they would not sit still.

.”♦ Is it not strange that while we see that most of our human effort is that of directing natural agencies and energies into paths which they would not otherwise take, we should yet have failed to think of primitive organisms, or even of the tissue elements in the bodies of the higher organisms, as possessing also the power of directing physico-chemical processes? When life remained so mysterious, maybe Maxwell’s demon was not just a cartoon. Then the demon began to haunt Leó Szilárd, a very young Hungarian physicist with a productive imagination who would later conceive the electron microscope and, not incidentally, the nuclear chain reaction. One of his more famous teachers, Albert Einstein, advised him out of avuncular protectiveness to take a paying job with the patent office, but Szilárd ignored the advice. He was thinking in the 1920s about how thermodynamics should deal with incessant molecular fluctuations. By definition, fluctuations ran counter to averages, like fish swimming momentarily upstream, and people naturally wondered: what if you could harness them? This irresistible idea led to a version of the perpetual motion machine, perpetuum mobile, holy grail of cranks and hucksters.

pages: 465 words: 124,074

Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism From Hiroshima to Al-Qaeda by John Mueller


airport security, Albert Einstein, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Doomsday Clock, energy security, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, long peace, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, oil shock, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, side project, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

Thus, in the wake of the atomic bombings, notes historian Paul Boyer, “atomic scientists, world-government advocates, and international-control advocates played upon the profound uneasiness pervading the nation.” As a result, “America’s airwaves, pulpits, and lecture halls were full of such frightening fare … as the nation’s atomic fears were manipulated and exacerbated by the media and by political activists.”22 Consequently, atomic scientist Phillip Morrison mused, “We have a chance to build a working peace on the novelty and terror of the atomic bomb,” and Albert Einstein expressed the hope that the bomb “would intimidate the human race into bringing order into its international affairs,” even as another scientist insisted that “only one tactic is dependable—the preaching of doom.” Meanwhile, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists editor Eugene Rabinowitch indicated that a purpose of his publication was “to preserve civilization by scaring men into rationality,” and J.

It soon sported its “doomsday clock” on the cover, suggesting that there was hope of preventing Armageddon, but only if we were quick about it. The clock has remained poised at a few minutes before midnight ever since, from time to time nudged slightly one way or the other by various events. (Amazingly, in 2006 the Bulletin launched a subscription campaign boldly and unapologetically built around the slogan “Dispensing facts instead of fear for over sixty years.”) Led by the legendary Albert Einstein, many atomic scientists quickly came to conclusions expressed with an evangelical certainty they would never have used in discussing the physical world. “As long as there are sovereign nations possessing great power,” Einstein declaimed, “war is inevitable.”3 Nuclear fears continued to be pronounced over the next decade and a half. And in the process, truly massive numbers of people—indeed, the entire population of the earth—several times lost their lives to nuclear explosions, but only in novels, on television, and in the movies.

The most likely path to World War III, as most analysts envisioned it, arose from a process in which the weapons designed to prevent and deter it were inadvertently deployed in a manner that caused it to happen.40 Fortunately, as argued in chapter 3, stability has been greatly overdetermined, and therefore the mutual bluffmanship has ultimately had little consequence. Accordingly, the theatrical form the foreign policy posturing most nearly resembles has been farce. Nuclear weapons did add a new element to international politics: new pieces for the players to move around the board, new terrors to contemplate and to anguish over, new ways to dole out the public treasury. But in counter to Albert Einstein’s famous remark that “the atom has changed everything save our way of thinking,” it seems rather that nuclear weapons changed little except our way of talking, posturing, and spending money.41 That is, although the weapons altered history little, they have very substantially influenced, mostly in a detrimental manner, the way people have gesticulated, scurried about, and expended funds. PART II The Spread of Nuclear Weapons 6 Arms Races Positive and Negative The technological fixation on nuclear weapons and the concomitant assumption, or assertion, that weapons are a crucial cause of war have led to decades of focused anguish over nuclear arms control and disarmament issues.

pages: 377 words: 115,122

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain


8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, game design, hive mind, index card, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, traveling salesman, Walter Mischel, web application, white flight

I was my own first client. * Answer key: exercise: extroverts; commit adultery: extroverts; function well without sleep: introverts; learn from our mistakes: introverts; place big bets: extroverts; delay gratification: introverts; be a good leader: in some cases introverts, in other cases extroverts, depending on the type of leadership called for; ask “what if”: introverts. * Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, W. B. Yeats, Frédéric Chopin, Marcel Proust, J. M. Barrie, George Orwell, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Charles Schulz, Steven Spielberg, Larry Page, J. K. Rowling. * This is an informal quiz, not a scientifically validated personality test. The questions were formulated based on characteristics of introversion often accepted by contemporary researchers. Part One THE EXTROVERT IDEAL 1 THE RISE OF THE “MIGHTY LIKEABLE FELLOW” How Extroversion Became the Cultural Ideal Strangers’ eyes, keen and critical.

Just as Tony Robbins’s aggressive upselling is OK with his fans because spreading helpful ideas is part of being a good person, and just as HBS expects its students to be talkers because this is seen as a prerequisite of leadership, so have many evangelicals come to associate godliness with sociability. 3 WHEN COLLABORATION KILLS CREATIVITY The Rise of the New Groupthink and the Power of Working Alone I am a horse for a single harness, not cut out for tandem or teamwork … for well I know that in order to attain any definite goal, it is imperative that one person do the thinking and the commanding. —ALBERT EINSTEIN March 5, 1975. A cold and drizzly evening in Menlo Park, California. Thirty unprepossessing-looking engineers gather in the garage of an unemployed colleague named Gordon French. They call themselves the Homebrew Computer Club, and this is their first meeting. Their mission: to make computers accessible to regular people—no small task at a time when most computers are temperamental SUV-sized machines that only universities and corporations can afford.

—WILLIAM JAMES Meet Professor Brian Little, former Harvard University psychology lecturer and winner of the 3M Teaching Fellowship, sometimes referred to as the Nobel Prize of university teaching. Short, sturdy, bespectacled, and endearing, Professor Little has a booming baritone, a habit of breaking into song and twirling about onstage, and an old-school actor’s way of emphasizing consonants and elongating vowels. He’s been described as a cross between Robin Williams and Albert Einstein, and when he makes a joke that pleases his audience, which happens a lot, he looks even more delighted than they do. His classes at Harvard were always oversubscribed and often ended with standing ovations. In contrast, the man I’m about to describe seems a very different breed: he lives with his wife in a tucked-away house on more than two acres of remote Canadian woods, visited occasionally by his children and grandchildren, but otherwise keeping to himself.

pages: 461 words: 128,421

The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street by Justin Fox


activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, card file, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discovery of the americas, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, Edward Thorp, endowment effect, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, floating exchange rates, George Akerlof, Henri Poincaré, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, impulse control, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, libertarian paternalism, linear programming, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market design, Myron Scholes, New Journalism, Nikolai Kondratiev, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, performance metric, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pushing on a string, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, volatility smile, Yogi Berra

From this beginning, Bachelier realized, “it is possible to study mathematically the static state of the market at a given instant, i.e., to establish the law of probability of price changes consistent with the market at that instant.”5 It was a view of the market as a game of chance, like roulette or dice. And just as games of chance can be described mathematically (and had been since the 1500s), Bachelier sketched the probabilities of the exchange. His work was so innovative that when Albert Einstein employed similar mathematical tools five years later to describe the random motion of tiny particles suspended in a fluid or a gas—called “Brownian motion,” after the botanist who first noted it—he helped lay the foundations of nuclear physics. But while physicists, building upon Einstein’s work, were putting together atomic bombs by the 1940s, practical application of Bachelier’s insights would not emerge until the 1970s.

The developments of the late 1930s, in which young Keynesians grafted a few kludgy imperfect-foresight formulas onto the body of perfect-foresight mathematical economics, aggravated him. He began consorting with the scientists and mathematicians of Vienna, one of whom steered him toward a 1928 paper about poker written by Hungarian mathematician John von Neumann.4 After emigrating to the United States in 1930, von Neumann became the brightest intellectual light at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, a place that also employed Albert Einstein. He helped plan the Battle of the Atlantic, design the atomic bomb, and invent the computer. In the late 1950s, dying of bone cancer likely brought on by witnessing one too many atomic test blasts, he peddled his doctrine of nuclear brinksmanship while rolling his wheelchair down the halls of power in Washington—providing at least part of the inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.

Had any of them, Savage wondered, heard of the guy or the book? Samuelson set to searching the libraries of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for the book. He found something far more interesting: Bachelier’s 1900 doctoral dissertation, the Théorie de la spéculation. Samuelson recognized almost immediately that Bachelier’s densely mathematical description of market behavior was almost identical to Albert Einstein’s description of Brownian motion—the random movement of microscopic particles suspended in a liquid or gas. The significance of this discovery to the subsequent development of quantitative finance cannot be overstated. Economists and finance professors could claim that one of their own—and they embraced the deceased French mathematician as such—had beaten the great Einstein to a major discovery.

pages: 261 words: 86,261

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman by Richard P. Feynman, Jeffrey Robbins


Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, impulse control, index card, John von Neumann, Murray Gell-Mann, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, the scientific method

Ultimately, for fun again and intellectual pleasure, we could imagine machines as tiny as a few microns across, with wheels and cables all interconnected by wires, silicon connections, so that the thing as a whole, a very large device, moves not like the awkward motions of our present stiff machines but in the smooth way of the neck of a swan, which after all is a lot of little machines, the cells all interconnected and all controlled in a smooth way. Why can’t we do that ourselves? ______ *John von Neumann (1903–1957), a Hungarian-American mathematician who is credited as being one of the fathers of the computer. Ed. *The jerky movements of particles caused by the constant random collisions of molecules, first noted in print in 1928 by botanist Robert Brown, and explained by Albert Einstein in a 1905 paper in Annalen der Physik. Ed. *Sci. Am. July 1985; Japanese Transl.–SAIENSU, Sept. 1985. Ed. 3 LOS ALAMOS FROM BELOW And now a little something on the lighter side—gems about wisecracker (not to mention safecracker) Feynman getting in and out of trouble at Los Alamos: getting his own private room by seeming to break the no-women-in-the-men’s-dormitory rule; outwitting the camp’s censors; rubbing shoulders with great men like Robert Oppenheimer, Niels Bohr, and Hans Bethe; and the awesome distinction of being the only man to stare straight at the first atomic blast without protective goggles, an experience that changed Feynman forever.

So this was the first technical talk that I ever gave. I started to prepare the thing. Then Wigner came to me and said that he thought the work was important enough that he’d made special invitations to the seminar to Professor Pauli, who was a great professor of physics visiting from Zurich; to Professor von Neumann, the world’s greatest mathematician; to Henry Norris Russell, the famous astronomer; and to Albert Einstein, who was living near there. I must have turned absolutely white or something because he said to me, “Now don’t get nervous about it, don’t be worried about it. First of all, if Professor Russell falls asleep, don’t feel bad, because he always falls asleep at lectures. When Professor Pauli nods as you go along, don’t feel good, because he always nods, he has palsy,” and so on. That kind of calmed me down a bit, but I was still worried.

I enjoyed that and I took his car and every night I went to Hollywood and the Sunset Strip and hung around there and had a good time, and that mixture of good weather and a wider horizon than is available in a small town in upper New York State is what finally convinced me to come here. It wasn’t very hard. It wasn’t a mistake. There was another decision that wasn’t a mistake. NARRATOR: On the California Institute of Technology faculty, Dr. Feynman serves as Richard Chace Tolman Professor of Theoretical Physics. In 1954 he received the Albert Einstein Award, and in 1962 the Atomic Energy Commission gave him the E. O. Laurence Award for “especially meritorious contributions to the development, use or control of atomic energy.” Finally, in 1965, he received the greatest scientific award of all, the Nobel Prize. He shared it with Sin-Itiro Tomonaga of Japan and Julian Schwinger of Harvard. For Dr. Feynman, the Nobel Prize was a rude awakening.

pages: 385 words: 101,761

Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire by Bruce Nussbaum


3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, declining real wages, demographic dividend, Elon Musk,, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, follow your passion, game design, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, invisible hand, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Gruber, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, race to the bottom, reshoring, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tesla Model S, The Chicago School, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The Myth of the Rational Market, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, tulip mania, We are the 99%, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

Gregory, Lenin’s Brain and Other Tales from the Secret Soviet Archives (California: Hoover Institution Press, 2008), 25–26. 8 He played violin, originally: Brian Foster, “Einstein and His Love of Music,” PhysicsWorld, January 2005, accessed September 13, 2012, 8 He struggled in school: Barbara Wolff and Hananya Goodman, “The Legend of the Dull-Witted Child Who Grew Up to Be a Genius,” accessed September 13, 2012, 8 We also know Einstein drew: John S. Rigden, Einstein 1905: The Standard of Greatness. (Boston: Harvard University Press, 2006); Albert Einstein; John Stachel, ed.: Einstein’s Miraculous Year: Five Papers That Changed the Face of Physics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005). 8 While Einstein was a patent clerk: “Einstein in the World Wide Web: Akademie Olympia,” accessed September 13, 2012. 8 Einstein acknowledged the effect: Carl Seelig, ed.; Sonja Bargmann, tr.; Albert Einstein: Ideas and Opinions (New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1954). 8 And we know that Keith Richards: Richards and Fox, Life, 142–43. 8 Oldham, who’d worked for Mary Quant: Ibid., 127–30; Andrew Loog Oldham with Simon Dudfield and Ron Ross, ed., Stoned: A Memoir of London in the 1960s (New York: St.

pages: 336 words: 92,056

The Battery: How Portable Power Sparked a Technological Revolution by Henry Schlesinger


Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, British Empire, Copley Medal, Fellow of the Royal Society, index card, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Livingstone, I presume, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, Robert Metcalfe, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, Yogi Berra

Such was the state of science for centuries; when observation and logic failed, myth and magic filled in the gaps. Still, the idea that nature could be known solely through simple observation and the application of logic became central to European scientific thought and persisted as late as the 1600s. As recently as the early 1900s, Aristotle’s decidedly vague “fifth element”—aether—was still a cause for debate among serious scientists of the day, including Albert Einstein. The more stubborn myths persisted, echoing through the texts, lending credence to unsubstantiated, often incredible claims. The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, the master compiler of nature, included myths and fables alongside his own firsthand observations. In his immense Historia Naturalis, the unicorn is given the same credible treatment as the lion. Without a reliable way to verify the stories that came to him, he dutifully recorded folktales and legends that seem outrageous by modern standards.

Although divided by an ocean and thousands of miles, Henry and Faraday led strangely parallel lives. Born within just a few years of each other—Henry in 1797 and Faraday in 1791—the two scientists saw their most productive years as well as their research overlap. That Henry did not attain the same historic stature as Faraday does not diminish his contributions. Few scientists appear in history books alongside inventors such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, or Samuel F. B. Morse. Names like Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and Isaac Newton are among the handful of exceptions that attest to the rule. One reason is the basic fact that to a large degree, the most enduring legacy of science is knowledge. Scientific experimentation, abstractions, and discovery of underlying principles hold little popular appeal today compared to products that transform everyday life or create vast fortunes. Successful inventors leave behind foundations and museums while successive, evolving versions of their original devices carry their name forward.

Radios were portable only in the sense that they were fitted into a sturdy case that included a handle. 14 Distance Dies in the Parlor “I am often asked how radio works. Well, you see, wire telegraphy is like a very long cat. You yank his tail in New York and he meows in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? Now, radio is exactly the same, except that there is no cat.” —attributed to Albert Einstein Just a few years after World War I, vacuum tube technology, if not perfected, was in a significantly better state than it had been before the hostilities. What’s more, companies such as General Electric, Westinghouse, and RCA were investing in research programs and joint marketing agreements. Amateurs were still broadcasting from attics and garages, making up programming as they went along.

pages: 314 words: 91,652

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn, Ian Hacking


Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, cuban missile crisis, experimental subject, Isaac Newton, The Design of Experiments, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

.; London, 1847), II, 220–21. 4. For the speed of sound, see T. S. Kuhn, “The Caloric Theory of Adiabatic Compression,” Isis, XLIV (1958), 136–37. For the secular shift in Mercury’s perihelion, see E. T. Whittaker, A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity, II (London, 1953), 151, 179. 5. Quoted in T. S. Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution (Cambridge, Mass., 1957), p. 138. 6. Albert Einstein, “Autobiographical Note,” in Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, ed. P. A. Schilpp (Evanston, Ill., 1949), p. 45. 7. Ralph Kronig, “The Turning Point,” in Theoretical Physics in the Twentieth Century: A Memorial Volume to Wolfgang Pauli, ed. M. Fierz and V. F. Weisskopf (New York, 1960), pp. 22, 25–26. Much of this article describes the crisis in quantum mechanics in the years immediately before 1925. 8. Herbert Butterfield, The Origins of Modern Science, 1300–1800 (London, 1949), pp. 1–7. 9.

For the other examples in this paragraph, see the earlier references in this section. 12. Kuhn, op. cit., pp. 219–25. 13. E. T. Whittaker, A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity, I (2d ed.; London, 1951), 108. 14. See ibid., II (1953), 151–80, for the development of general relativity. For Einstein’s reaction to the precise agreement of the theory with the observed motion of Mercury’s perihelion, see the letter quoted in P. A. Schilpp (ed.), Albert Einstein, Philosopher-Scientist (Evanston, Ill., 1949), p. 101. 15. For Brahe’s system, which was geometrically entirely equivalent to Copernicus’, see J. L. E. Dreyer, A History of Astronomy from Thales to Kepler (2d ed.; New York, 1953), pp. 359–71. For the last versions of the phlogiston theory and their success, see J. R. Partington and D. McKie, “Historical Studies of the Phlogiston Theory,” Annals of Science, IV (1939), 113–49. 16.

pages: 345 words: 86,394

Frequently Asked Questions in Quantitative Finance by Paul Wilmott


Albert Einstein, asset allocation, beat the dealer, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delta neutral, discrete time, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, fudge factor, implied volatility, incomplete markets, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, iterative process, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, martingale, Myron Scholes, Norbert Wiener, Paul Samuelson, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, risk/return, Sharpe ratio, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, transaction costs, urban planning, value at risk, volatility arbitrage, volatility smile, Wiener process, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

He developed a mathematical theory for random walks, a theory rediscovered later by Einstein. He proposed a model for equity prices, a simple normal distribution, and built on it a model for pricing the almost unheard of options. His model contained many of the seeds for later work, but lay ‘dormant’ for many, many years. It is told that his thesis was not a great success and, naturally, Bachelier’s work was not appreciated in his lifetime. See Bachelier (1995). 1905 Einstein Albert Einstein proposed a scientific foundation for Brownian motion in 1905. He did some other clever stuff as well. See Stachel (1990). 1911 Richardson Most option models result in diffusion-type equations. And often these have to be solved numerically. The two main ways of doing this are Monte Carlo and finite differences (a sophisticated version of the binomial model). The very first use of the finite-difference method, in which a differential equation is discretized into a difference equation, was by Lewis Fry Richardson in 1911, and used to solve the diffusion equation associated with weather forecasting.

John Wiley & Sons Sharpe, WF 1985 Investments. Prentice-Hall Sloan, IH & Walsh, L 1990 A computer search of rank two lattice rules for multidimensional quadrature. Mathematics of Computation 54 281-302 Sobol’, IM 1967 On the distribution of points in cube and the approximate evaluation of integrals. USSR Comp. Maths and Math. Phys. 7 86-112 Stachel, J (ed.) 1990 The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. Princeton University Press Thorp, EO 1962 Beat the Dealer. Vintage Thorp, EO & Kassouf, S 1967 Beat the Market. Random House Thorp, EO 2002 Wilmott magazine, various papers Traub, JF & Wozniakowski, H 1994 Breaking intractability. Scientific American Jan 102-107 Vasicek, OA 1977 An equilibrium characterization of the term structure. Journal of Financial Economics 5 177-188 Wiener, N 1923 Differential space.

There is even some evidence that the distribution of returns have infinite second moment. Despite this, and the existence of financial theories that do incorporate such fat tails, BM motion is easily the most common model used to represent random walks in finance. References and Further Reading Bachelier, L 1995 Théorie de la Spéculation. Jacques Gabay Brown, R 1827 A Brief Account of Microscopical Observations. London Stachel, J (ed.) 1990 The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. Princeton University Press Wiener, N 1923 Differential space. J. Math. and Phys. 58 131-74 What is Jensen’s Inequality and What is its Role in Finance? Short Answer Jensen’s Inequality states2 that if f (·) is a convex function and x is a random variable thenE [f (x)] ≥ f (E [x]). This justifies why non-linear instruments, options, have inherent value. Example You roll a die, square the number of spots you get, you win that many dollars.

pages: 362 words: 97,862

Physics in Mind: A Quantum View of the Brain by Werner Loewenstein


Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, complexity theory, dematerialisation, discovery of DNA, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, informal economy, information trail, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Norbert Wiener, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, stem cell, trade route, Turing machine

Watson, J. D., and Crick, F. H. C. 1953. Genetical implications of the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid. Nature 171:964–967. Weinberg, S. 1992. Dreams of a Final Theory. New York: Pantheon. 13. Expanded Reality A Fine Bouquet Einstein, A. 1956. Autobiographische Skizze. In Helle Zeit—Dunkle Zeit: In Memoriam Albert Einstein, edited by Seelig, C. Zurich: Europa. Főising, A. 1998. Albert Einstein. London and New York: Penguin Books. The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. 1987. Edited by Johan Stachel et al. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Mathematics and Reality Greene, B. 1999. The Elegant Universe. New York: Vintage Books, Random House. Greene, B. 2004. The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality. New York: Alfred Knopf. Holland, J. H., Holyoak, K.

pages: 315 words: 92,151

Ten Billion Tomorrows: How Science Fiction Technology Became Reality and Shapes the Future by Brian Clegg

Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Brownian motion, call centre, Carrington event, combinatorial explosion, don't be evil, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, game design, gravity well, hive mind, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, silicon-based life, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Turing test, V2 rocket

One concept that stretched credibility to its extreme was the holodeck. This provided a bridge between computing and the real world, combining virtual reality with a physical environment, using force fields to simulate real objects and giving the “player” a unique experience that could take them to the African veldt or a nineteenth-century saloon—or, as the character Data famously did, put them in a poker game with Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking—played by the actual scientist and Star Trek fan. Like much science fiction, Star Trek had, ever since the original series, taken shields and tractor beams for granted. We’ll come back to the difficulties with creating a holodeck a little later, but let’s make a start with the basics that would be needed to make it work. Force fields, shields, and tractor beams are all common fictional ways to manipulate objects around us without using matter.

The researchers at the Australian National Laboratory in Canberra made small hollow glass spheres heat up at particular points around their surface with the laser. Where the surface was heated, air molecules that come into contact with the glass gain extra energy. As air molecules push away from the surface, the recoil moves the sphere in the opposite direction. In effect, this is controlled Brownian motion. This is the mechanism that causes small particles like pollen grains to dance around in water, as if they are alive. Albert Einstein explained the effect as being caused by impact from the unseen water molecules on the tiny grains. The interesting aspect of the laser “tractor beam” is that the position heated on the surface of the glass spheres can be modified by changing the polarization of the laser light, so that the effect can be used to move the spheres in any desired direction. The possibilities for using lasers with metamaterials or glass spheres in air are interesting, but useless as an attempt to recreate the tractor beams that we see in science fiction, grabbing hold of a ship in the vacuum of space and pulling it in, because these laser methods require either a special environment (at the very least, air) or that the object to be pulled be made of a special material.

And it was when Einstein did the calculations to accommodate this that some weird stuff dropped out. Particularly of interest here is the discovery that time on a moving spaceship (or anything else) will run slow, when seen from somewhere else not moving at the same velocity. We are used to thinking of relativity as being difficult, involving complicated equations—and this is true of general relativity, the aspect that explains gravity. Even Albert Einstein had to get help with the math in that case. But for special relativity it really is surprisingly simple. For example, the way time slows down on a moving ship is a relatively simple calculation. When we observe from Earth the time on a spaceship, an elapsed period of time (t) just becomes t/(1-v2/c2)½—where v is the velocity of the ship and c is the speed of light. The higher the velocity, the closer the number that t is divided by is to zero, so the longer the time elapsed is.

pages: 410 words: 101,260

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, double helix, Elon Musk, fear of failure, Firefox, George Santayana, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, job-hopping, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum viable product, Network effects, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, risk tolerance, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Wisdom of Crowds, women in the workforce

In 2013 alone, over three hundred thousand patents were granted in the United States. The chances that any one of these inventions will change the world are tiny. Individual creators have far better odds over a lifetime of ideas. When we judge their greatness, we focus not on their averages, but on their peaks. 3 Out on a Limb Speaking Truth to Power “Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds.” Albert Einstein In the early 1990s, a high-flying CIA analyst named Carmen Medina went to Western Europe on a three-year assignment. When she returned to the United States, she found that leaving the country had set her career back. After getting stuck with one job after another that didn’t fit her skills and aspirations, she searched for another way to contribute. She began attending working groups about the future of intelligence.

Over the course of a person’s lifetime, is there a risk of waiting too long to act? The Two Life Cycles of Creativity: Young Geniuses and Old Masters It’s commonly believed that originality flows from the fountain of youth. In the words of famed venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, “People under 35 are the people who make change happen. People over 45 basically die in terms of new ideas.” After publishing his first revolutionary paper on relativity in his midtwenties, Albert Einstein made a similar observation: “A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of 30 will never do so.” Tragically, innovators often do lose their originality over time. After Einstein transformed physics with two papers on relativity, he opposed quantum mechanics, which became the next major revolution in the field. “To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself,” Einstein lamented.

As a social scientist, my bet is that, on average, groups that make decisions based on experiments will outperform those guided by debate between experts. But only the data will tell. Movers and Shapers To his credit, Dalio has been running an investigation of his own. Fascinated with understanding people who shape the world and eager to discern what they have in common, he’s been interviewing many of the most influential originals of our time, and studying historical figures from Benjamin Franklin to Albert Einstein to Steve Jobs. Of course, all of them were driven and imaginative, but I was intrigued by three other qualities on Dalio’s list. “Shapers” are independent thinkers: curious, non-conforming, and rebellious. They practice brutal, nonhierarchical honesty. And they act in the face of risk, because their fear of not succeeding exceeds their fear of failing. Dalio himself fits this description, and the hurdle facing him now is to find another shaper to fill his shoes.

Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (And What We Can Do About It) by William Poundstone

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Debian, desegregation, Donald Trump,, Everything should be made as simple as possible, global village, guest worker program, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, invisible hand, jimmy wales, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, manufacturing employment, Nash equilibrium, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, slashdot, the map is not the territory, Thomas Bayes, transcontinental railway, Unsafe at Any Speed, Y2K

L Title, jK1976,P682008 324.9n-dc22 2007036770 Designed by Maggie Goodman w\vwJsgbooks.eom 3579108642 Frontispkce; Clifford Beny",ans /9 J 2 cartoon exposes the dark lide ofwting. Despite the smiling faces, presidenti,,1 comenders Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow lNilson, and William Howard Taft well kne'F that electionl can be lmfair when there are three Or more candidates. (U.S. Senate Collection. Center for Legislative Archives) To Scott Contents Prologue: The Wizard and the Lizard 3 THE PROBLEM 25 I. Game Theory Kurt Code! • Adolf Hitler· Albert Einstein· Oskar Morgenstern· Bambi· the u.s. Constitution· Joseph Goebbels • God· Kaiser Wilhelm II • John von Neumann" Kenneth Arrow" J\'larxism • Alfred Tarski • intransitivity· Harold Hotelling· ice cream· John Hicks· "Scissors, Paper. Stone" • Duncan Black· the "forty-seven-year-old wife of a machinist liVing in Dayton. Ohio" • the RAND Corporation· Condoleezzrl Rice· Olaf Helmer· Harry Truman· Joseph Stalin· Abram Bergson 2.

Codel had a visa and an open invitation to work at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. As things worked out, he and Porkert would spend the rest of their lives in Princeton. GAMING THE VOTE The years rolled by. In 1947 G6del decided it was time to apply for American citizenship. He needed two American citizens as witnesses. Two of his best Friends volunteered. They were Albert Einstein and Oskar Morgenstern (an economist). Like all immigrants, GodeJ was supposed to study up on the American system of government. He threw himself into the task. Apparently for the first time in his life, he became interested in the political process. The day before the exam, he informed Morgenstern that he had uncovered a logical contradiction in the u.s. Constitution. Morgenstern thought this was amusing-until he realized how serious Godel was about it.

Some like the psychic satisfaction of casting a negative vote for Wintergreen. eBay lets online buyers and sellers rate one another after each transaction. The three allowed choices are called positive, negative, and neutral. (This is not quite evaluative voting, as eBay ignores the neutral votes in computing the ratings. It's really approval voting with an option to abstain.) Smith quotes Albert Einstein: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler:' The choices we make in every election are important. They deserve a little extra effort, if that's what it takes. You may now have noticed something extremely odd. It took Nobel Prize-level work to devise the impossibility theorem. Yet James Hong and Jim Young (re)invented range voting while tossing back a few drinks. Range voting is an omnipresent part of pop culture, as familiar as perfect tens and five-star restaurants.

pages: 127 words: 51,083

The Oil Age Is Over: What to Expect as the World Runs Out of Cheap Oil, 2005-2050 by Matt Savinar


Albert Einstein, clean water, energy security, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, invisible hand, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, post-oil, Ralph Nader, reserve currency, Rosa Parks, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Y2K

It sure would. You didn't see the Marines flushing Uday and Qusay out of that house with anything non-lethal, did you? You think the Marines are going to bust into Osama's cave with non-lethal weapons? No way, they're saving that stuff for you. 83 Part VII: Peak Oil and Global War "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." -Albert Einstein "Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events." -Winston Churchill "Class, in the case of a nuclear attack, get under your desks, put your hands over your head, and kiss your asses goodbye."

But most assume that this day of reckoning is still years away. They too might also be too optimistic. My analysis is leaning me more by the month, the worry that peaking is at hand; not years away. If you think discussing Peak Oil and its likely ramifications are too "pessimistic" ask yourself: 1. Was Winston Churchill being a "pessimist" in 1940 when he told Britain, "I have nothing to offer you but blood, toil, tears, and sweat"? 2. Was Albert Einstein being a "pessimist" in 1939 when he told FDR that Nazi Germany was in the process of developing an atomic bomb? There is a difference between an "optimist" and a fool. An optimist is somebody who looks at bleak facts and decides to make the best of the situation they can. A fool is somebody who looks at bleak facts and decides to ignore them because they are too upsetting. If you want to ignore the harsh reality of Peak Oil, feel free. 95.

pages: 221 words: 61,146

The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets by Alan Boss


Albert Einstein, Dava Sobel, diversified portfolio, full employment, if you build it, they will come, Kuiper Belt, Mars Rover, Pluto: dwarf planet, Silicon Valley, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game

A group of Polish astronomers from Warsaw University had built a 52-inch (1.3-meter) telescope at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile and were using it to study the myriad of stars toward the center of our Galaxy, in the so-called Galactic bulge. They were searching for microlensing events, where an unseen foreground star would pass in front of a visible Galactic bulge star. As predicted by Albert Einstein in 1936, the foreground star’s gravity could bend the light coming from the visible star, causing the light rays to be concentrated in the direction of the Earth. The visible star would thus brighten for a few weeks and then return to normal as if nothing had happened. Einstein had predicted this gravitational lensing effect but did not believe that it could ever be observed. The Polish astronomers decided to prove him wrong.

Keppler CoRoT Mission conference (Paris, France, 2009) CoRoT-Exo-1 b CoRoT-Exo-2 b CoRoT-Exo-4 b CoRoT-Exo-5 b Cosmic Vision Crafoord Prize Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event Crew Exploration Vehicle Cygnus Darwin Emma x-array Darwin free-flyer Darwin Mission Dawn Mission Deep and Ultra Deep Field images (Hubble Space Telescope) Delaney, Jeremy Delfosse, Xavier Deming, Drake Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (Carnegie Institution of Washington) Deuterium Diaz, Alphonso Direct imaging Discovery Mission (NASA) and Principal Investigator Disk instability and gas giant planets and gas giant protoplanets Doppler, Christian Johann (photo) Doppler effect and 51 Pegasi b and Gliese and Gliese 436 b Doppler effect (continued) and Gliese and Gliese 876 b and HD 209458 b and laser comb technique number of planets discovered by See also Doppler spectroscopy; Microlensing; Pulsar timing; Transits Doppler spectroscopy . See also Doppler effect Doppler-Fizeau effect Double planet system Draper, Henry Dressler, Alan Dwarf planets Dwarf stars . See also G dwarf stars; M dwarf stars; Red dwarf stars Dysnomia(photo) Earth-like planets formation of See also Terrestrial planets Ebel, Denton Eccentric orbits and M dwarf stars Ehrenreich, David Einstein, Albert Einstein ring Elachi, Charles Epsilon Eridani Epsilon Tauri Eris(photo) ESA. See European Space Agency Eta Carina Nebula Europe European Southern Observatory (Chile) European Space Agency (ESA; Frascati, Italy) budget for Cosmic Vision Darwin Mission European Union ExExP (Exoplanet Exploration Program) ExNPS (Exploration of Neighboring Planetary Systems) Exoplanet Exploration Program.

pages: 225 words: 54,010

A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright


Albert Einstein, Atahualpa, Bretton Woods, British Empire, clean water, Columbian Exchange, cuban missile crisis, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, invention of agriculture, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, nuclear winter, out of africa, Parkinson's law, Ronald Reagan, Thomas Malthus, urban sprawl

And just when high explosives were reaching a state of perfection, progress found the infinitely bigger bang in the atom. But when the bang we can make can blow up our world, we have made rather too much progress. Several of the scientists who created the atomic bomb recognized this in the 1940s, telling politicians and others that the new weapons had to be destroyed. “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking,” Albert Einstein wrote, “and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophes.” And a few years later, President Kennedy said, “If mankind does not put an end to war, war will put an end to mankind.” When I was a boy, in the 1950s, the shadow of too much progress in weaponry— of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and vaporized Pacific islands — had already fallen over the world. It has now darkened our lives for about sixty years, and so much has been said on the subject that I needn’t add more.7 My point here is that weapons technology was merely the first area of human progress to reach an impasse by threatening to destroy the planet on which it developed.

In 1800, the cities had been small, the air and water relatively clean — which is to say that it would give you cholera, not cancer. Nothing moved faster than by wind or limb. The sound of machinery was almost unknown. A person from 1600 transported to 1800 could have made his way around quite easily. But by 1900, there were motor cars on the streets and electric trains beneath them; movies were flickering on screens; earth’s age was reckoned in millions of years, and Albert Einstein was writing his Special Theory of Relativity. Early in the century, Mary Shelley pondered the new science with her Frankenstein. And Charles Dickens gave the social costs of industry a scalding and prescient critique in Hard Times, asking whether “the Good Samaritan was a Bad Economist,” and foreseeing the new religion of the bottom line: “Every inch of the existence of mankind, from birth to death,” he wrote in 1854, “was to be a bargain across a counter.”39 In his 1872 novel, Erewhon (an anagram of “nowhere”), Samuel Butler created a remote civilization that had industrialized long before Europe, but where the effects of progress had sparked a Luddite revolution.

pages: 233 words: 62,563

Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, Cepheid variable, cosmological constant, dark matter, Edmond Halley, Georg Cantor, Isaac Newton, John Conway, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking

Even though physicists quickly realized that Planck’s equation was right, they did not accept the quantum hypothesis. It was too bizarre to accept. An unlikely candidate would turn the quantum hypothesis from a pecularity to an accepted fact. Albert Einstein, a twenty-six-year-old patent clerk, showed the physics world that nature worked in quanta rather than in smooth increments. He would later become the chief opponent of the theory he helped create. Einstein didn’t seem like a revolutionary. When Max Planck was turning the physics world on its head, Albert Einstein was scrambling for a job. Out of money, he took a temporary position at the Swiss patent office, a far cry from the assistantship at a university that he wanted. By 1904 he was married, had a newborn son, and was laboring in the patent office—hardly the path to greatness.

pages: 226 words: 59,080

Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science by Dani Rodrik


airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, bank run, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, butterfly effect, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, distributed generation, Donald Davies, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, fudge factor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, loss aversion, low skilled workers, market design, market fundamentalism, minimum wage unemployment, oil shock, open economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, unorthodox policies, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, white flight

Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin, “Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff” (Amherst: University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Political Economy Research Institute, April 15, 2013). 20. R. E. Peierls, “Wolfgang Ernst Pauli, 1900–1958,” Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 5 (February 1960): 186. 21. Albert Einstein, “Physics and Reality,” in Ideas and Opinions of Albert Einstein, trans. Sonja Bargmann (New York: Crown, 1954), 290, cited in Susan Haack, “Science, Economics, ‘Vision,’ ” Social Research 71, no. 2 (Summer 2004): 225. CHAPTER 3: Navigating among Models 1. David Colander and Roland Kupers, Complexity and the Art of Public Policy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014), 8. 2. Dani Rodrik, “Goodbye Washington Consensus, Hello Washington Confusion?

pages: 177 words: 50,167

The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics by John B. Judis


affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, capital controls, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, first-past-the-post, fixed income, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, invisible hand, laissez-faire capitalism, mass immigration, means of production, neoliberal agenda, obamacare, Occupy movement, open borders, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Post-materialism, post-materialism, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, white flight, Winter of Discontent

In 1990, he won Vermont’s seat in the House of Representatives, and in 2006, when Republican Jim Jeffords retired, Sanders won one of the Senate seats. In his Liberty Union campaigns, Sanders advocated for socialism. In the diary he kept of his Senate campaign in 1972, he wrote of a campaign stop, “I even mentioned the horrible word ‘socialism’—and nobody in the audience fainted.” He would recommend Albert Einstein’s essay, “Why Socialism,” to anyone interested. In that essay, Einstein wrote that the only way to remove the “evils” of capitalism was “through the establishment of a socialist economy. . . . In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion.” As mayor, Sanders fretted that he couldn’t bring socialism to Vermont. “If you ask me if the banks should be nationalized, I would say yes,” Sanders told the Baltimore Sun.

Judis, “The Bern Supremacy,” National Journal, November 19, 2015; Harry Jaffe, Why Bernie Sanders Matters, Regan Arts, 2015; Tim Murphy, “How Bernie Sanders Learned to Be a Real Politician,” Mother Jones, May 26, 2015; and Simon van Zuylen-Wood, “I’m Right and Everybody Else Is Wrong,” National Journal, June 2014. 79“nobody in the audience fainted”: Sanders, “Fragments of a Campaign Diary,” Seven Days, December 1, 1972. 79“Why Socialism”: Albert Einstein, “Why Socialism,” Monthly Review, May 1949. 79“I don’t have the power to nationalize the banks”: Baltimore Sun, December 23, 1981. 79“I’m a democratic socialist”: Sanders with Huck Gutman, Outsider in the House, Verso, 1997, p. 29. 80higher standard of living: Michael Powell, “Exceedingly Social, but Doesn’t Like Parties,” Washington Post, November 5, 2006. 80“two percent of the people”: Saint Albans Daily Messenger, December 23, 1971. 81“buy the United States Congress”: “The Rachel Maddow Show,” MSNBC, April 15, 2015. 81“What Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Understand About American Politics:” Jonathan Chait, “What Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Understand About American Politics,” New York, January 27, 2016. 81“facile calls for revolution:” “It Was Better to Bern Out,” The New York Times, June 10, 2016. 82“eat out the heart of the republic”: George E.

pages: 182 words: 51,816

Six Not-So-Easy Pieces: Einstein’s Relativity, Symmetry, and Space-Time by Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton, Matthew Sands

Albert Einstein, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring

The present series of six lectures was carefully chosen to be of a level a little above the six that formed the earlier set of Feynman lectures entitled Six Easy Pieces (published by Addison Wesley Longman in 1995). Moreover, they go well together and constitute a superb and compelling account of one of the most important general areas of modern theoretical physics. This area is relativity, which first burst forth into human awareness in the early years of this century. The name of Einstein figures preeminently in the public conception of this field. It was, indeed, Albert Einstein who, in 1905, first clearly enunciated the profound principles which underlie this new realm of physical endeavor. But there were others before him, most notably Hendrik Antoon Lorentz and Henri Poincaré, who had already appreciated most of the basics of the (then) new physics. Moreover, the great scientists Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton, centuries before Einstein, had already pointed out that in the dynamical theories that they themselves were developing, the physics as perceived by an observer in uniform motion would be identical with that perceived by an observer at rest.

ROGER PENROSE December 1996 SPECIAL PREFACE (from The Feynman Lectures on Physics) Toward the end of his life, Richard Feynman’s fame had transcended the confines of the scientific community. His exploits as a member of the commission investigating the space shuttle Challenger disaster gave him widespread exposure; similarly, a best-selling book about his picaresque adventures made him a folk hero almost of the proportions of Albert Einstein. But back in 1961, even before his Nobel Prize increased his visibility to the general public, Feynman was more than merely famous among members of the scientific community—he was legendary. Undoubtedly, the extraordinary power of his teaching helped spread and enrich the legend of Richard Feynman. He was a truly great teacher, perhaps the greatest of his era and ours. For Feynman, the lecture hall was a theater, and the lecturer a performer, responsible for providing drama and fireworks as well as facts and figures.

pages: 61 words: 16,429

Just Keep Calm & Take Some Magnesium - Why a "Boring" Mineral Is Suddenly Hot Property for Soothing Bodies and Calming Minds by James Lee


Albert Einstein, epigenetics, life extension, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

Where this area of inquiry will get truly interesting is when we are able to prevent Nlrp3 from doing its job, possibly preventing a range of inflammatory diseases that reduce life expectancy. Indeed, initial mouse experiments have shown that by reducing the activity of Nlrp3 the test subjects appeared to be protected from a range of age-related conditions such as dementia, bone loss and glucose intolerance. Recently Zhang et al, from Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that at least some of the inflammatorily mediated aging we see appears to be related to inflammation in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the part of your brain central to the control of autonomic functions and hormonal control. These researchers found that inflammation in the hypothalamus appeared to trigger a range of age-related health problems such as metabolic syndrome.

pages: 307 words: 17,123

Behind the cloud: the untold story of how went from idea to billion-dollar company--and revolutionized an industry by Marc Benioff, Carlye Adler


Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, business continuity plan, call centre, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, iterative process, Maui Hawaii, Nicholas Carr, platform as a service, Silicon Valley, software as a service, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs

Play #7: Define Your Values and Culture Up Front On March 8, 1999, Parker Harris, Frank Dominguez, and Dave Moellenhoff began working in a one-bedroom apartment I’d rented at 1449 Montgomery, next door to my house. We didn’t have office furniture, so we used card tables and folding chairs. What we lacked in furnishings, we made up for with an amazing view of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. I hung a picture of the Dalai Lama over the fireplace and another of Albert Einstein on the wall. Both were part of Apple’s new ad campaign, and each said, ‘‘Think Different.’’ My summers at Apple had taught me that the secret to encouraging creativity and producing the best possible product was to keep people fulfilled and happy. I wanted the people who built to be inspired and to feel valued. 11 BEHIND THE CLOUD That wasn’t to say there was anything glamorous about those early days.

I urge you to build game-changing businesses—wildly innovative, profitable, scalable, and sustainable businesses—that offer imaginative solutions to the problems we face. 258 The Final Play It is my hope that you will use your business acumen, your creativity, your passion, and the 111 plays in this book to make a positive difference. I’m not asking you not to make money. On the contrary, go out and make money—and lots of it. But know that simply making money will not be enough to sustain you. No one who is successful is driven solely by monetary rewards. The most successful businesspeople are driven by profits—and purpose. Back in high school, when I started my first business, I worked under a poster of Albert Einstein. Because I found inspiration from it, I hung another picture of Einstein in the apartment when we launched We weren’t always aware of it, but we were guided by his three rules of work: 1) Out of clutter find simplicity; 2) From discord find harmony; 3) In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. We are now in a time of extraordinary opportunity. People always ask me, What’s in store for the future?

pages: 298 words: 81,200

Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson


Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, digital map, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, mass immigration, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

HORMONES (1905) Confirming earlier scientific work on internal secretions in the human body, English physiologists Ernest Henry Starling and William Maddock Bayliss showed that a chemical agent released in one part of the body could affect the functioning of another part of the body, via the bloodstream. The discovery of hormones would later lead to the invention of both oral contraceptives and insulin. MASS-ENERGY EQUIVALENCE (1905) Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein stated in a paper published in 1905 that the mass of a body is equivalent to its energy content, expressed in the famous equation E=mc2, or energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. SPECIAL RELATIVITY (1905) The theory of special relativity—developed by Einstein in 1905—concerns the motion and behavior of particles moving at close to the speed of light, and is based on two postulates: that the speed of light is the same, regardless of the speed of the observer, and that the laws of physics are consistent when observed from any inertial, or nonaccelerating, frame of reference.

MOVING ASSEMBLY LINE (1913) Heralding the era of mass production, the Ford Motor Company instituted a moving assembly line to construct cars under Ford’s leadership in 1913, lowering the price of cars and quickening their production. The inspiration for the assembly line came from nineteenth-century midwestern meatpacking factories. THEORY OF GENERAL RELATIVITY (1915) Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein argued in 1915 that matter warps time and space, allowing large masses to bend light. One of the seminal aspects of this theory was Einstein’s idea that the pull of gravity in one direction was equivalent to the force of acceleration in the opposite direction. Einstein’s theory was proved in 1919 in a study of solar eclipses. HELICOPTER (1920) Many failed, but promising models of primitive helicopters preceded the type created by Argentinean inventor Raúl Pateras Pescara.

pages: 270 words: 75,473

Time Management for System Administrators by Thomas A.Limoncelli


8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Debian, job satisfaction, Mahatma Gandhi, Steve Jobs

If you clutter your brain with the knowledge of all the tasks you need to do in the future, that's taking space away from the task you are working on right now. In fact, when I'm working on Project A but worried about Project B, the best thing I can do is to write Project B down in my to do list and try to get it out of my head. Then, I can focus on Project A. I trust the to do list to "remember" B for me, so I don't have to continue to waste mental energy on it. It might be apocryphal, but it is believed that Albert Einstein's closet contained seven identical suits—one for each day of the week. This was, the story goes, so that he could conserve his brain power for physics and not waste it on the mundane task of deciding what to wear each day. Maybe this is why Steve Jobs always wears black turtlenecks. (Personally, I have many pairs of the exact same socks, but that's just so I never have more than one unmatched sock when I do laundry.)

just remember that it's your brain—ego big as Montana—overpromising like a Microsoft salesperson trying to meet his monthly quota. I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I remembered who was telling me this. --Emo Philips If it makes your brain feel less insulted, just remember that by not filling it with boring lists of to do items, we are reserving it for the powerhouse tasks. In Chapter 1, I mentioned the story about Albert Einstein trying to reserve as much of his brain as possible for physics by eliminating other brainwork, like deciding what to wear each day. Legend also has it that Einstein didn't memorize addresses or phone numbers, even his own. The important ones were written on a slip of paper in his wallet so as not to use up precious brain capacity. When someone would ask him for his own phone number he would tell them that it's in the phone book and politely ask them to look it up.

pages: 300 words: 79,315

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen


Albert Einstein, asset allocation, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, Everything should be made as simple as possible, George Santayana, index card, knowledge worker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex

If you have only twenty or thirty of these, it may be fine to keep them all on one list labeled “Next Actions,” which you’ll review whenever you have any free time. For most of us, however, the number is more likely to be fifty to 150. In that case it makes sense to subdivide your “Next Actions” list into categories, such as “Calls” to make when you’re at a phone or “Project Head Questions” to be asked at your weekly briefing. Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. —Albert Einstein Nonactionable Items You need well-organized, discrete systems to handle the items that require no action as well as the ones that do. No-action systems fall into three categories: trash, incubation, and reference. Trash Trash should be self-evident. Throw away anything that has no potential future action or reference value. If you leave this stuff mixed in with other categories, it will seriously undermine the system.

Forward-looking focus has even been a key element in Olympic-level sports training, with athletes imagining the physical effort, the positive energy, and the successful result to ensure the highest level of unconscious support for their performance. We know that the focus we hold in our minds affects what we perceive and how we perform. This is as true on the golf course as it is in a staff meeting or during a serious conversation with a spouse. My interest lies in providing a model for focus that is dynamic in a practical way, especially in project thinking. Imagination is more important than knowledge. —Albert Einstein When you focus on something—the vacation you’re going to take, the meeting you’re about to go into, the product you want to launch—that focus instantly creates ideas and thought patterns you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Even your physiology will respond to an image in your head as if it were reality. The Reticular Activating System The May 1957 issue of Scientific American contained an article describing the discovery of the reticular formation at the base of the brain.

pages: 253 words: 80,074

The Man Who Invented the Computer by Jane Smiley


1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, British Empire,, computer age, Fellow of the Royal Society, Henri Poincaré, IBM and the Holocaust, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Karl Jansky, Norbert Wiener, Pierre-Simon Laplace, RAND corporation, Turing machine, V2 rocket, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture

Once his paper “On Computable Numbers” was completed and published in the spring of 1936, Alan Turing’s world expanded again—by the end of that September, he was at Princeton, enjoying (or not) a graduate fellowship there and meeting some of the best mathematical minds in the world. He wrote home in October with a list of those who were around: John von Neumann, Hermann Weyl, Richard Courant, G. H. Hardy, Albert Einstein, Solomon Lefschetz, and Alonzo Church. He regretted having missed Kurt Gödel, who had been there the year before, and perhaps Paul Bernays (of whom he was a bit disdainful—Turing was feeling more and more self-confident). Hardy, whom he knew from Cambridge, was friendly, but Turing found the way Americans talked unpleasant and Princeton disconcerting—casual and familiar, if sometimes fun (an impromptu hockey team of which Turing was a member went to Vassar and played an entertaining game with another impromptu team of girls).

After completing his degrees at Berlin and Zurich (where a paper he wrote was sent to David Hilbert, the man who posed the problem that Turing addressed in “On Computable Numbers,” and so impressed him that he assiduously cultivated the young man), von Neumann went to the University of Göttingen in 1926, just about the same time that Atanasoff was first at Iowa State (and Flowers first went to work at Dollis Hill). In 1930, von Neumann was invited to Princeton, and two years later he was given a professorship at the Institute for Advanced Study, along with Albert Einstein and Kurt Gödel. It was there that he met Alan Turing, to whom he offered the job as research assistant in 1938. Clearly, von Neumann’s personality and biography meshed to produce a man who was perhaps preternaturally political in a way that was unusual in a mathematician or an inventor—he was not only completely at ease in all sorts of social situations, he was extraordinarily aware of the ramifications of larger sorts of politics.

pages: 239 words: 56,531

The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine by Peter Lunenfeld


Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, butterfly effect, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, East Village, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Grace Hopper, gravity well, Guggenheim Bilbao, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Potemkin village, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, social software, spaced repetition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, walkable city, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

How meaning manifests itself via the culture machine often links directly back into the specific histories of the individual media being simulated, and their traditions of authorship and reception. What follows here catalogs some of the strategies that these media have followed in this new era. T SIDEBAR The Soviet Man Who Fell to Earth Of all the delightful thought experiments that theoretical physics has given birth to, from Erwin Schrödinger’s cat to Richard Feynman’s Brownian ratchet, my favorite is Albert Einstein’s “twins paradox.”4 This story of two brothers explains the 49 CHAPTER 3 relativity of space and time. The first brother travels into space, while the other stays on Earth. The space farer is on a fast rocket and goes on a ten-year journey. When he returns home, though, he finds out that his brother has aged twenty years during his trip. This seeming paradox can be explained because of the way that traveling close to light speed shifts the vantage point for time.

It is also important to see Bush’s promotion of the Memex as a way to transform the death-dealing technologies of World War II into something beneficial to all of humankind, and something that expanded the power of these ideas beyond the tiny technical and military communities that were then using them. Like J. Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Manhattan Project, Bush was part of a generation of scientists who were more heavily involved in the development of weapons of mass destruction than any other previous one to them. Albert Einstein, a generation older, stood at an Olympian distance from the destruction caused by atomic energy, becoming a secular saint of genius, while Oppenheimer, who had been one of the architects of the bomb, became increasingly despondent about the human capacity for self-destruction. Bush, like Oppenheimer, had been actively involved in the war effort. He had been instrumental in the strategic planning for the firebombing of Japan and the overall architecture of the assault on Axis industrial sites.

pages: 244 words: 68,223

Isaac Newton by James Gleick


Albert Einstein, Astronomia nova, complexity theory, dark matter, Edmond Halley, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, Isaac Newton, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. Sir Isaac Newton’s Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy and His System of the World. Translated by Andrew Motte (1729), revised by Florian Cajori. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1947. Newton’s Principia: The Central Argument: Translation, Notes, and Expanded Proofs. Dana Densmore and William H. Donahue. Santa Fe: Green Lion Press, 1995. Opticks. Foreword by Albert Einstein. New York: Dover, 1952. The Background to Newton’s Principia: A Study of Newton’s Dynamical Researches in the Years 1664–1684. John Herivel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965. Certain Philosophical Questions: Newton’s Trinity Notebook. J. E. McGuire and Martin Tamny. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Isaac Newton’s Papers & Letters on Natural Philosophy. Edited by I. Bernard Cohen.

“Sir Isaac Newton’s Family.” Reports and Papers of the Architectural & Archeological Society of the County of Lincoln 39 (1928). Galileo Galilei. The Controversy on the Comets of 1618. Translated by Stillman Drake and C. D. O’Malley. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1960. ———. Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems—Ptolemaic & Copernican. Translated by Stillman Drake, foreword by Albert Einstein. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967. ———. Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo. Translated by Stillman Drake. New York: Anchor Books, 1957. Garber, Daniel; and Ayers, Michael. The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Gaule, John. Pys-mantia the Mag-Astromancer, or the Magicall-Astrologicall-Diviner, Posed, and Puzzled.

pages: 252 words: 80,636

Bureaucracy by David Graeber


3D printing, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, barriers to entry, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, collateralized debt obligation, Columbine, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, David Graeber, George Gilder, High speed trading, hiring and firing, Kitchen Debate, late capitalism, means of production, music of the spheres, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Parkinson's law, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, price mechanism, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, transcontinental railway, union organizing, urban planning, zero-sum game

The two bloody wars these rivals fought culminated, appropriately enough, in vast government-sponsored scientific programs to see who would be the first to discover the atom bomb. Indeed, even the structure of U.S. universities has always been based on the Prussian model. True, during these early years, both the United States and Germany did manage to find a way to cultivate their creative eccentrics—in fact, a surprising number of the most notorious ones that ended up in America (Albert Einstein was the paradigm) actually were German. During the war, when matters were desperate, vast government projects like the Manhattan Project were still capable of accommodating a whole host of bizarre characters (Oppenheimer, Feynman, Fuchs …). But as American power grew more and more secure, the country’s bureaucracy became less and less tolerant of its outliers. And technological creativity declined.

Its designer, Mikhail Kalashinikov, who is still alive, recently held a press conference where he pointed out that U.S. soldiers in Iraq regularly discard their own weapons in favor of captured AK-47s when they have the opportunity. 102. And of course just counting university staff is deceptive in itself, since it ignores the burgeoning numbers of administrators employed by foundations, and other grant-giving agencies. 103. Similarly Don Braben, a physicist at University College London, made headlines in the UK by pointing out that Albert Einstein would never have been able to get funding were he alive today. Others have suggested most of his major works would never even have passed peer review. 104. Jonathan L. Katz, “Don’t Become a Scientist!” ( 105. Even worse, as some friends in the industry point out, grant-givers regularly insist it’s the scientists themselves who have to write the applications, progress reports, etc., rather than some subordinate, with the result that even the most successful scientists spend roughly 40 percent of their time doing paperwork. 106.

pages: 373 words: 80,248

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges


Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Cal Newport, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, haute couture, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, income inequality, Joseph Schumpeter, Naomi Klein, offshore financial centre, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, single-payer health, statistical model, uranium enrichment

A few media giants, such as AOL Time Warner, General Electric, Viacom, Disney, and Rupert Murdoch’s NewsGroup, control nearly everything we read, see, and hear. “Private capital tends to become concentrated in [a] few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of the smaller ones,” Albert Einstein wrote in 1949 in the Monthly Review in explaining why he was a socialist:The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature.

Held, “The Negative Side of Positive Psychology,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 44:1 (Winter 2004), 9, 24. CHAPTER 5: THE ILLUSION OF AMERICA 1 Andrew J. Bacevich, The Limits of Power (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2008), 172. 2 David Barstow, “One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex,” New York Times, Nov. 29, 2008: 172. 3 Robert Bellah, Habits of the Heart (Berkeley and Los Angeles, Calif.: University of California Press, 1985), 285. 4 Albert Einstein, “Why Socialism?” Monthly Review (May 1949). Rpt. In 5 Cited in Glenn Greenwald, “There’s Nothing Unique About Jim Cramer,” Salon 13 (March 2009), 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid. 8 Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Message to Congress on Curbing Monopolies,” April 29, 1938. In John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, The American Presidency Project (Santa Barbara, Calif.: University of California).

pages: 224 words: 64,156

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier


1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, digital Maoism, Douglas Hofstadter, Extropian, follow your passion, hive mind, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, social graph, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

Let’s say that everything stays 99 percent the same, that people watch 99 percent as much television as they used to, but 1 percent of that is carved out for producing and for sharing. The Internet-connected population watches roughly a trillion hours of TV a year … One percent of that is 98 Wikipedia projects per year worth of participation. So how many seconds of salvaged erstwhile television time would need to be harnessed to replicate the achievements of, say, Albert Einstein? It seems to me that even if we could network all the potential aliens in the galaxy—quadrillions of them, perhaps—and get each of them to contribute some seconds to a physics wiki, we would not replicate the achievements of even one mediocre physicist, much less a great one. Absent Intellectual Modesty There are at least two ways to believe in the idea of quality. You can believe there’s something ineffable going on within the human mind, or you can believe we just don’t understand what quality in a mind is yet, even though we might someday.

Whether they are cordial or not, Wikipedians always act out the idea that the collective is closer to the truth and the individual voice is dispensable. To understand the problem, let’s focus on hard science, the area aside from pop culture where Wikipedia seems to be the most reliable. In fact, let’s consider the hardest of the hard: math. Math as Expression For many people math is hard to learn, and yet to those who love it, doing math is a great joy that goes beyond its obvious utility and puts it in an aesthetic realm. Albert Einstein called it “the poetry of logical ideas.” Math is an arena in which it’s appropriate to have high hopes for the future of digital media. A superb development—which might take place in decades or centuries to come—would be for some new channel of communication to come along that makes a deep appreciation of math more widely available. Then the fundamental patterning of reality, which only math can describe, would become part of a wider human conversation.

pages: 278 words: 70,416

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow


3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, attribution theory, augmented reality, barriers to entry, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filter Bubble, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, popular electronics, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs

Rather than teaching a mile wide in every subject, we ought to first teach kids to use platforms, then let them go deep in the areas that interest them. In a typical US high school, many of the teachers fall into the category of broad but shallow experts themselves. The health teacher becomes the Spanish teacher, then temporarily the geography teacher. But, really, he’s the football coach. Bless his heart, but he’s basically building a road out of mud. And that’s where Finland’s education system found its platform advantage. III. Albert Einstein is famously quoted: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” He didn’t actually say it.* But in the 1990s, Finnish educators decided to take the cliché to heart. Upon landing in Helsinki, Wagner and his crew made a beeline for some local high schools. Wagner sat among students in various classes, whispering observations to the camera like an academic version of The Crocodile Hunter.

In the meantime, absent any clear evidence as to how best proceed, the majority of teachers quite understandably default to more or less the same teaching methods that they themselves experienced. Overwhelmingly that is the traditional method, though the fact that no one has been able to make this approach work (for the majority of students) in three-thousand years does make some wonder if there is a better way.” 93 “The definition of insanity”: Though variously attributed to Albert Einstein and Mark Twain, this phrase seems to have first appeared in World Service Conference (Narcotics Anonymous, 1981), 11. 95 Finnish schools allowed students unrestricted use of calculators: Science and Engineering Indicators 2002 (National Science Board, 2002), chapter 1. Though Tony Wagner’s research and international test scores indicate that Finland’s education trump all in a 2009 journal article in the Teaching of Mathematics, Olli Martio demonstrates that many Finnish students (the bottom 80 percent) had poorer high-level mental math skills in 2003 than in 1981, and blames the use of calculators and the omission of geometry curricula.

pages: 254 words: 72,929

The Age of the Infovore: Succeeding in the Information Economy by Tyler Cowen


Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, David Brooks,, endowment effect, Flynn Effect, framing effect, Google Earth, impulse control, informal economy, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, Naomi Klein, neurotypical, new economy, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, selection bias, Silicon Valley, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind

It turns out she has developed a system for remembering people by their clothes and that she applied her system very conscientiously and consistently; without the system she would be lost. People such as myself, who have normal face-recognition abilities, usually have no such system. The result was that this woman—some might call her “handicapped”—had a much better sense of the crowd than I did. Charles Darwin, Gregor Mendel, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Samuel Johnson, Vincent van Gogh, Thomas Jefferson, Bertrand Russell, Jonathan Swift, Alan Turing, Paul Dirac, Glenn Gould, Steven Spielberg, and Bill Gates, among many others, are all on the rather lengthy list of famous figures who have been identified as possibly autistic or Asperger’s. I do not think we can “diagnose” individuals from such a distance, so we should be cautious in making any very particular claims.

As you may know, there is a small cottage industry of writings devoted to these questions. If you’re wondering, a typical list of historical figures claimed to be on the autism spectrum includes Hans Christian Andersen, Lewis Carroll, Herman Melville, George Orwell, Jonathan Swift, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, Bela Bartók, Bob Dylan, Glenn Gould, Vincent van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Mozart, Gregor Mendel, Charles Darwin, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Henry Cavendish, Samuel Johnson, Albert Einstein, Alan Turing, Paul Dirac, Emily Dickinson, Michelangelo, Bertrand Russell, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Isaac Newton, and Willard Van Orman Quine, among others. When it comes to any individual life, I have my worries about making any firm judgments. First, for some of these lives I know a bit about, such as Mozart’s, I just don’t see the evidence for autism. Mozart for instance may well have been neurodiverse in the broad sense of the word (arguably an ordinary mind could not have composed his extraordinary music) but that’s not the same as placing him on the autism spectrum.

pages: 220 words: 66,518

The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles by Bruce H. Lipton


Albert Einstein, Benoit Mandelbrot, correlation does not imply causation, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Mars Rover, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

Long before cell biology and studies of children in orphanages, conscious parents and seers like Rumi knew that for human babies and adults the best growth promoter is love. A lifetime without Love is of no account Love is the Water of Life Drink it down with heart and soul Epilogue SPIRIT AND SCIENCE The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the power of all true science. — Albert Einstein We’ve come a long way since Chapter 1, when I faced my panicked medical students and started my journey to the New Biology. But throughout the book I have not strayed far from the theme I introduced in the first chapter—that smart cells can teach us how to live. Now that we’re at the end of the book, I’d like to explain how my study of cells turned me into a spiritual person. I also want to explain why I am optimistic about the fate of our planet, though I concede that optimism is sometimes hard to maintain if you read the daily newspaper.

During this time of great personal transformation, I was blessed and guided by both spiritual and incarnate muses—the inspiring spirits of the arts. I am particularly indebted to the following muses who have helped make this book a reality. The Muses of Science: I am indebted to the spirits of science, for I am fully aware that forces outside of myself have guided me in bringing this message to the world. Special blessings to my heroes, Jean-Baptiste de Monet de Lamarck and Albert Einstein, for their world-changing spiritual and scientific contributions. The Muses of Literature: The intention to write a book on the New Biology was spawned in 1985, though it was not until Patricia A. King came into my life in 2003 that this book could come into reality. Patricia is a Bay Area freelance writer and former Newsweek reporter who worked for a decade as the magazine’s San Francisco Bureau Chief.

pages: 262 words: 80,257

The Eureka Factor by John Kounios


active measures, Albert Einstein, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, deliberate practice,, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Flynn Effect, functional fixedness, Google Hangouts, impulse control, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, pattern recognition, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, theory of mind, US Airways Flight 1549, Wall-E, William of Occam

Occam would undoubtedly approve of this kind of simplicity. However, if insight really were sudden, then this would mean that it’s fundamentally different from analytic thought. Of course, it’s convenient when things are simple. Two kinds of thought are more complicated to explain than one type. However, it’s useful to keep in mind an extension of Occam’s razor that is usually attributed to Albert Einstein and is sometimes known as “Einstein’s razor”: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” AND THE WINNER IS … * * * During the early 1990s, there was not yet a consensus among cognitive psychologists that insight was a unique mode of thought, so it was important to demonstrate that insight differs from analysis. Roderick Smith and John tackled this problem with a behavioral study.

But if the anterior cingulate is powered up by a positive mood, then it can sense the subtle presence of alternate, creative solutions and direct the prefrontal cortex to play Robin Hood and select an underdog to win. The result is an aha moment. And when the underdog wins, there are unique consequences. REPERCUSSIONS OF THE CREATIVE HIGH * * * Elation is the typical reaction to a breakthrough idea. Albert Einstein once said that conceiving the theory of relativity was “the happiest thought of my life.” Judah Folkman said that an aha moment is “a very big high.” Several things contribute to this emotional boost: the pleasant surprise, the accelerated thought, and the confidence and satisfaction instilled by a solution that seems obvious in hindsight. But more is going on. Positive emotion and associative thought are flip sides of the same coin.

pages: 257 words: 66,480

Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System by Ray Jayawardhana


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, cosmic abundance, dark matter, Donald Davies, Edmond Halley, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, Louis Pasteur, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Solar eclipse in 1919

The Doppler technique—using spectral line shifts to trace the subtle dance of stars as planets tug on them—has been the most successful in the frst ffteen years. But two other methods have also reached maturity—and are paying off handsomely. Both depend on fnding chance alignments of celestial objects through brightness changes of stars. The frst technique exploits a remarkable property of gravity that Albert Einstein discovered: its ability to bend light, thus to magnify the brightness of a distant star temporarily when a nearer star happens to cross our line of sight to the former. If the nearby star harbors a planet, the planet’s gravity causes an extra blip, betraying its presence. The second method relies on a phenomenon scientists have known about for nearly four centuries. Every once in a while, we see Venus and Mercury cross the Sun, appearing as a little black dot against the bright solar disk.

Her e-mail inbox contained a message from someone at Ohio State University—probably a graduate student, she assumed—requesting observations of a “microlens-ing event.” McCormick had no idea what that meant, but the target was in the direction of the Milky Way’s bulge, high in the sky above Auckland, and easy to acquire. She decided to give it a try. Little did McCormick know that she, a Kiwi mother with no formal scientifc training, was treading on the legacy of Albert Einstein, possibly the most celebrated scientist of all time. In his general theory of relativity, completed in 1915, Einstein proposed a whole new theory of gravity. Instead of the Newtonian idea of gravity as an attractive force, he conceptualized gravity as geometry: a massive object warps the fabric of space-time around it. That means light, instead of traveling in a straight line, takes a curved path in its vicinity.

pages: 229 words: 67,599

The Logician and the Engineer: How George Boole and Claude Shannon Created the Information Age by Paul J. Nahin


Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, Edward Thorp, Fellow of the Royal Society, finite state, four colour theorem, Georg Cantor, Grace Hopper, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, New Journalism, Pierre-Simon Laplace, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, thinkpad, Thomas Bayes, Turing machine, Turing test, V2 rocket

One could calculate, if one wanted to … the kind of population you would have after a number of generations.”10 Both Burks and Bush strongly urged Shannon to publish, but he had lost interest in the topic, and, besides, he had other, more urgent matters that demanded his attention. With his PhD in hand, and after spending the summer of 1940 back at Bell Labs, Shannon used a National Research Council Fellowship for a year’s stay at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where he worked under the great mathematician Hermann Weyl. Also there were such luminaries as John von Neumann and Albert Einstein. He might even have bumped into Richard Feynman, who was working on his PhD in physics at Princeton. Also there with Shannon was his first wife, Norma Levor (born 1920), whom he had married in 1939. Theirs was an intense, passionate, but ultimately doomed brief marriage, and Norma left him in June 1941. With all that going on in his life, it isn’t surprising that writing up his doctoral dissertation wasn’t high on Shannon’s list of things to do.

The original title of Shannon’s 1956 paper was “Reliable Circuits Using Crummy Relays,” but that was changed at the request of the Bell Labs Public Relations Department. Shannon’s sense of humor was not to be denied, though, and he managed to keep crummy in the text. Speaking of Shannon’s sense of humor, there is a very funny story that Shannon himself was fond of telling that further illuminates his own lack of self-importance. When once giving a talk at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Albert Einstein came into the room and stayed at the back. After listening to Shannon speak for a few minutes, he leaned over to whisper into the ear of a nearby man; the man whispered a reply and then Einstein quickly left. After the talk Shannon hastened over to the man to ask what the Great Man had said. “He wanted to know,” Shannon was told, “which way to the nearest men’s room.” 7. We could, of course, have written directly from Figure 6.4.3 that P(S3) = P(AB + CD + AED + CEB), and then used a Karnaugh map to get an expression for P(S3) that would let us directly write P(S3) in terms of p.

pages: 206 words: 70,924

The Rise of the Quants: Marschak, Sharpe, Black, Scholes and Merton by Colin Read


Albert Einstein, Bayesian statistics, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discovery of penicillin, discrete time, Emanuel Derman,, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, Henri Poincaré, implied volatility, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market clearing, martingale, means of production, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, naked short selling, Paul Samuelson, price stability, principal–agent problem, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, risk tolerance, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, stochastic process, The Chicago School, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Works Progress Administration, yield curve

Much later, however, we discovered that he was not the first to offer a measure of the cost of volatility of financial instruments. At the turn of the twentieth century, the French mathematician Louis Bachelier (1870–1946) produced a PhD thesis with the title “The Theory of Speculation.” In this revolutionary thesis, Bachelier was the first to apply the mathematical model of Brownian motion to the movement of security prices. He did so five years before Albert Einstein applied the same model to the movement of small particles. Einstein and Bachelier both noted that, beyond a common drift element, the movement of a particle or a stock from one period to the next is uncorrelated. We now know this phenomenon as the random walk. We return to Bachelier’s model later in our discussion of options pricing theory, and more fully in the next volume of our series on Applications 33 the random walk and the efficient market hypothesis.

A month after presenting the paper co-authored with Samuelson to the faculty seminar, he presented his own paper to the Harvard/MIT graduate student seminar. This paper was published the following summer as the other bookend to a paper that Samuelson had written on the life cycle of portfolio risk tolerance. In fact, Merton later admitted that his strategy was to learn the mathematics he needed rather than the economics his professors taught, much like Albert Einstein had done as a graduate physics 144 The Rise of the Quants student. He agreed that this was not the best strategy to secure superior grades. However, the proof is in the pudding. He produced five essays for his PhD thesis, three of which were published by refereed finance and economics journals even before his dissertation team could witness his PhD defense. A fourth paper was presented at the Second World Congress of the Econometric Society in the summer he graduated and also appeared in print within a year.

pages: 239 words: 70,206

Data-Ism: The Revolution Transforming Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, and Almost Everything Else by Steve Lohr


23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bioinformatics, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, David Brooks, East Village, Edward Snowden, Emanuel Derman, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Glasses, impulse control, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of writing, John Markoff, John von Neumann, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, natural language processing, obamacare, pattern recognition, payday loans, personalized medicine, precision agriculture, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

The schism between scientific and “literary intellectuals,” he warned, threatened to stymie economic and social progress, if those in the humanities remained ignorant of the advances in science and their implications. The lecture was widely read in America, and among those influenced were two professors at Dartmouth College, John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz. Kemeny, a mathematician and a former research assistant to Albert Einstein, would go on to become the president of Dartmouth. Kurtz was a young math professor in the early 1960s when he approached Kemeny with the idea of giving nearly all students at Dartmouth a taste of programming on a computer. Kemeny and Kurtz saw the rise of computing as a major technological force that would sweep across the economy and society. But only a quarter of Dartmouth students majored in science or engineering, the group most likely to be interested in computing.

For this one, there appear to be twin claims of attribution, either W. Edwards Deming, the statistician and quality control expert, or Peter Drucker, the management consultant. Who said it first doesn’t matter so much. It’s a mantra in business and it has the ring of commonsense truth. The second quote is not as well known, but there is a lot of truth in it as well: “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Albert Einstein usually gets credit for this one, but the stronger claim of origin belongs to the sociologist William Bruce Cameron—though again, who said it first matters far less than what it says. Big data represents the next frontier in management by measurement. The technologies of data science are here, they are improving, and they will be used. And that’s a good thing, in general. Still, the enthusiasm for big-data decision making would surely benefit from a healthy dose of the humility found in that second quote.

pages: 212 words: 68,754

Thinking in Numbers by Daniel Tammet


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, computer age, dematerialisation, Edmond Halley, four colour theorem, Georg Cantor, index card, Isaac Newton, Paul Erdős, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Vilfredo Pareto

The third steps briskly forward and introduces himself as the main organiser. I shake hands with the museum’s curator and his assistant. Their faces show mild puzzlement, curiosity and nerves. Shortly afterwards, reporters arrive to hold the microphones and man the television cameras. They film the display cases containing astrolabes, compasses and mathematical manuscripts. Someone asks about the blackboard that hangs high on the wall opposite us. Albert Einstein used it during a lecture, the curator explains, on 16 May 1931. What about the chalky equations? They show the physicist’s calculations for the age of the universe, replies the curator. According to Einstein, the universe is about ten, or perhaps one hundred, thousand million years old. Footfalls increase on the museum’s stone steps as the hour approaches. The mathematicians duly arrive, seven strong, and take their seats.

And then, minutes later, I say, ‘Six, seven, six, five, seven, four, eight, six, nine, five, three, five, eight, seven,’ and it is over. There is nothing more to say. I have finished recounting my solitude. It is enough. Palms come together; hands clap. Someone lets out a cheer. ‘A new record,’ someone else says: 22,514 decimal places. ‘Congratulations.’ I take a bow. For five hours and nine minutes, eternity visited a museum in Oxford. Einstein’s Equations Speaking about his father, Hans Albert Einstein once said, ‘He had a character more like that of an artist than of a scientist as we usually think of them. For instance, the highest praise for a good theory or a good piece of work was not that it was correct nor that it was exact but that it was beautiful.’ Numerous other acquaintances also remarked on Einstein’s belief in the primacy of the aesthetic, including the physicist Hermann Bondi, who once showed him some of his work in unified field theory.

pages: 302 words: 74,878

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer, Charles Fishman


4chan, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Asperger Syndrome, Bonfire of the Vanities,, game design, Google Chrome, Howard Zinn, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Norman Mailer, out of africa, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP or visit us online to sign up at Contents * * * Introduction: A Curious Mind and a Curious Book — ONE — There Is No Cure for Curiosity — TWO — The Police Chief, the Movie Mogul, and the Father of the H-Bomb: Thinking Like Other People — THREE — The Curiosity Inside the Story — FOUR — Curiosity as a Superhero Power — FIVE — Every Conversation Is a Curiosity Conversation — SIX — Good Taste and the Power of Anti-Curiosity — SEVEN — The Golden Age of Curiosity Brian Grazer’s Curiosity Conversations: A Sampler Brian Grazer’s Curiosity Conversations: A List Appendix: How to Have a Curiosity Conversation Acknowledgments About the Authors Notes Index For my Grandma Sonia Schwartz. Starting when I was a boy, she treated every question I asked as valuable. She taught me to think of myself as curious, a gift that has served me every day of my life. INTRODUCTION A Curious Mind and a Curious Book * * * “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” —Albert Einstein1 IT SEEMS LIKE A GOOD idea to start a book about curiosity by asking an obvious question: What’s a guy like me doing writing a book about curiosity? I’m a movie and TV producer. I live immersed in the most densely populated epicenter of entertainment in the world: Hollywood. Whatever picture you have of the life of a Hollywood movie producer, I’ve probably lived it. We often have ten or more movies and TV shows in production at a time, so work means meeting with actors, writers, directors, musicians.

Apollo 13 Blue Crush Liar Liar The Nutty Professor Parenthood Splash TELEVISION * * * The 84th Academy Awards Friday Night Lights Sports Night Arrested Development 24 Parenthood We hope you enjoyed reading this Simon & Schuster eBook. * * * Join our mailing list and get updates on new releases, deals, bonus content and other great books from Simon & Schuster. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP or visit us online to sign up at Notes * * * Introduction: A Curious Mind and a Curious Book 1. Letter from Albert Einstein to his biographer Carl Seelig, March 11, 1952, cited in Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000). Chapter 1: There Is No Cure for Curiosity 1. This quote—perhaps the most razor-sharp take on curiosity’s power—is widely attributed to the writer and poet Dorothy Parker, but no scholarly or online source has a citation for when Parker might have written or said it.

pages: 240 words: 65,363

Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner


Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Barry Marshall: ulcers, call centre, Cass Sunstein, colonial rule, Edward Glaeser, Everything should be made as simple as possible, food miles, Gary Taubes, income inequality, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, medical residency, Metcalfe’s law, microbiome, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Tony Hsieh, transatlantic slave trade, éminence grise

If you are willing to confront the obvious, you will end up asking a lot of questions that others don’t. Why does that fourth-grader seem plenty smart in conversation but can’t answer a single question when it’s written on the blackboard? Sure, driving drunk is dangerous, but what about drunk walking? If an ulcer is caused by stress and spicy foods, why do some people with low stress and bland diets still get ulcers? As Albert Einstein liked to say, everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. This is a beautiful way to address the frictions that bedevil modern society: as grateful as we are for the complex processes that have produced so much technology and progress, we are also dizzied by their sprawl. It is easy to get seduced by complexity; but there is virtue in simplicity too. Let’s return briefly to Barry Marshall, our bacteria-gulping Aussie hero who cracked the ulcer code.

This report was based primarily on author interviews with Paul Glewwe and Albert Park and drew on their paper “Visualizing Development: Eyeglasses and Academic Performance in Rural Primary Schools in China,” University of Minnesota Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy, working paper WP12-2 (2012), coauthored with Meng Zhao. See also: Douglas Heingartner, “Better Vision for the World, on a Budget,” New York Times, January 2, 2010; and “Comprehensive Eye Exams Particularly Important for Classroom Success,” American Optometric Association (2008). For the “four-eyes” stigma and “planos” (in footnote), see Dubner, “Playing the Nerd Card,” Freakonomics Radio, May 31, 2012. 93 AS ALBERT EINSTEIN LIKED TO SAY . . . : Thanks again to Garson O’Toole at 94 LET’S RETURN BRIEFLY TO BARRY MARSHALL: Once again, we drew heavily from the excellent interview of Marshall conducted by Norman Swan, “Interviews with Australian Scientists: Professor Barry Marshall,” Australian Academy of Science, 2008. 96 EXPERT PERFORMANCE: See, for starters, Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D.

pages: 239 words: 69,496

The Wisdom of Finance: Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return by Mihir Desai

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, assortative mating, Benoit Mandelbrot, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, carried interest, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, follow your passion, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, housing crisis, income inequality, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jony Ive, Kenneth Rogoff, Louis Bachelier, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, principal–agent problem, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, zero-sum game

As he watched pollen emit particles in water, these particles seemed to move about randomly. Why and how were they moving? Soot particles did the same thing, making it clear that the pollen particles weren’t autonomously doing something. The conventional history of subsequent intellectual developments goes like this: in his annus mirabilis of 1905, when he produced four remarkable breakthroughs, Albert Einstein provided the first understanding of the mechanisms of so-called Brownian motion. He demonstrated that many processes that seem continuous (like the motion of dust or pollen) are in fact the product of many discrete particles moving about. In other words, the pollen particles were moving around in a continuous way because they were reacting to tiny water molecules that were bumping them at random.

Finance and economics, forever envious of the rigor and stature of physics, adopted these findings and began aping the physical sciences—thereby marking the beginning of the end. This narrative concludes that finance lost its way by promoting precision and models over human reality by trying to describe inherently social phenomena with physics and quantum mechanics. This is a convenient narrative that suits those who are dissatisfied with the rise of finance—but it is shoddy intellectual history. In fact, the person who beat Albert Einstein to the punch by five years was Louis Bachelier, a doctoral student in Paris. Rather than studying the movement of particles, he studied the movement of stocks and derived the mathematics to describe all kinds of motion, including the motion of pollen particles observed by Robert Brown. How did he do it? He realized that he could employ and generalize the magical distribution created by the quincunx into settings where outcomes weren’t the locations of falling balls, but rather processes of motion that were the result of lots of molecules behaving as if they were going through a quincunx.

pages: 1,152 words: 266,246

Why the West Rules--For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris


Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Doomsday Clock,, falling living standards, Flynn Effect, Francisco Pizarro, global village, God and Mammon, hiring and firing, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, market bubble, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, out of africa, Peter Thiel, phenotype, pink-collar, place-making, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Sinatra Doctrine, South China Sea, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, upwardly mobile, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery

Zheng 2005. 604 “great drain robbery”: cited from Kynge 2006, p. xiii. 605 “a threat to world peace”: Ipsos-Reid poll (April 2005), cited from “Balancing Act: A Survey of China,” The Economist, Special Report, March 25, 2006, p. 20 (available at 605 threat to global stability: Gallup poll (October 2007), cited from “After Bush: A Special Report on America and the World,” The Economist, March 29, 2008, p. 9 (available at 605 “PEOPLE AGONIZED”: China Daily headline (May 1999), cited from Hessler 2006, p. 20. 605 “strategic conspiracy”: Chinese Communist Party resolution (2004), cited from “Balancing Act: A Survey of China,” The Economist, Special Report, March 25, 2006, p. 15 (available at 605 “it is more likely”: Graham and Talent 2008, p. xv. 606 “No physical force”: Norman Angell, The Great Illusion (1910), cited from Ferguson 1998, p. 190. 606 “international movement of capital”: Jean Jaurès, cited from Ferguson 1998, p. 190. 606 “must involve the expenditure”: Prime Minister Edward Grey in conversation with the Austrian ambassador to Britain, July 1914, cited from Ferguson 1998, p. 191. 606 “total exhaustion”: Grey, letter to the German ambassador to Britain, July 24, 1914, cited from Ferguson 1998, p. 191. 607 “I do not know”: Albert Einstein, interview with Alfred Werner, Liberal Judaism (April—May 1949), cited from Isaacson 2007, p. 494. 608–609 estimates: Richardson 1960; Smil 2008, p. 245, 609 “guys with gross obesity”: Anonymous official in the Indian Foreign Ministry, cited from “Melting Asia,” The Economist, June 7, 2008, p. 30 (available at 609 “The first era”: T. Friedman 1999, p. xix. 609 “Globalization 3.0”: T. Friedman 2005, p. 10. 610 “The only salvation”: Albert Einstein, New York Times, September 15, 1945, cited from Isaacson 2007, pp. 487–88. 610 “If the idea”: Albert Einstein, comment on the film Where Will You Hide? (May 1948), Albert Einstein Archives (Hebrew University, Jerusalem) 28–817, cited from Isaacson 2007, p. 494. 612 David Douglas, International Energy Agency: statistics in this and the following paragraph cited from T.

I will argue later in this chapter that measuring social development shows us what we need to explain if we are to answer the why-the-West-rules question; in fact, I will propose that unless we come up with a way to measure social development we will never be able to answer this question. First, though, we need establish some principles to guide our index-making. I can think of nowhere better to start than with Albert Einstein, the most respected scientist of modern times. Einstein is supposed to have said that “in science, things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler”: that is, scientists should boil their ideas down to the core point that can be checked against reality, figure out the simplest possible way to perform the check, then do just that—nothing more, but nothing less either. Einstein’s own theory of relativity provides a famous example.

Perhaps it was the most important thing Einstein never said (but should have). 145 “I’m just wondering”: Arthur Eddington, quoted in Isaacson 2007, p. 262. 146 Norway and Sierra Leone scores: United Nations Development Programme 2009, Table H, pp. 171, 174 (available at 148 E x T → C: L. White 1949, p. 368. 149 “Every Communist”: taken from Mao Zedong’s essay “On Protracted War,” written in May 1937, quoted in Short 1999, p. 368. 151 “because no”: Naroll 1956, p. 691. 157 “conjectures and refutations”: Popper 1963, p. 43. 157 “There could be”: Albert Einstein, quoted in ibid., p. 42. 163 “There are three”: attributed to Benjamin Disraeli by Mark Twain (Twain 1924, p. 246). 170 “Are these” etc.: Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol in Prose (1843), stave 4. 4. THE EAST CATCHES UP 186 “How can a man”: Plutarch, Life of Alexander 64. 191 “And they gained”: Genesis 47.27, as translated in The New Oxford Annotated Bible (1994), p. 63 OT. 193 “Who then”: Sumerian King List, translated in Kramer 1963, p. 330. 194 “Hunger filled”: The Lamentation over Ur, lines 390–94, translated in Michalowski 1989. 197 “the kings who”: treaty between the Hittites and Amurru, late thirteenth century BCE, translated in Beckman 1999, p. 107. 199 “His Majesty [Ramses] slew”: Ramses II’s victory inscription, translated in Lichtheim 1973–80, vol.

pages: 172 words: 27,962

Green Smoothie Revolution: The Radical Leap Towards Natural Health by Victoria Boutenko


Albert Einstein

Kugel, “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Chronic Back Pain—A Thing of the Past with Ergonomics,” Medical News Today, July 9, 2005. 21D. Heck, “Revision Rates after Knee Replacement in the United States,” Medical Care 36, no. 5 (May 1998):661–669. 22 3 THE FIRST GREEN SMOOTHIE When the solution is simple, God is answering. —ALBERT EINSTEIN FOR DECADES DIETICIANS HAVE BEEN EDUCATING THE PUBLIC ABOUT the benefits of greens, but it was never clear how best to incorporate fresh greens into everyone’s daily diet. The only option for eating greens seemed to be the salad. The problem is that in our industrialized world, the taste of greens is not as appealing as the stimulating taste of processed foods. That is why despite Popeye cartoons and Jolly Green Giant advertisements, mothers pushing broccoli on their children, wheatgrass shots in juice bars, and a variety of green powders becoming available in recent years, greens still remained a nonessential side dish or even an unpleasant requirement for the majority of consumers.

pages: 83 words: 23,805

City 2.0: The Habitat of the Future and How to Get There by Ted Books

active transport: walking or cycling, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, big-box store, carbon footprint, cleantech, collaborative consumption, crowdsourcing, demand response, housing crisis, Induced demand, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, jitney, Kibera, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, McMansion, megacity, New Urbanism, openstreetmap, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart grid, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, Zipcar

Image: Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech Emission hunters Scientists transform a city into one big climate lab using an arsenal of space-age technology By John Metcalfe, the Atlantic Cities Southern California’s Mount Wilson is a lonesome, hostile peak — prone to sudden rock falls, sometimes ringed by wildfire — that nevertheless has attracted some of the greatest minds in modern science. George Ellery Hale, one of the godfathers of astrophysics, founded the Mount Wilson Observatory in 1904 and divined that sunspots were magnetic. His acolyte Edwin Hubble used a huge telescope, dragged up by mule train, to prove the universe was expanding. Even Albert Einstein made a pilgrimage in the 1930s to hobnob with the astronomers (and suffered a terrible hair day, a photo shows). The LA basin extends, grimily, from the CLARS observatory atop Mount Wilson. Image: John Metcalfe Today, Mount Wilson is the site of a more terrestrial but no less ambitious endeavor. Scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and elsewhere are turning the entire Los Angeles metro region into a state-of-the-art climate laboratory.

pages: 404 words: 134,430

Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, false memory syndrome, Gary Taubes, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, laissez-faire capitalism, life extension, moral panic, Murray Gell-Mann, out of africa, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

We would talk about the real far-out ideas in physics, such as the many-histories interpretation of physics. I read Godel's paper on closed time-like curves. I was fascinated by that and went and got a copy of the second volume of Albert Einstein, Philosopher/Scientist. I read that Einstein became aware of this possibility when he was generating the general theory of relativity, and he even discussed the Godel paper. That gave me confidence because the majority of the community of physicists may not believe in the possibility of time travel, but Kurt Godel and Albert Einstein did, and those were not lightweight scientists. (1995) Tipler's first published paper appeared in the prestigious Physical Review. Written while he was a graduate student, it proposed that a time machine might actually be possible.

Priests, rabbis, and ministers do not attempt to improve upon the sayings of their masters; they repeat, interpret, and teach them. Pseudoscientists do not correct the errors of their predecessors; they perpetuate them. By cumulative change I mean, then, that when a paradigm shifts, scientists do not abandon the entire science. Rather, what remains useful in the paradigm is retained as new features are added and new interpretations given. Albert Einstein emphasized this point in reflecting upon his own contributions to physics and cosmology: "Creating a new theory is not like destroying an old barn and erecting a skyscraper in its place. It is rather like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views, discovering unexpected connections between our starting point and its rich environment. But the point from which we started out still exists and can be seen, although it appears smaller and forms a tiny part of our broad view gained by the mastery of the obstacles on our adventurous way up" (in Weaver 1987, p. 133).

pages: 412 words: 115,266

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris


Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Bayesian statistics, cognitive bias, end world poverty, endowment effect, energy security, experimental subject, framing effect, hindsight bias, impulse control, John Nash: game theory, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, ultimatum game, World Values Survey

While I’m not at all sure that it exhausts this mystery, I think there is something to be said for Craik’s idea (Craik, 1943) that an isomorphism between brain processes and the processes in the world that they represent might account for the utility of numbers and certain mathematical operations. Is it really so surprising that certain patterns of brain activity (i.e., numbers) can map reliably onto the world? 77. Collins also has a terrible tendency of cherry-picking and misrepresenting the views of famous scientists like Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein. For instance he writes: Even Albert Einstein saw the poverty of a purely naturalistic worldview. Choosing his words carefully, he wrote, “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” The one choosing words carefully here is Collins. As we saw above, when read in context (Einstein, 1954, pp. 41–49), this quote reveals that Einstein did not in the least endorse theism and that his use of the word “God” was a poetical way of referring to the laws of nature.

Has the medical community’s insistence that people should not smoke led to “fascism”? Many people’s reflexive response to the notion of moral expertise is to say, “I don’t want anyone telling me how to live my life.” To which I can only respond, “If there were a way for you and those you care about to be much happier than you now are, would you want to know about it?” 18. This is the subject of that now infamous quotation from Albert Einstein, endlessly recycled by religious apologists, claiming that “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Far from indicating his belief in God, or his respect for unjustified belief, Einstein was speaking about the primitive urge to understand the universe, along with the “faith” that such understanding is possible: Though religion may be that which determines the goal, it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up.

pages: 476 words: 118,381

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil Degrasse Tyson, Avis Lang


Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, carbon-based life, centralized clearinghouse, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, dark matter, Gordon Gekko, informal economy, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Karl Jansky, Kuiper Belt, Louis Blériot, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Pluto: dwarf planet, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, space pen, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, trade route, V2 rocket

At the end of the nineteenth century, investigating high-energy radiation, Wilhelm Röntgen explored the properties of X-rays and Marie Curie explored the properties of radium. Both died of cancer. The three crew members of Apollo 1 burned to death on the launchpad in 1967. The space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after launch in 1986, while space shuttle Columbia broke up on reentry in 2003, in both cases killing all seven crew members. Sometimes the risks extend far beyond the discoverers. In 1905 Albert Einstein introduced the equation E = mc 2, the unprecedented recipe that interchanged matter with energy and ultimately begat the atomic bomb. Coincidentally, just two years before the first appearance of Einstein’s famous equation, Orville Wright made the first successful flight in an airplane, the vehicle that would one day deliver the first atomic bombs in warfare. Shortly after the invention of the airplane, there appeared in one of the widely distributed magazines of the day a letter to the editor expressing concern over possible misuse of the new flying machine, noting that if an evil person took command of a plane, he might fly it over villages filled with innocent, defenseless people and toss canisters of nitroglycerin on them.

Shortly after the invention of the airplane, there appeared in one of the widely distributed magazines of the day a letter to the editor expressing concern over possible misuse of the new flying machine, noting that if an evil person took command of a plane, he might fly it over villages filled with innocent, defenseless people and toss canisters of nitroglycerin on them. Wilbur and Orville Wright are, of course, no more to blame for the deaths resulting from military application of the airplane than Albert Einstein is to blame for deaths resulting from atomic bombs. For better or for worse, discoveries take their place in the public domain and are thus subject to patterns of human behavior that seem deeply embedded and quite ancient. Discovery and the Human Ego The history of human ideas about our place in the universe has been a long series of letdowns for everybody who likes to believe we’re special.

By 1925, a mere half decade later, Edwin Hubble had discovered that nearly all galaxies recede from the Milky Way at speeds in direct proportion to their distances. But it was self-evident that our galaxy, the Milky Way, was in the center of the expansion of the universe. Having been an attorney before becoming an astronomer, Hubble probably would have won any debate he might have had with other scientists, no matter what he argued, but he clearly could muster the evidence for an expanding universe with us at the center. In the context of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, however, the appearance of being at the center was a natural consequence of a universe that expands in four dimensions, with time as number four. Given that description of the universe, every galaxy would observe all other galaxies to be receding, leading inescapably to the conclusion that we are not alone, and we are not special. And the onward momentum toward insignificance continued with a vengeance.

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The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner


Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, business climate, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, Edward Thorp, horn antenna, Hush-A-Phone, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, James Watt: steam engine, Karl Jansky, knowledge economy, Leonard Kleinrock, Metcalfe’s law, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Picturephone, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

One place to learn about these ideas was the upper floor of the Bell Labs West Street offices, where a large auditorium served as a place for Bell Labs functions and a forum for new ideas. In the 1920s, a one-hour colloquium was set up at 5 p.m. on Mondays so that outside scholars like Robert Millikan and Enrico Fermi or inside scholars like Davisson, Darrow, and Shockley—though only twenty-seven years old at the time—could lecture members of the Bell Labs technical staff on recent scientific developments. (Albert Einstein came to West Street in 1935, but was evidently more interested in touring the microphone shop with Harvey Fletcher than giving a talk.)3 Another place to learn about the new ideas was the local universities. The Great Depression, as it happened, was a boon for scientific knowledge. Bell Labs had been forced to reduce its employees’ hours, but some of the young staffers, now with extra time on their hands, had signed up for academic courses at Columbia University in uptown Manhattan.

Perhaps there were deeper and more fundamental properties, Shannon now wondered, that were common to all the different kinds of media—telephony, radio, television, telegraphy included.13 In his letter to Bush, he hadn’t gone far beyond what Hartley had put forward years earlier, but he hinted that he might, under the right circumstance and given some time, be able to work out some kind of overarching theory about messages and communications. Nothing seemed to come of this during his summer at Bell Labs, and nothing seemed to come of it just after, as Shannon took a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where Albert Einstein was in residence. “I poured tea for him,” Norma recalls of Einstein, “and he told me I was married to a brilliant, brilliant man.” Shannon then returned to New York—accepting an offer to officially join the mathematics department at Bell Labs. “I could smell the war coming along,” he would later recall, “and it seemed to me I would be safer working full-time for the war effort, safer against the draft, which I didn’t exactly fancy….

John Pierce, feeling himself in a rut, had retired a few years before his sixty-fifth birthday, accepting a teaching position at his alma mater, the California Institute of Technology, and relocating to the West Coast, not far from where he had attended high school and flown glider planes. “John Pierce is the model of contemporary man,” Baker said at Pierce’s 1971 retirement ceremony, “because he is always ahead of his time by decades and hence can’t avoid eventually being contemporary.” It wasn’t only men such as Albert Einstein or Niels Bohr, Baker added with his usual enthusiasm, who should be heroes of twentieth-century science; those men, brilliant as they were, could never have done what Pierce did, which was to “inject realism into every element of physical science pursued at the Bell Laboratories.” In Baker’s view, Pierce had helped create “usable and visible” technology. It wasn’t theory; it was work that changed people’s lives.

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Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland


activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, assortative mating, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, call centre, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, double helix, energy security, estate planning, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, global village, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, high net worth, income inequality, invention of the steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liberation theology, light touch regulation, linear programming, London Whale, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, NetJets, new economy, Occupy movement, open economy, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Solar eclipse in 1919, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, the new new thing, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

Progress and Poverty, George’s most important book, sold three million copies and was translated into German, French, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Spanish, Russian, Hungarian, Hebrew, and Mandarin. During his lifetime, George was probably the third best-known American, eclipsed only by Thomas Edison and Mark Twain. He was admired by foreign luminaries of the age, too—Leo Tolstoy, Sun Yat-sen, and Albert Einstein, who wrote that “men like Henry George are rare, unfortunately. One cannot imagine a more beautiful combination of intellectual keenness, artistic form and fervent love of justice.” George Bernard Shaw described his own thinking about the political economy as a continuation of the ideas of George, whom he had once heard deliver a speech. In 1886, the year the Statue of Liberty was erected, George came second in the New York mayoral race, attracting an official tally of 68,110 votes and beating the Republican candidate, a rambunctious young patrician named Theodore Roosevelt.

Another physics laureate went so far as to worry he was getting kudos for discoveries made by others: “I’m probably getting credit now, if I don’t watch myself, for things other people figured out. Because I’m notorious and when I say [something], people say: ‘Well, he’s the one that thought this out.’ Well, I may just be saying things that other people have thought out before.” The scientist who best exemplifies the self-fulfilling power of fame is, ironically, the one most of us would immediately name as the twentieth century’s brightest example of pure intellectual genius: Albert Einstein. Einstein was indeed a groundbreaking physicist, whose theory of relativity ushered in the nuclear age and transformed the way we think about the material world. But why is he a household name, while Niels Bohr, who made important contributions to quantum mechanics and developed a model of atomic structure that remains valid today, or James Watson, one of the discoverers of the double helix structure of DNA, is not?

“Although comparable data on the past are sparse” “Global Wealth Report 2011,” Credit Suisse Research Institute, October 2011. 93 percent of the gains Saez, “Striking It Richer.” “Probably if you had looked at the situation” CF interview with Emmanuel Saez, February 24, 2011. CHAPTER 2: CULTURE OF THE PLUTOCRATS “Somebody ought to sit down” Scott Turow, Pleading Guilty (Grand Central Publishing, 1994), p. 174. “men like Henry George” Albert Einstein, letter to Anna George de Mille, 1934. “the battle cry for all” Joanne Reitano, The Restless City: A Short History of New York from Colonial Times to the Present (Taylor & Francis, 2006), p. 101. “Not even Lincoln had a more glorious death” “Expressions of Regret: The Comments of Many Prominent Persons in New York Upon the Death of Henry George,” New York Times, October 30, 1987.

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Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan


Albert Einstein, British Empire, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, colonial rule,, facts on the ground, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, one-state solution, The Spirit Level, Yom Kippur War

We might be losing a historical chance that won't return. The transfer cause, in my view, is more important than all our demands for additional territory . . . with the evacuation of the Arab population from the valleys, we get for the first time in our history a real Jewish state." A year later, Ben-Gurion would declare, "I support compulsory transfer." Others sympathetic to the Zionist cause had warned against such measures. Albert Einstein and Martin Buber, for example, had long advocated what Einstein called "sympathetic cooperation" between "the two great Semitic peoples," who "may have a great future in common." The Arabs were as stunned by the Peel Commission's proposal as Ben-Gurion was excited. The Arab Higher Committee, led by the mufti of Jerusalem, promptly rejected it, not only because of the transfer plan, but because of the partition itself.

Chaim Simons, a West Bank settler and curator of A Historical Survey of Proposals to Transfer Arabs from Palestine, 1895—1947, a large collection of Zionist writings on transfer that can be found online at Senate/7854/transfer.html. (The Zangwill "trek" quote is cited at www.geocities.Senate/7854/transfer.html. (The Zangwill "trek" quote is cited at A briefer overview of transfer and Zionism comes from liana Sternbaum's "Historical Roots of the Idea of Transfer," Other Zionists, like Albert Einstein and Martin Buber, advocated coexistence with the Arab population and opposed any transfer plans. See Stanley Aronowitz in "Setting the Record Straight: Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Jewish Critics," The resumption of the Arab Rebellion and the British crackdown are chronicled in Political Diaries of the Arab World, Vol. 3, pp. 39-49. The air attack on rebel bands was documented in an article in the Times of London, October 3, 1938, as cited by Hirst, p. 215.

Sayigh (pp. 61-62) and Shlaim (TheIron Wall, pp. 123-29) cover general tensions between Egypt, Israel, and the Gaza Palestinians. The hope in Nasser was expressed by Bashir; Nasser's background, including his roots as the son of a postal worker, are discussed by Heikal on pp. 88-90. Nasser and pan-Arabism are discussed by Sayigh, pp. 29-33, and Heikal, pp. 110-11. Heikal, a close aide to Nasser, relays a fascinating and little-known part of the story: the near intervention of Albert Einstein. "Einstein felt sorry for Palestinians who had been dispossessed by the Jews, just as he had been by the Nazis," Heikal wrote. He asked me to convey a message to the Egyptian leadership [Nasser] expressing his wish to serve as a catalyst for peace. . . . The message was delivered as requested and discussed within Nasser's inner circle. Einstein's stature and the way he framed his approach made a negative reply difficult, but the taboo [against Arab leaders' recognition of Israel] was overwhelming in its power.

pages: 415 words: 125,089

Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein


Albert Einstein, Alvin Roth, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Bayesian statistics, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, buttonwood tree, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, computerized trading, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, endowment effect, experimental economics, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Fermat's Last Theorem, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, index fund, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, linear programming, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, mental accounting, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nash equilibrium, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, spectrum auction, statistical model, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Bayes, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, Vanguard fund, zero-sum game

Never again would economists insist that fluctuations in the economy were a theoretical impossibility. Never again would science appear so unreservedly benign, nor would religion and family institutions be so unthinkingly accepted in the western world. World War I put an end to all that. Radical transformations in art, literature, and music produced abstract and often shocking forms that stood in disturbing contrast to the comfortable modes of the nineteenth century. When Albert Einstein demonstrated that an imperfection lurked below the surface of Euclidean geometry, and when Sigmund Freud declared that irrationality is the natural condition of humanity, both men became celebrities overnight. Up to this point, the classical economists had defined economics as a riskless system that always produced optimal results. Stability, they promised, was guaranteed. If people decided to save more and spend less, the interest rate would fall, thereby encouraging investment or discouraging saving enough to bring matters back into balance.

He believed that there is too much going on for us to figure it all out by studying a set of finite experiments, but, like most of his contemporaries, he was convinced that there was an underlying order to the whole process, ordained by the Almighty. The missing part to which he alluded with "only for the most part" was not random but an invisible element of the whole structure. Three hundred years later, Albert Einstein struck the same note. In a famous comment that appeared in a letter to his fellow-physicist Max Born, Einstein declared, "You believe in a God who plays with dice, and I in complete law and order in a world which objectively exists."2 Bernoulli and Einstein may be correct that God does not play with dice, but, for better or for worse and in spite of all our efforts, human beings do not enjoy complete knowledge of the laws that define the order of the objectively existing world.

Morningstar Mutual Funds. Chicago, Illinois. Bi-weekly. Muir, Jane, 1961. Of Men and Numbers: The Story of the Great Mathematicians. New York: Dodd, Mead.* Nasar, Sylvia, 1994. "The Lost Years of a Nobel Laureate." The New York Times, November 13, 1994, Section 3, p. 1. Newman, James R., 1988a. The World of Mathematics: A Small Library of the Literature of Mathematics from A'h-mose the Scribe to Albert Einstein. Redmond, Washington: Tempus Press.* Newman, James R., 1988b. "Commentary on an Absent-Minded Genius and the Laws of Chance." In Newman, 1988a, pp. 1353-1358. Newman, James R., 1988c. "Commentary on Lord Keynes." In Newman, 1988a, pp. 1333-1338. Newman, James R., 1988d. "Commentary on Pierre Simon De Laplace." In Newman, 1988a, pp. 1291-1299. Newman, James R., 1988e. "Commentary on Sir Francis Galton."

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The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins


Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Brownian motion, cosmological principle, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, double helix,, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, invisible hand, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, unbiased observer

I recommend the technique to other authors, but I must warn that for best results the reader must be a professional actor, with voice and ear sensitively tuned to the music of language. CHAPTER 1 A DEEPLY RELIGIOUS NON-BELIEVER I don’t try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it. –ALBERT EINSTEIN DESERVED RESPECT The boy lay prone in the grass, his chin resting on his hands. He suddenly found himself overwhelmed by a heightened awareness of the tangled stems and roots, a forest in microcosm, a transfigured world of ants and beetles and even – though he wouldn’t have known the details at the time – of soil bacteria by the billions, silently and invisibly shoring up the economy of the micro-world.

Perhaps it does; but that, of course, has not the smallest bearing on the truth value of any of its supernatural claims. There are many intellectual atheists who proudly call themselves Jews and observe Jewish rites, perhaps out of loyalty to an ancient tradition or to murdered relatives, but also because of a confused and confusing willingness to label as ‘religion’ the pantheistic reverence which many of us share with its most distinguished exponent, Albert Einstein. They may not believe but, to borrow a phrase from the philosopher Daniel Dennett, they ‘believe in belief’.4 One of Einstein’s most eagerly quoted remarks is ‘Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.’ But Einstein also said, It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly.

CHAPTER 6 THE ROOTS OF MORALITY: WHY ARE WE GOOD? Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men – above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends. –ALBERT EINSTEIN Many religious people find it hard to imagine how, without religion, one can be good, or would even want to be good. I shall discuss such questions in this chapter. But the doubts go further, and drive some religious people to paroxysms of hatred against those who don’t share their faith. This is important, because moral considerations lie hidden behind religious attitudes to other topics that have no real link with morality.

Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the Transformation of World Food Production by Vaclav Smil


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Haber-Bosch Process, invention of gunpowder, Louis Pasteur, Pearl River Delta, precision agriculture, recommendation engine, The Design of Experiments

Where once similar backgrounds and similar interests had fostered deep attachment, a lethargic tolerance developed, and the marriage slowly began to disintegrate.’’ A similar case, which has only recently become better known, comes immediately to mind: the disintegration of the marriage between Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric. She was Einstein’s fellow physics student (the only woman) at the Eidgenösische Technische Hochschule in Zurich, and their illegitimate daughter was given away for adoption (they finally married in 1903). Although no solid evidence supports such a claim, Mileva may have collaborated on some of Einstein key ideas before she transformed herself into a housewife. A great love affair ended in a bitter separation. See Renn, J., and Schulmann, R., eds. 1992. Albert Einstein, Mileva Maric: The Love Letters. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 34. We do not know why the brothers chose Haber; Szöllösi-Janze (14), p. 166, speculates that they may had been his father’s business associates. 35.

Creating an Industry 103 Ammonia Synthesis for War On August 4, 1914, all Reichstag parties voted for war credits.65 In October Ludwig Fulda’s manifesto To the Civilized World—which made an astonishing claim that ‘‘[w]ere it not for German militarism, German civilization would long since have been extirpated. . . . The German army and the German people are one’’—was signed by 93 scientists.66 Among the prominent names were three past (Paul Ehrlich, Emil Fischer, and Wilhelm Ostwald) and three future (Richard Willstätter, Fritz Haber, and Walther Nerst) Nobel Prize winners, who were convinced that Germany bore no responsibility for the war and that it simply had to defend itself.67 Albert Einstein’s pacifist proclamation attracted four signatures, including his own! But the blind enthusiasm for war was shortlived as it became obvious that Germany would not achieve a lightning victory on the Western front. After the horrendous loss of life brought by an enormous expenditure of munitions during the first Battle of the Marne (September 6–9, 1914) it was realized that trench warfare would require more explosives than foreseen before the war.

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The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution by Jonathan Eig


Albert Einstein, experimental subject, feminist movement, Norman Mailer, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Rosa Parks, Upton Sinclair, women in the workforce

Now her time was running out, which was why she had come to an apartment high above Park Avenue to meet a man who was possibly her last hope. The woman was Margaret Sanger, one of the legendary crusaders of the twentieth century. The man was Gregory Goodwin Pincus, a scientist with a genius IQ and a dubious reputation. Pincus was forty-seven years old, five feet ten and a half inches tall, with a bristly mustache and graying hair that shot from his head in every direction. He looked like a cross between Albert Einstein and Groucho Marx. He would speed into a room, working a Viceroy between his yellowed fingers, and people would huddle close to hear what he had to say. He wasn’t famous. He owned no scientific prizes. No world-changing inventions were filed under his name. In fact, for a long stretch of his career he had been an outcast from the scientific establishment, rejected as a radical by Harvard, humiliated in the press, and left with no choice but to conduct his varied and oftentimes controversial experiments in a converted garage.

It would take nothing less than a sexual revolution—a term of Reich’s creation—to create a truly free society. Reich was the prophet of the orgasm. He even devised a special box—the Orgone Energy Accumulator—to help harness orgasmic energy, which he believed circulated in the atmosphere and in the human bloodstream. Norman Mailer, Saul Bellow, William Steig, and many other intellectuals later sat in the box (Albert Einstein considered it but politely declined). Eventually the federal government labeled Reich a fraud, but by then it didn’t matter. He had already inspired a generation of believers who would become central players in the sexual revolution. After Reich came Alfred Kinsey. At first glance, Kinsey did not look like a radical. He wore a bow tie and crew cut as he lectured students at the University of Indiana, and he liked to invite his colleagues to his home to drink tea and listen to classical music from his impressive record collection.

He was on the cusp of what promised to be a brilliant career teaching and conducting research at one of the wealthiest and most prestigious universities in the world. Just like that, it was gone. Pincus may have been the victim of small-mindedness and anti-Semitism, but he was also undone by his own outsized ego. He scrambled. He applied for jobs but received no offers. He arranged a meeting with Albert Einstein. He asked some of his wealthy and influential cousins for help. But he couldn’t find another college willing to hire him. He appealed to his former classmate, Hudson Hoagland, who had left Harvard and gone to work at Clark University in Worcester, where he had taken over a three-man biology department. Hoagland was a tall, thin man with a bald head, chiseled jaw, and round glasses. Like Pincus, Hoagland saw scientific mysteries everywhere and felt it his calling to solve them.

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Darwin Among the Machines by George Dyson


Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, British Empire, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer age, Danny Hillis, Donald Davies, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, finite state, IFF: identification friend or foe, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, phenotype, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, spectrum auction, strong AI, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, zero-sum game

Its founders, in 1930, envisioned their educational utopia as a refuge from the mind-numbing bureaucracy of U.S. universities; they did not imagine the international upheaval from which their enclave would shortly offer an escape. “The Institute was a beacon in the descending darkness,” wrote Director Harry Woolf in 1980, reflecting on the first fifty years, “a gateway to a new life, and for a very few a final place within which to continue to work and transmit to others the style and the techniques of great learning from the other shore.”2 After the war the Institute became a permanent home to Albert Einstein, Kurt Gödel, John von Neumann, George Kennan, and other scholars equally distinguished if less well known. J. Robert Oppenheimer reigned as director from 1947 to 1966, presiding over what he described as an “intellectual hotel.” He maintained the Institute’s lead in mathematical physics while hosting transient scholars as diverse as child psychologist Jean Piaget and poet T. S. Eliot, a visiting member for the fall term of 1948 who listed The Cocktail Party (1950) as his only “publication related to IAS residence.”3 The Institute woods, bordered by the meandering bends of Stony Brook, offered sanctuary to indigenous wildlife as well, a refuge against the suburban fringe that was metastasizing up and down the eastern seaboard as inexorably as Dutch elm disease, consuming farmland as well as forest and leaving two-car garages in its wake.

“Universities . . . are overorganized,” was his main complaint. The Institute’s goal was to avoid “dull and increasingly frequent meetings of committees, groups, or the faculty itself. Once started, this tendency toward organization and formal consultation could never be stopped.”9 The Institute for Advanced Study was incorporated on 20 May 1930, with Flexner as first director, followed by Frank Aydelotte in 1939 and J. Robert Oppenheimer in 1947. Albert Einstein and Oswald Veblen were appointed to the first professorships at the end of 1932, joined by John von Neumann, Hermann Weyl, and James Alexander in 1933. The School of Mathematics opened in 1933, followed by Humanistic Studies and Economics in 1935, Historical Studies in 1948, Natural Sciences in 1966, and Social Science in 1973. Theoretical Biology is rumored to be next. “The Institute is, from the standpoint of organization, the simplest and least formal thing imaginable,” explained Flexner.

., Letters of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy from 1833–1847 (London, 1864), 23–24. 29.John Wilkins, Mercury; or, the Secret and Swift messenger: Shewing, How a Man may with Privacy and Speed communicate his Thoughts to a Friend at any distance (London: John Maynard, 1641), 141, 143. 30.J. B. S. Haldane, “Man’s Destiny,” Possible Worlds (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1928), 303. 31.Garrett, Ouroboros, 19. 32.Ibid., 24. 33.Ibid., 100. 34.Ibid., 92. 35.Ibid., 51. 36.Isaac Newton, Opticks; or, A Treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Inflections and Colours of Light. The Fourth Edition, Corrected (London: William Innys, 1730); reprinted, with a foreword by Albert Einstein (London: G. Bell, 1931; New York, Dover Publications, 1952), 370 (page citation is to the 1952 edition). 37.Henry David Thoreau, “Walking,” Atlantic Monthly 9, no. 56 (June 1862): 665. INDEX A Aberdeen (Md.) proving ground, 79–80 absolute addressing, 114 Accidents and Emergencies; A Guide for their Treatment before the arrival of Medical Aid (Smee), 45 adaptation, 6, 113, 114 and evolution of software, 57, 185 without natural selection, 176–77 addition, modulo, 66 Adleman, Leonard, 165 AEC (Atomic Energy Commission), 77, 91, 102, 118 Agamemnon (Aeschylus), 131–32 agents (software), 182, 185, 189 Air Force, U.S., 76, 144–45, 152, 178–80, 183. see also nuclear weapons; RAND; SAGE air pump (Boyle), 3, 134 Alamogordo (New Mexico) bomb test, 78 alchemy, 214 Alexander I (Czar), 141 Alexander, James, 96 algae, 112, 129 algebra, 43. see also Boolean algebra; philosophical algebra algorithms, 54, 58, 158 for binary arithmetic, of Leibniz, 37 packet switching, 12, 42, 151 and punched-card data processing, 83–84 alphabet, 49, 62, 132, 137–38, 140, 225 binary coding of, 61, 132–33, 143 genetic, 27, 118 of ideas, and Leibniz, 36–38 of machine instructions, 118, 121 and Turing machine, 55 Ampère, André-Marie (1775–1836) and cybernétique, 6, 141, 161–162 and game theory, 6, 153–54 on telegraphy and electrodynamics, 141 “Analogy Between Mental Images and Sparks” (Richardson), 87 analytical engine (Babbage), 38–43, 59, 68, 103 AN-FSQ-7 computer (Army-Navy Fixed Special eQuipment), 179–81. see also SAGE architecture, computer.

The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community by David C. Korten


Albert Einstein, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, British Empire, clean water, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, death of newspapers, declining real wages, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, God and Mammon, Hernando de Soto, Howard Zinn, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, joint-stock company, land reform, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Monroe Doctrine, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, new economy, peak oil, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Project for a New American Century, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sexual politics, source of truth, South Sea Bubble, stem cell, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, trade route, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, World Values Survey

He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Albert Einstein According to conventional wisdom, hierarchies of dominance are required to bring order to human societies because we humans are by nature an inherently unruly and self-centered species prone to violence and lawlessness. We therefore require the discipline of a ruling class and the competition of an unregulated market to impose order. By telling only part of the story, this conventional wisdom becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, defining our beliefs about human possibility, the preferred architecture of our institutions, and the appropriate parameters of our political conversation.

The explosive advance of human knowledge in the past hundred years greatly expands not only our understanding of our nature and possibilities but also the capacity for cooperative self-organization and mutual service inherent in the very nature of life itself. To navigate successfully the turbulent waters of the Great Turning, we must revisit and update the stories by which we communicate our common understanding of our human origin, purpose, and possibility. This page intentionally left blank CHAPTER 15 Beyond Strict Father versus Aging Clock Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind. Albert Einstein For peoples, generally, their story of the universe and the human role in the universe is their primary source of intelligibility and value.… The deepest crises experienced by any society are those moments of change when the story becomes inadequate for meeting the survival demands of a present situation.1 Thomas Berry Alienated from life and lacking a story appropriate to our time and understanding, we contemporary humans are condemned to seek meaning where it is not to be found.

CHAPTER 19 Leading from Below I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man’s pride. William James In nature, change doesn’t happen from a top-down, strategic approach. There is never a boss in a living system. Change happens from within, from many local actions occurring simultaneously.1 Meg Wheatley Albert Einstein famously observed, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Our task is to bring forth the higher levels of human consciousness and recreate our cultures and institutions to align with our possibilities. Throughout the twentieth century, most revolutionaries used guns to wrest control of dominator institutions from ruling elites in the name of justice.

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A Man for All Markets by Edward O. Thorp


3Com Palm IPO, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, beat the dealer, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, buy low sell high, carried interest, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, compound rate of return, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Edward Thorp, Erdős number, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, George Santayana, German hyperinflation, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, High speed trading, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, Mason jar, merger arbitrage, Murray Gell-Mann, Myron Scholes, NetJets, Norbert Wiener, passive investing, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, publish or perish, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, statistical arbitrage, stem cell, survivorship bias, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Predators' Ball, the rule of 72, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, Works Progress Administration

— We were guided in this trade and thousands of others by a formula that had its beginnings in 1900 in the PhD thesis of French mathematician Louis Bachelier. Bachelier used mathematics to develop a theory for pricing options on the Paris stock exchange (the Bourse). His thesis adviser, the world-famous mathematician Henri Poincaré, didn’t value Bachelier’s effort, and Bachelier spent the rest of his life as an obscure provincial professor. Meanwhile a twenty-six-year-old Swiss patent clerk named Albert Einstein would soon publish in his single “miraculous year” of 1905 a series of articles that would transform physics. One of these initiated the Theory of Relativity, which revolutionized the theory of gravitation and led to the nuclear age. The second paper, on the particle nature of light, helped launch the Quantum Theory. But it is yet another of Einstein’s articles that connects with my story. In that paper Einstein explained a baffling discovery made in 1827 by the botanist Robert Brown.

CHAPTER 13 never before tried The year before, Arbitrage Management Company was set up to exploit the hedging ideas in Beat the Market. Among others it involved Harry Markowitz, who later won a Nobel Prize in Economics, and John Shelton, a leading finance professor and warrant theorist. Though profitable, the gains were not enough to keep it from disappearing from the scene after three years. would transform physics For a full account see the inspiring Annus Mirabilis: 1905, Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity, by John and Mary Gribbin, Penguin, New York, 2005. of stock price changes See the article by Case M. Sprenkle in The Random Character of Stock Market Prices, Paul H. Cootner, editor, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1964. riskless interest rate Academic economists and financial theorists have long assumed, as in the Black-Scholes formula, that US Treasury bonds and their short-term version, bills, are riskless.

Note that the average of $37 million, divided by the cutoff of $11.5 million, is 3.2, very close to the result of the same calculation for the wealth distribution of the Forbes 400, suggesting that 2007 superrich taxable income followed the same, or nearly the same, power law as that for wealth. CHAPTER 24 disputed origin The claimed sources include Benjamin Franklin, various Rothschilds, Albert Einstein, Bernard Baruch, and “unknown.” $22 million result These figures do not include trading costs or income taxes. A buy-and-hold investor loses little to trading costs and is taxed only on dividends. Taxes, if any, vary with the investor. less than the last So-called decreasing marginal utility. as one day less Adults with the same chronological age vary widely in their fitness age. Qualifiers for the Senior Olympic Games have a functional and fitness age averaging twenty-five years less than their calendar age, as reported in “Older Athletes Have a Strikingly Young Fitness Age,” by Gretchen Reynolds, in the New York Times, July 1, 2015.

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Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson

3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Airbnb, airline deregulation, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backtesting, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, book scanning, British Empire, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, complexity theory, computer age, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, disintermediation, distributed ledger, double helix, Elon Musk,, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, family office, fiat currency, financial innovation, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, law of one price, Lyft, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Plutocrats, plutocrats, precision agriculture, prediction markets, pre–internet, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, yield management, zero day 167 less than 1% of worldwide smartphone sales: Gartner, “Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales Grew 3.9 Percent in First Quarter of 2016,” May 19, 2016, table 2, 167 “Microsoft’s Nokia experiment is over”: Tom Warren, “Microsoft Lays Off Hundreds as It Guts Its Phone Business,” Verge, May 25, 2016, 168 more than 20,000 layoffs: ZDNet, “Worst Tech Mergers and Acquisitions: Nokia and Microsoft, AOL and Time Warner,” Between the Lines (blog), February 13, 2016, 168 almost $8 billion in write-downs: Nick Wingfield, “Cutting Jobs, Micro-soft Turns Page on Nokia Deal,” New York Times, July 8, 2015, 168 the largest in Microsoft history: Gregg Keizer, “Microsoft Writes Off $7.6B, Admits Failure of Nokia Acquisition,” Computerworld, July 8, 2015, 168 By 2009, the BlackBerry operating system powered 20%: Statista, “Global Smartphone OS Market Share Held by RIM (BlackBerry) from 2007 to 2016, by Quarter,” accessed February 5, 2017, 168 By the end of 2016 the company had announced: Andrew Griffin, “BlackBerry Announces It Will Make No More New Phones,” Independent, September 28, 2016, 168 saw its market value drop below $4 billion: Google Finance, “BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY),” accessed February 5, 2017, 170 “Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler”: Wikiquote, s. v. “Albert Einstein,” last modified January 29, 2017, 170 The difference between the two: Shane Rounce, “UX vs. UI,” Dribbble, December 7, 2014, 170 Friendster: Gary Rivlin, “Wallflower at the Web Party,” New York Times, October 15, 2006, 170 News Corp bought it for $580 million in 2005: Vauhini Vara and Rebecca Buckman, “Friendster Gets $10 Million Infusion for Revival Bid,” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2006, 170 “Of the people you know”: Fame Foundry, “DeadSpace: 7 Reasons Why My-Space Is as Good as Dead,” August 1, 2009, 171 MySpace was sold by News Corp: Todd Spangler, “Time Inc.

CONCLUSION ECONOMIES AND SOCIETIES BEYOND COMPUTATION It is not enough that you should understand about applied science in order that your work may increase man’s blessings. Concern for the man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors; concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labor and the distribution of goods in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations. — Albert Einstein, 1931 OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS, YOU WILL HAVE AT YOUR DISPOSAL 100 times more computer power than you do today. Billions of brains and trillions of devices will be connected to the Internet, not only gaining access to the collective knowledge of our humanity, but also contributing to it. And by the end of the decade, more and more of that knowledge will be accessed by software agents, and created by them.

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Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk by Satyajit Das


affirmative action, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andy Kessler, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, discrete time, diversification, diversified portfolio, Doomsday Clock, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman,, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, financial innovation, financial thriller, fixed income, full employment, global reserve currency, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, index fund, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, load shedding, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson,, Philip Mirowski, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Satyajit Das, savings glut, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the market place, the medium is the message, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

If you give up a $4 Starbuck’s latte each day for 40 years, you will save $1,460 each year, $58,400 over 40 years. If you can invest the savings in the market at the end of every year and earn 20 percent each year on your investment, what will you have at the end of 40 years? $10,722,032. If you invest your $121.67 savings from foregone lattes at the end of each month, you will have $20,365,160 in your latte retirement fund. As Albert Einstein supposedly noted “compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.” Column Inches Columnists, name journalists or authorities known for being famous rather than for their output, express opinions on the topic du jour. Opinion pieces provide opportunities for banks to get their views in front of the masses. Only the fact that the piece is attributed to the analyst (for personal recognition) and the company (for marketing value) is important.

Using a normal distribution, economists Paul De Grauwe, Leonardo Iania and Pablo Rovira Kaltwasser estimated that the moves should occur only every 73 to 603 trillion billion years. “Since our universe...exists a mere 20 billion years we, finance theorists, would have had to wait for another trillion universes before one such change could be observed.... A truly miraculous event.”25 But nobody wanted to accept that their models were incorrect. Confronted with quantum theory, Albert Einstein refused to believe that God played dice with the universe. But as Stephen Hawking remarked: “Not only does God play dice, but...he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.”26 In his 1986 presidential address to the American Finance Association, Fischer Black distinguished between noise and information. In traditional communication, noise is the disruption in the passage of information through unintended addition to the signal between transmission and reception.

Soviet economists had access to the latest Western economics publications because “the Party ruled that these were mathematical works...purely technical, devoid of ideological content.”29 Models were increasingly the product of data mining, trawling through historical data to find a relationship and prove or reject hypotheses. More data and improved statistical methods overwhelmed common sense. Albert Einstein knew the problem: “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” Researchers “saw” patterns in data. But strong correlation does not prove causality. In the late 1940s, before the invention of the polio vaccine, American public health experts thought they had discovered a correlation between polio cases and increased consumption of ice cream and soft drinks.

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Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman


23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

As incredible as the Target hack was for its size and scope, just over a year later, in August 2014, that number was surpassed by a Russian hacking group that gathered 1.2 billion user names, passwords, and other confidential data from 420,000 Web sites, according to Hold Security. Crime too has entered the age of Moore’s law, and it has exponential consequences for us all. Control the Code, Control the World Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal. ALBERT EINSTEIN As the entire human race drives itself toward ubiquitous connection to the Internet, we are transforming both ourselves and our world. From this global interconnectivity will flow tremendous good. Man grows omniscient as every fact or thought ever recorded becomes available in real time regardless of its source or location. From the chemical formula for photosynthesis, to the current temperature in Baku, to who won an English county cricket match in 1901, to the latest shenanigans of Justin Bieber, all is becoming knowable as we plug ourselves into the global brain that is the Internet.

For example, using an iPhone or Google Glass, hackers might be able to visually interrogate all the IoT devices in your office or home and see information displayed on their screens about which devices had known vulnerabilities or perhaps even see your poorly secured password, making hacking the IoT even easier than it is today. Reality-altering technologies such as AR will open the door further to even more immersive virtual environments, such as virtual reality systems, which also can be subverted and abused in powerful ways. The Rise of Homo virtualis Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. ALBERT EINSTEIN Increasingly, as we live our lives through avatars—in video games, online worlds, and social networking sites—our online personas are standing in for us in social situations, commercial transactions, and even sexual encounters. They are there representing us online 24/7, compressing time and space, to interact on our behalf with the rest of the world even as we sleep. The renowned game designer Jane McGonigal has noted that “the average young person racks-up 10,000 hours of gaming by the age of 21,” the vast majority of which is in the persona of an avatar or game character.

The tools to commit evil are scaling exponentially, but our systems for scaling for good are not keeping up. Our defenses are not adapting rapidly enough to match the global systemic risk we face, something our government should be deeply concerned about. Reinventing Government: Jump-Starting Innovation We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. ALBERT EINSTEIN In 2014, only 13 percent of Americans approved of the job Congress was doing, a slight improvement from the all-time low of 9 percent in November 2013. Trust in government is practically nonexistent—whether it’s the money in politics, the government shutdowns, the partisanship, or the dearth of meaningful legislation. While the technological change all around us is proceeding at an exponential pace, the government is decidedly linear in its rate of change.

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NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman


Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, assortative mating, crowdsourcing, Douglas Engelbart,, epigenetics, experimental subject, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Larry Wall, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mother of all demos, neurotypical, New Journalism, pattern recognition, placebo effect, scientific mainstream, side project, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, union organizing, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

“Wisely, therefore, he dwelt apart”: Ibid., p. 186. “a great man, with extraordinary singularities”: Ibid., p. 167. Christa Jungnickel and Russell McCormmach: Cavendish: The Experimental Life, Christa Jungnickel and Russell McCormmach. Bucknell, 2001. another socially inept genius: “The Legend of the Dull-Witted Child Who Grew Up to Be a Genius,” Barbara Wolff and Hananya Goodman. Albert Einstein Archives. “His theory of the universe”: The Life of the Hon. Henry Cavendish, p. 186. His final instructions to his servants: The Personality of Henry Cavendish, Russell McCormmach. Archimedes, Vol. 36. Springer, 2014, p. 100. a “true anchor”: Ibid., p. 8. replaced in 1905: Ibid., p. 270. Wilson alluded to “talk about Mr. Cavendish”: Ibid., p. 75.

There was even a special “museum” hall where he showed off his beloved collection of rare minerals. Predictably, what was not on offer at No. 11 was an audience with the proprietor himself. Prospective borrowers were instructed not to disturb Cavendish if they caught sight of him browsing in the stacks and to promptly hasten home with their selections. Obviously he wasn’t much for people, as another socially inept genius, Albert Einstein, observed about himself. But to describe Cavendish as a man of no affections, or a passionless man, also misses the mark. His life was devoted to one single, all-consuming passion: the slow and patient increase of the sum of human knowledge. His mind was like a mirror held up to nature, unclouded by bias, rationalization, lust, jealousy, competition, pettiness, rancor, ego, and faith. As Wilson put it: His theory of the universe seems to have been, that it consisted solely of a multitude of objects which could be weighed, numbered, and measured; and the vocation to which he considered himself called was, to weigh, number, and measure as many of these objects as his allotted three-score years and ten would permit.

As word got around, dentists all over the city started commissioning him to work the same magic on their own applications. Kanner launched an unlikely business on the side that became a little gold mine for his family: a “Literary Bureau for Dentists.” (Dziunia ended up doing most of the work, composing all the thesis abstracts and doing all the typing, while caring for Anita.) Seeking to raise his public profile even further, he organized public events for prominent Zionists visiting Berlin, including Albert Einstein and Sholem Aleichem. Kanner had a knack for cultivating friendships that he could turn to his social and professional advantage. He once diagnosed himself as a “collector of people.” — ONE OF THE FRIENDSHIPS he cultivated opened a door to an entirely new life. While substitute-teaching a course in electrocardiography in 1923, Kanner met a visiting American doctor named Louis Holtz who became a frequent dinner companion.

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A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon by Neil Sheehan


Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, double helix, European colonialism, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, operation paperclip, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, uranium enrichment

His mind was receptive because he was so caught up in the opening years of the sinister arms competition between the Soviet Union and the United States, a rivalry that would help to bankrupt and dissolve the immense Soviet empire and bequeath America a national debt of colossal proportions. Two members of the Advisory Board at the meeting were exceptional men even among the generation of exceptional European minds who had transformed American science and learning in the decades since their arrival in the 1930s. One of the men was John von Neumann, a Hungarian-born mathematical genius, possibly the finest intelligence of the twentieth century after Albert Einstein. The second was another Hungarian, Edward Teller, a physicist of great talent and monomaniacal ambition who claimed to be the sole parent of the hydrogen bomb. The flight of this wealth of intellectual talent across the Atlantic had been a born-in-sorrow gift to America from Europe’s economic and social turmoil after the First World War and the rise of Adolf Hitler and his virulent anti-Semitism.

To these men an officer who could not fly lacked the essential qualification for admission to the brotherhood—he would never be able to exercise command in the air. While they were waiting for their appointment with von Neumann in a combined lounge and small library at the institute, Schriever was surprised by an elderly figure who walked in, apparently on the way to his office. The wildly unkempt mane of white hair and the untidy mustache could belong to only one man—Albert Einstein. Bennie got up and introduced himself and Einstein shook his hand and said a few polite words before moving on. There was a certain irony in the encounter, however fleeting. Einstein, then in his seventy-fourth year, had two years left to live and, as he reflected on his extraordinary life, the act he regretted most was signing the famous 1939 letter to Franklin Roosevelt that was the genesis of the American atomic bomb project.

German science and technology remained formidable until the ruination of defeat in 1945, but von Neumann was essentially right about the creative aspect. The 1928 volume of the German edition of the Annals of Mathematics, found among his papers at the Library of Congress, provides a sampling of the scientific talent that the Nazis hounded out of Germany to inadvertently enrich science in the United States. Theodore von Kármán is listed as one of the editors. Albert Einstein is among the contributors. Another is John von Neumann, with a paper on a mathematical model of economics he had just devised. He elaborated the theory in his new home and, in collaboration with a colleague at Princeton, Oscar Morgenstern, published it as a book, Theory of Games and Economic Behavior. The theory became widely influential on everything from nuclear strategy and arms control negotiations to economic analysis and race relations.

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Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion ofSafety by Eric Schlosser


Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Haight Ashbury, impulse control, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, life extension, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Stanislav Petrov, Stewart Brand, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche

During the 1930s, the Hungarian physicist Leó Szilárd—who’d met with H. G. Wells in 1929 and tried, without success, to obtain the central European literary rights to his novels—conceived of a nuclear weapon that would explode instantly. A Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, Szilárd feared that Hitler might launch an atomic bomb program and get the weapon first. Szilárd discussed his concerns with Albert Einstein in the summer of 1939 and helped draft a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The letter warned that “it may become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium,” leading to the creation of “extremely powerful bombs of a new type.” Einstein signed the letter, which was hand delivered to the president by a mutual friend. After British researchers concluded that such weapons could indeed be made and intelligence reports suggested that German physicists were trying to make them, the Manhattan Project was formed in 1942.

It was just another league of sovereign states, doomed to failure. The men who attended the conference at Rollins College felt the same way, and they were hardly a bunch of wild-eyed radicals. Among those who signed Holt’s “Appeal to the Peoples of the World” were the president of the Standard Oil Company of Ohio, the chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers, three U.S. senators, one U.S. Supreme Court justice, a congressman, and Albert Einstein. The appeal called for the United Nations’ General Assembly to be transformed into the legislative branch of a world government. The General Assembly would be authorized to ban weapons of mass destruction, conduct inspections for such weapons, and use military force to enforce international law. “We believe these to be the minimum requirements,” the appeal concluded, “of a world government capable of averting another war in the atomic era.”

On January 31, 1950, President Truman met with David Lilienthal, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson to discuss the Superbomb. Acheson and Johnson had already expressed their support for developing one. The president asked whether the Soviets could do it. His advisers suggested that they could. “In that case, we have no choice,” Truman said. “We’ll go ahead.” Two weeks after the president’s decision was publicly announced, Albert Einstein read a prepared statement about the hydrogen bomb on national television. He criticized the militarization of American society, the intimidation of anyone who opposed it, the demands for loyalty and secrecy, the “hysterical character” of the nuclear arms race, and the “disastrous illusion” that this new weapon would somehow make America safer. “Every step appears as the unavoidable consequence of the preceding one,” Einstein said.

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Extraterrestrial Civilizations by Isaac Asimov


Albert Einstein, Cepheid variable, Columbine, Edward Charles Pickering, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, invention of radio, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

As for other stars, Sirius is 8.63 light-years away; Procyon, 11.43 light-years; Rigel (still a comparatively close star), 540 light-years away. It would take over 1,000 years to get an answer from a planet circling Rigel. This might seem irrelevant to the problem of getting to the stars. If light takes 4.40 years to reach Alpha Centauri, need we not merely build up our speed to where it is faster than light and thus outrace the signal and get there in less time than light does? However, as Albert Einstein (1879–1955) first pointed out in his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905, it is impossible for any object with mass to exceed the speed of light. Einstein set this limit from purely theoretical considerations and it seemed, when it was first suggested, to go against the dictates of “common sense” (and it seems so to many people even today)—but it is true just the same. The speed-of-light limit has been verified in innumerable experiments and observations, and there is no even remotely reasonable ground for doubting it where the matter and the Universe we know are involved.

The transfer of matter could apparently take place over enormous distances, even millions or billions of light-years, in a trifling period of time. Such transfers can evade the speed-of-light limit because the transfer goes through tunnels or across bridges that do not, strictly speaking, have the time characteristics of our familiar Universe. Indeed, the passageway is sometimes called an Einstein-Rosen bridge because Albert Einstein himself and a coworker named Rosen suggested a theoretical basis for this in the 1930s. Could black holes someday make interstellar travel or even intergalactic travel possible? By making proper use of black holes, and assuming them to exist in great numbers, one might enter a black hole at point A, emerge at point B (a long distance away) almost at once, and travel through ordinary space to point C, where one enters another black hole and emerges almost at once at point D, and so on.

pages: 400 words: 94,847

Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen


Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart,, Erik Brynjolfsson, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, Magellanic Cloud, means of production, medical residency, Nicholas Carr, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, social web, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, University of East Anglia, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge

This is not to say that participants never engaged in speculation, but they carefully marked their speculation as such, and didn’t present it as incontrovertible fact. On nearly all crucial issues the participants rapidly agreed on when a line of argument was right and when it was wrong, and on when an idea was promising and when it was not. It was that rapid agreement which made it possible to scale up collaboration. As an illustration of how strongly held these standards are in science, consider the work of the young Albert Einstein, not the scientific icon we know of today, but as an unknown 26-year-old clerk working in the Swiss patent office, unable to find a job as a professional physicist. From that position of obscurity, in 1905 Einstein published his famous papers on special relativity, radically changing our notions of space, time, energy, and mass. Other scientists had partially anticipated Einstein’s conclusions, but none so boldly and forcefully laid out the full consequence Scspecial relativity.

New York Times, June 14, 2010. [167] Overview: Nature’s peer review trial. Nature, December 2006. [168] Scott E. Page. The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008. [169] A. Pais. Subtle Is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982. [170] Stephen Pinker. The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. New York: Penguin, 2003. [171] Elizabeth Pisani and Carla AbouZahr. Sharing health data: Good intentions are not enough. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 88(6), 2010. [172] Michael Polanyi. The republic of science: Its political and economic theory. Minerva, 1:54–74, 1962.

pages: 374 words: 91,966

Escape from Hell by Larry Niven; Jerry Pournelle


Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, clean water, out of africa

There were these stories. Albert Einstein told me one that bothered me.” “Einstein? You knew Einstein?” Sylvia asked. “Of course I knew Einstein. He told me about a letter he’d got from a Jewish girl in Russia. Her name was Regina Golbinder. Her father had been a Communist Party leader in Berlin. When Hitler came to power they stuck it out for a while. The Communists and the Nazis were allies against the Socialists. But then the parties had a falling–out. Hitler started in on the Jews. Golbinder and his family fled to the Soviet Union for refuge. Regina was fifteen then.” “Stalin put the whole family in a camp. But Regina had been to the United States on a trip with relatives, and they had visited Einstein. So she wrote him a letter. To Professor Albert Einstein, Princeton University, United States of America.

pages: 356 words: 102,224

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan


Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, cosmological principle, dark matter, Dava Sobel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, germ theory of disease, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, linked data, nuclear winter, planetary scale, profit motive, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, telepresence

In that vast sweep of aeons, we could not have assumed any special responsibilities for our planet, or life, or anything else. We were not here. Well, if we can't find anything special about our position or our epoch, maybe there's something special about our motion. Newton and all the other great classical physicists held that the velocity of the Earth in space constituted a "privileged frame of reference." That's actually what it was called. Albert Einstein, a keen critic of prejudice and privilege all his life, considered * St. Augustine, in The City of God, says, "As it is not yet six thousand years since the first man . . . are not those to be ridiculed rather than refuted who try to persuade us of anything regarding a space of time so different from, and contrary to, the ascertained truth? . . . We, being sustained by divine authority in the history of our religion, have no doubt that whatever is opposed to it is most false."

So why don't we hear more about it? Why has no one held up a lump of antimatter for our inspection? Because matter and antimatter, when brought into contact, violently annihilate each other, disappearing in an intense burst of gamma rays. We cannot tell whether something is made of matter or anti-matter just by looking at it. The spectroscopic properties of, for example, hydrogen and anti-hydrogen are identical. Albert Einstein's answer to the question of why we see only matter and not anti-matter was, "Matter won"—by which he meant that in our sector of the Universe at least, after almost all 153 the matter and anti-matter interacted and annihilated each other long ago, there was some of what we call ordinary matter left over.* As far as we can tell today, from gamma ray astronomy and other means, the Universe is made almost entirely of matter.

pages: 300 words: 84,762

Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases by Paul A. Offit


1960s counterculture, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, discovery of penicillin,, germ theory of disease, Isaac Newton, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Ronald Reagan

Jeryl Lynn Eight Doors The Destroying Angel Coughs, Colds, Cancers, and Chickens The Monster Maker Political Science Blood Animalcules An Uncertain Future Unrecognized Genius Epilogue Notes Selected Bibliography Acknowledgments Searchable Terms About the Author Copyright About the Publisher PROLOGUE Scientists aren't famous. They never endorse products or sign autographs or fight through crowds of screaming admirers. But at least you know a few of their names, like Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine; or Albert Schweitzer, the missionary who built hospitals in Africa; or Louis Pasteur, the inventor of pasteurization; or Marie Curie, the discoverer of radiation; or Albert Einstein, the physicist who defined the relationship between mass and energy. But I'd bet not one of you knows the name of the scientist who saved more lives than all other scientists combined-a man who survived Depression-era poverty; the harsh, unforgiving plains of southeastern Montana; abandonment by his father; the early death of his mother; and, at the end of his life, the sad realization that few people knew who he was or what he had done: Maurice Hilleman, the father of modern vaccines.

(In the eighteenth century “natural philosophy” meant the study of nature. If founded today, it would have been called the American Scientific Society.) Members of the society included founding fathers such as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Rush, James Madison, and John Marshall as well as scientists such as John Audubon, Robert Fulton, Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur, Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling, Margaret Mead, Marie Curie, and Charles Darwin; the society’s library houses a first edition of Hilleman’s beloved The Origin of Species. Maurice Hilleman with daughters Kirsten (far left) and Jeryl and wife Lorraine, Vail, Colorado, December 1982. Maurice is the only one not wearing skis. Some of the best scientists of the twentieth century came to honor Hilleman that day.

pages: 361 words: 111,500

Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner


Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, call centre, cuban missile crisis, Exxon Valdez, happiness index / gross national happiness, indoor plumbing, Mikhail Gorbachev, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Transnistria, union organizing

Every nation has its iconic figures, statues that neatly sum up what the nation is all about: the Marines hoisting the flag at Iwo Jima; Lord Nelson, looking regal, in London’s Trafalgar Square. The Swiss have someone known as Nicholas the Reconciler. His statue is on display here. He has an arm outstretched, palm facing downward, as if to say, “Calm down, everyone; let’s talk about this rationally.” It’s very Swiss. Albert Einstein lived in Bern. This is the city where, he says, he had “the happiest thought of my life.” That thought was the revelation that led to his Special Theory of Relativity. The place was a modest apartment on the city’s main shopping street. It’s now a small museum. It’s been restored to exactly the way it looked when Einstein lived here: a sofa, wooden chairs, a bottle of wine labeled 1893, the carriage for his son Hans, the suit he wore to his job as a clerk at the patent office.

The Bhutanese, on the other hand, will gladly spend a day playing darts or just doing nothing. For yet another parallel with Shangri-La, witness this exchange in the book between the British missionary, Miss Brinklow, and Chang, Shangri-La’s inscrutable host. “What do lamas do?” she asks. “They devote themselves, madam, to contemplation and the pursuit of wisdom.” “But that isn’t doing anything.” “Then, madam, they do nothing.” Albert Einstein once said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Economics is long overdue for the kind of radical shift in thinking that Einstein brought to his field of physics. Does Gross National Happiness represent such a breakthrough? Is it the elusive answer that so many of us have been looking for? Not necessarily, at least not yet, but it reframes the question.

pages: 315 words: 85,791

Technical Blogging: Turn Your Expertise Into a Remarkable Online Presence by Antonio Cangiano


Albert Einstein, anti-pattern, bitcoin, bounce rate, cloud computing,, John Gruber, Lean Startup, Network effects, revision control, Ruby on Rails, search engine result page, slashdot, software as a service, web application

[70] [71] [72] [73] [74] Copyright © 2012, The Pragmatic Bookshelf. Chapter 8 Understanding Traffic Statistics Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. Albert Einstein Immediately after you publish and promote an article, visitors from all over the world will start coming to your blog. This is a very exciting moment. It’s important, however, to fully understand the traffic figures from your web analytics suite as well as to keep track of them over time. Analyzing statistics is particularly important because you should strive to take an Agile/Lean approach to blogging.

What’s missing from your tool belt is one more chapter about user engagement and then the last two parts of the book, which are dedicated to benefitting from your hard work and further scaling your blogging initiatives for your plans of world domination. For the time being, wax on, wax off. Footnotes [75] Copyright © 2012, The Pragmatic Bookshelf. Chapter 9 Building a Community Around Your Blog Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. Albert Einstein As a blogger you bother with promotional activities because you want to attract a following. You can then expose this group of readers to your thoughts and writing. Once again, it’s all about getting your content in front of the right audience. The next logical step in this process is to take a closer look at this readership. You aim for a large pool of readers, sure, and that gives you quantity.

pages: 385 words: 111,807

A Pelican Introduction Economics: A User's Guide by Ha-Joon Chang


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, discovery of the americas, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global value chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, Haber-Bosch Process, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, income per capita, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, liberation theology, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open borders, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, post-industrial society, precariat, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, structural adjustment programs, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, working-age population, World Values Survey

Many people question whether happiness can be, and indeed should be, measured at all. The fact that happiness may be conceptually a better measure than income does not mean that we should try to measure it. Richard Layard, the British economist who is a leading scholar trying to measure happiness, defends such attempts by saying, ‘If you think something matters you should try to measure it [italics added].’3 But other people disagree – including Albert Einstein, who once famously said, ‘Not everything that counts can be measured. Not everything that can be measured counts.’ We can try to quantify happiness, say, by asking people to rate their happiness on a scale of ten, and come up with numbers like 6.3 or 7.8 for the average happiness of Countries A and B. But such numbers are not even half as objective as $160 or $85,380 per capita incomes – and we’ve discussed why even the income numbers are not totally objective.

China’s stood at 1.5 per cent in 2009 but has been on a fast rising trend, suggesting that the country is rapidly building up its capabilities to generate new technologies.6 Industrialization and Deindustrialization In theory, we can achieve economic development by enhancing our productive capabilities in any economic activity, including agriculture and services. In practice, in the vast majority of cases, economic development has been achieved through industrialization, or, more precisely, the development of the manufacturing sector.† Albert Einstein was definitely right in saying: ‘In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.’ Mechanization and chemical processes make it easier to raise productivity in manufacturing Raising productivity is much easier in manufacturing than in other economic activities, such as agriculture and services. Manufacturing activities are much less bound by nature and lend themselves much more easily to mechanization and chemical processing.

pages: 402 words: 98,760

Deep Sea and Foreign Going by Rose George


Admiral Zheng, air freight, Airbus A320, Albert Einstein, bank run, cable laying ship, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Costa Concordia, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Filipino sailors, global supply chain, Google Earth, intermodal, London Whale, Malacca Straits, Panamax, pattern recognition, profit maximization, Skype, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, urban planning, William Langewiesche

In an earlier report, the GAO was blunt: ‘US initiatives relating to cargo container security have been limited and generally ineffective for the international counter narcotics effort.’ In 2012 the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published data from its Vessel Maritime Incident Database which showed that container ships were six times more likely to be involved in destabilizing military and narcotics-related transfers than their share of the world market fleet would suggest. In 1939, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Roosevelt about the feasibility of setting off a uranium chain reaction. He thought of dropping his new bomb not by air but by ship. ‘A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory.’ Einstein was wrong and Enola Gay was right, but the ‘bomb in a box’ theory still concerns plenty of US security analysts.

United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, press release, 23 February 2007. – The international counter narcotics effort United States Government Accountability Office, Drug Control: Cooperation with Many Major Drug Transit Countries Has Improved, but Better Performance Reporting and Sustainability Plans are Needed, July 2008, p.5. – Six times more likely Griffiths and Jenks, op. cit., p.23. – Carried by boat and exploded in a port Letter from Albert Einstein to F.D. Roosevelt, 2 August 1939, accessed February 2013 from the President Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, http://www.fdrlibrary.marist. edu/archives/pdfs/docsworldwar.pdf 8 Hitting the US economy with every available means Toby Harnden, ‘US casts doubt on bin Laden’s latest message’, Daily Telegraph, 28 December 2001. – Poor man’s missiles Stephen Cohen, ‘Boom Boxes: Containers and terrorism’, in Protecting the Nation’s Seaports, edited by Jon D.

pages: 426 words: 105,423

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss


Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, call centre, clean water, Donald Trump,, Firefox, fixed income, follow your passion, game design, global village, Iridium satellite, knowledge worker, late fees, Maui Hawaii, oil shock, paper trading, Parkinson's law, passive income, peer-to-peer, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, William of Occam

September 2006 I return to the U.S. in an odd, Zen-like state after methodically destroying all of my assumptions about what can and cannot be done. “Drug Dealing for Fun and Profit” has evolved into a class on ideal lifestyle design. The new message is simple: I’ve seen the promised land, and there is good news. You can have it all. Step I: D is for Definition Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. —ALBERT EINSTEIN Cautions and Comparisons HOW TO BURN $1,000,000 A NIGHT These individuals have riches just as we say that we “have a fever,” when really the fever has us. — SENECA (4 B.C.–A.D. 65) I also have in mind that seemingly wealthy, but most terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but know not how to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden or silver fetters

Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it. —HERBERT SIMON, recipient of Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics8 and the A.M. Turing Award, the “Nobel Prize of Computer Science” Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. —ALBERT EINSTEIN I hope you’re sitting down. Take that sandwich out of your mouth so you don’t choke. Cover the baby’s ears. I’m going to tell you something that upsets a lot of people. I never watch the news and have bought one single newspaper in the last five years, in Stansted Airport in London, and only because it gave me a discount on a Diet Pepsi. I would claim to be Amish, but last time I checked, Pepsi wasn’t on the menu.

Comedy Writing Secrets by Mel Helitzer, Mark Shatz


Albert Einstein, Donald Trump, elephant in my pajamas, fear of failure, index card, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, the scientific method, Yogi Berra

LOOK FOR OPPOSITES. One key method of creating surprise is associating two dissimilar things. Choose a topic, then brainstorm for people, places, things, phrases, clichés, and words that are dissimilar to this topic. 3. TALK INSTEAD OF WRITING. Put down the pen and start talking out loud. Use a voice recorder to capture ideas, which may come faster than you can write. 4. IMAGINE INSTEAD OF WRITING. Albert Einstein recognized that the mind's visual powers greatly exceed its verbal abilities, and he used visualization to discover many of his famous theories. Whenever you need to kick-start your imagination, close your eyes and let your mind create a mental movie of you telling jokes to a receptive audience. SHOWTIME Aggressive editing is important. Remember that a good joke: 1. uses as few words as possible 2. preserves the funniest part of the joke until the end 3. does not reveal key words in the setup, and does not contain words after the funniest part of the punchline POW Brainstorming Techniques 123 If the three criteria for a good joke are not met, a potentially good joke will become lame.

A visual doctored with editing software can also produce humorous results. Digital cameras are increasingly popular for producing humorous instructional vignettes. Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater. —Gail Goodwin Props such as puppets, stuffed animals, or costumes can enliven a lecture. Teachers with a theatrical flair can dress and play the part of a historical figure—Abe Lincoln discussing the Civil War, for instance, or Albert Einstein explaining physics. COURSE MATERIALS Humor can add spice to syllabi, handouts, overhead transparencies, and other materials. Examples of POWs include silly names, funny titles or headings, oxymorons, and factitious terms or definitions. Exaggerated humor examples include self-effacing humor; distorted numbers, concepts, or phrases; and outrageous theories or studies. I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.

pages: 363 words: 108,670

Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love by Dava Sobel


Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, cognitive dissonance, Dava Sobel, Defenestration of Prague, Edmond Halley, germ theory of disease, Hans Lippershey, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Murano, Venice glass, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Peace of Westphalia, retrograde motion

Isaac Newton is born in England, December 25. 1643 Galileo’s student Evangelista Torricelli (1608-47) invents mercury barometer. 1644 Pope Urban VIII dies. 1648 Thirty Years’ War ends. 1649 Vincenzio Galilei (son) dies in Florence, May 15. 1654 Grand Duke Ferdinando II improves on Galileo’s thermometer by closing the glass tube to keep air out. 1655-56 Christiaan Huygens (1629-95) improves telescope, discovers largest of Saturn’s moons, sees Saturn’s “companions” as a ring, patents pendulum clock. 1659 Suor Arcangela dies at San Matteo, June 14. 1665 Jean-Dominique Cassini (1625-1712) discovers and times the rotation of Jupiter and Mars. 1669 Sestilia Bocchineri Galilei dies. 1670 Grand Duke Ferdinando II dies, succeeded by his only surviving son, Cosimo III. 1676 Ole Roemer (1644-1710) uses eclipses of Jupiter’s moons to determine the speed of light; Cassini discovers gap in Saturn’s rings. 1687 Newton’s laws of motion and universal gravitation are published in his Principia. 1705 Edmond Halley (1656-1742) studies comets, realizes they orbit the Sun, predicts return of a comet later named in his honor. 1714 Daniel Fahrenheit (1686-1736) develops mercury thermometer with accurate scale for scientific purposes. 1718 Halley observes that even the fixed stars move with almost imperceptible “proper motion” over long periods of time. 1728 English astronomer James Bradley (1693-1762) provides first evidence for the Earth’s motion through space based on the aberration of starlight. 1755 Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) discerns the true shape of the Milky Way, identifies the Andromeda nebula as a separate galaxy. 1758 “Halley’s comet” returns. 1761 Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov (1711-65) realizes Venus has an atmosphere. 1771 Comet hunter Charles Messier (1730-1817) identifies a list of noncometary objects, many of which later prove to be distant galaxies. 1781 William Herschel (1738-1822) discovers the planet Uranus. 1810 Napoleon Bonaparte, having conquered the Papal States, transfers the Roman archives, including those of the Holy Office with all records of Galileo’s trial, to Paris. 1822 Holy Office permits publication of books that teach Earth’s motion. 1835 Galileo’s Dialogue is dropped from Index of Prohibited Books. 1838 Stellar parallax, and with it the distance to the stars, is detected independently by astronomers working in South Africa, Russia, and Germany; Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (1784-1846) publishes the first account of this phenomenon, for the star 61 Cygni. 1843 Galileo’s trial documents are returned to Italy. 1846 Neptune and its largest moon are discovered by predictions and observations of astronomers working in several countries. 1851 Jean-Bernard-Leon Foucault (1819-68) in Paris demonstrates the rotation of the Earth by means of a two-hundred-foot pendulum. 1861 Kingdom of Italy proclaimed, uniting most states and duchies. 1862 French chemist Louis Pasteur (1822-95) publishes germ theory of disease. 1877 Asaph Hall (1829-1907) discovers the moons of Mars. 1890-1910 Complete works, Le Opere di Galileo Galilei, are edited and published in Florence by Antonio Favaro. 1892 University of Pisa awards Galileo an honorary degree—250 years after his death. 1893 Providentissimus Deus of Pope Leo XIII cites Saint Augustine, taking the same position Galileo did in his Letter to Grand Duchess Cristina, to show that the Bible did not aim to teach science. 1894 Pasteur’s student Alexandre Yersin (1863-1943) discovers bubonic plague bacillus and prepares serum to combat it. 1905 Albert Einstein (1879-1955) publishes his special theory of relativity, establishing the speed of light as an absolute limit. 1908 George Ellery Hale (1868-1938) discerns the magnetic nature of sunspots. 1917 Willem de Sitter (1872-1934) intuits the expansion of the universe from Einstein’s equations. 1929 American astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) finds evidence for expanding universe. 1930 Roberto Cardinal Bellarmino is canonized as Saint Robert Bellarmine by Pope Pius XI. 1935 Pope Pius XI inaugurates Vatican Observatory and Astrophysical Laboratory at Castel Gandolfo. 1950 Humani generis of Pope Pius XII discusses the treatment of unproven scientific theories that may relate to Scripture; reaches same conclusion as Galileo’s Letter to Grand Duchess Cristina. 1959 Unmanned Russian Luna 3 spacecraft radios first views of the Moon’s far side from lunar orbit. 1966 Index of Prohibited Books is abolished following the Second Vatican Council. 1969 American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the Moon. 1971 Apollo 15 commander David R.

* The English translations of these Latin phrases, respectively, are “from the book of the living” and “No one is accepted [as] prophet in his own country.” * Later, Galileo thanked him by dedicating Two New Sciences “To the very illustrious nobleman, my Lord the Count de Noailles, Councilor to his Most Christian Majesty; Knight of the Holy Ghost; Field Marshal of the Armies,” et cetera, et cetera. * Posterity completely agrees with Galileo in this assessment of his merits. As Albert Einstein noted, “Propositions arrived at purely by logical means are completely empty as regards reality. Because Galileo saw this, and particularly because he drummed it into the scientific world, he is the father of modern physics—indeed of modern science altogether.” * Galileo invented a rudimentary thermometer, around 1593, for approximating room temperature, but it took until 1714 for Daniel Fahrenheit to improve on the device by sealing mercury in glass and marking the tube with a degree scale calibrated by the freezing and boiling points of water

pages: 378 words: 110,408

Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool


Albert Einstein, deliberate practice, iterative process, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, sensible shoes

Some of these studies have focused on purely intellectual skills, such as mathematical ability. For example, the inferior parietal lobule has significantly more gray matter in mathematicians than in nonmathematicians. This part of the brain is involved in mathematical calculations and in visualizing objects in space, something that is important in many areas of math. It also happens to be a part of the brain that caught the attention of the neuroscientists who examined Albert Einstein’s brain. They found that Einstein’s inferior parietal lobule was significantly larger than average and that its shape was particularly unusual, which led them to speculate that his inferior parietal lobule may have played a crucial role in his ability to perform abstract mathematical thinking. Could it be that people like Einstein are simply born with beefier-than-usual inferior parietal lobules and thus have some innate capacity to be good at mathematical thinking?

. [>] than in nonmathematicians: Kubilay Aydina, Adem Ucarb, Kader Karli Oguzc, O. Ozmen Okurd, Ayaz Agayevb, Z. Unale, Sabri Yilmazband, and Cengizhan Ozturkd, “Increased gray matter density in the parietal cortex of mathematicians: A voxel-based morphometry study,” American Journal of Neuroradiology 28 (2007): 1859–1864. [>] abstract mathematical thinking: Sandra F. Witelson, Debra L. Kigar, and Thomas Harvey, “The exceptional brain of Albert Einstein,” The Lancet 353 (1999): 2149–2153. [>] person was born with: Interestingly, that correlation between length of time as a mathematician and size of the region was not found for the left inferior parietal lobule. However, that may simply have been a matter of not having enough subjects in the study to be able to get a statistically valid result, and with a larger study the correlation might appear. [>] supplementary eye field: Tosif Ahamed, Motoaki Kawanabe, Shin Ishii, and Daniel E.

pages: 502 words: 107,657

Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die by Eric Siegel


Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, backtesting, Black Swan, book scanning, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, call centre, commoditize, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data is the new oil,, Erik Brynjolfsson, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Google Glasses, happiness index / gross national happiness, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, lifelogging, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, mass immigration, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, personalized medicine, placebo effect, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Levy, text mining, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

The challenge is tackled by a systematic, scientific means to develop and continually improve prediction—to literally learn to predict. The solution is machine learning—computers automatically developing new knowledge and capabilities by furiously feeding on modern society’s greatest and most potent unnatural resource: data. “Feed Me!”—Food for Thought for the Machine Data is the new oil. —European Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva The only source of knowledge is experience. —Albert Einstein In God we trust. All others must bring data. —William Edwards Deming (a business professor famous for work in manufacturing) Most people couldn’t be less interested in data. It can seem like such dry, boring stuff. It’s a vast, endless regiment of recorded facts and figures, each alone as mundane as the most banal tweet, “I just bought some new sneakers!” It’s the unsalted, flavorless residue deposited en masse as businesses churn away.

Decision Tree Lift on the Training Set Lift on the Test Set 638 segments 3.8 2.4 (overlearning) The test data guides learning, showing when it has worked and when it has gone too far. Carving Out a Work of Art In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it. —Michelangelo Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. —Albert Einstein (as paraphrased by Roger Sessions) The decision tree fails unless we tame its wild growth. This presents a tough balance to strike. Like a parent, we strive to structure our progeny’s growth and development so they’re not out of control, and yet we cannot bear to quell creativity. Where exactly to draw the line? When they first gained serious attention in the early 1960s, decision trees failed miserably, laughed out of court for their propensity to overlearn.

pages: 327 words: 90,542

The Age of Stagnation by Satyajit Das


9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Economic growth and prosperity were by-products of consumption, unsustainable resource exploitation, and serious environmental damage. Societies and individuals cannot expect to maintain high living standards and survive without a radical transformation in practices and more frugal living, perhaps following the advice of nineteenth-century philosopher John Stuart Mill to “[seek] happiness by limiting…desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.” A gedanken or thought experiment, favored by Albert Einstein, illustrates the required adjustments in living standards: People work till they die or are incapable of labor, unless they have enough savings to finance their retirement. Taxes are set at a level sufficient to finance the public services and infrastructure deemed necessary by the citizens. All benefits and assistance from the state are subject to limits and rigorously means-tested. High-density living becomes the norm, with restrictions on individual space.

Knopf, 2003, p. 383. 20 Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, Liberty Fund, 1790. Epilogue 1 William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun, Random House, 1950, Act I, sc. 3. 2 Adolf Hitler, trans. James Murphy, Mein Kampf (1925) 1939, vol. I, Chapter X. 3 Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651, Chapter XIII. 4 B. H. Liddell Hart, A History of the First World War, Macmillan, 1970, p. 1. 5 Often attributed to Albert Einstein, the statement derives from William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking, Random House, 1963, p. 13. 6 See Wolf Richter, “If This Ends Badly, How Will Such Reports Be Read, in Hindsight. Mad?” Wolf Street, 8 July 2014. 7 See Peter Spiegel, “EU Forecasts Paint Grim Economic Picture,” Financial Times, 22 February 2013. 8 Adolf Hitler, trans.

pages: 346 words: 92,984

The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health by David B. Agus


3D printing, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, butterfly effect, clean water, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, Drosophila, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory,, epigenetics, Kickstarter, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, microcredit, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, publish or perish, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Thomas Malthus, wikimedia commons

When Miss Lunsford, a nutritionist and graduate student at Cornell University working in the lab of biochemist and gerontologist Clive McCay, shared these results at a gathering to focus on the problems of aging led by the New York Academy of Medicine, no one—not even Lunsford and her teammates—could explain this “age-reversal” transformation. The year was 1955, the same year the Food and Drug Administration approved the polio vaccine, the power of the placebo effect was first written about, Albert Einstein died at the age of seventy-six, and Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were born.2 Miss Lunsford’s procedure, anatomically linking two organisms, had a name by then—parabiosis. But while this wasn’t the first time it had been performed, her explorations were among the first to use parabiosis to study aging. And they weren’t without their challenges. According to one description of the research, “If two rats are not adjusted to each other, one will chew the head of the other until it is destroyed.”3 Of the sixty-nine pairs of rats that Lunsford had helped conjoin in Clive McCay’s lab, eleven died from a peculiar condition that developed about one to two weeks after partners were united; it was likely a form of tissue rejection.

Nothing will ever be able to substitute for things like sleep, sex, and touch—and perhaps gnawing on the bark of a willow tree. CHAPTER 9 The Butterfly Effect Get Ready to Flap Your Wings All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence, and leading the individual toward freedom. —Albert Einstein Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability. —Sir William Osler If a jeweler tried to sell you a diamond that looked fake, you’d probably find another jeweler because something in your gut would tell you to move on. If you’ve ever bought a car, you likely used your intuition at some point to know which one would be right for you, walking away from candidates you simply had bad feelings about.

pages: 407 words: 112,767

The Tao of Fully Feeling: Harvesting Forgiveness Out of Blame by Pete Walker

Albert Einstein, Lao Tzu, life extension, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Saturday Night Live

We need to grieve out these feelings in order to claim our inborn ability to flourish in our own company. BUSYHOLISM All that is hurrying soon will be over with; only what lasts can bring us to the truth. Young men, don’t put your trust into the trials of flight, into the hot and quick. All things already rest: darkness and morning light, flower and book. – Rilke He who can no longer pause to wonder is as good as dead. – Albert Einstein Busyholism is a term I have coined to define the most common and least recognized form of compulsiveness – constant busyness. (According to The Oxford Dictionary, busyness was the original meaning of business!) “Busyholics” are constantly in action, moving from activity to activity in a never ending quest for “being all they can be.” Similar to workaholics, sometimes workaholic as well, busyholics rarely sit still.

When you consistently show your inner child that she is really safe and fully welcome in every aspect of her being, she will become more and more alive and self-expressive. As she experiences you consistently rising to her defense, she will feel free enough to reclaim the emotionality that fuels her innate spiritedness, playfulness, curiosity, and flexibility. How different this approach to fathering is when compared to the traditional approach that Albert Einstein warned against: It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mostly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.

pages: 299 words: 98,943

Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization by Stephen Cave

Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, back-to-the-land, clean water, double helix, George Santayana, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, life extension, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, stem cell, technoutopianism, the scientific method

Having labored diligently for the war effort, Pauling was horrified on the morning of August 7, 1945, when he picked up the daily paper to read “Tokyo Admits Atomic Havoc” and the details of a single bomb that had obliterated an entire city. He was deeply affected by the scale of the destruction—not least because he had been asked to lead the chemistry division of the project to develop the atomic bomb, turning it down only because of his many other commitments. When he was invited the following year by Albert Einstein to form the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, an elite group who would alert the public to the dangers of nuclear technology, he immediately accepted and began speaking out against atomic weapons testing. But this was the era of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was convinced that Soviet sympathizers were working to undermine America; as a prominent scientist speaking out against nuclear weapons, Pauling could not hope to escape his attentions.

She was victorious once more. Poor Arrhidaeus was stabbed to death and his wife hanged. Alexander IV became (albeit, as it turned out, rather briefly) sole king of Macedon, with Olympias as his regent. No doubt she was keen to tell him that the blood of Achilles flowed in his veins too, but more to the point, so did hers. CHIPS OFF THE OLD BLOCK “OUR death is not an end if we can live on in our children,” wrote Albert Einstein, “for they are us; our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.” In writing this to console the widow of a friend, Einstein captured the essence of biological immortality, the second part of the Legacy Narrative. It is the belief that we live on in our offspring, that we and they are connected in a profound way that makes us in some crucial sense the same being. So when these individual bodies have withered and died, still we might flourish in the verdancy of the next generation.

pages: 331 words: 104,366

Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins by Garry Kasparov

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business process, call centre, clean water, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, Freestyle chess, Gödel, Escher, Bach, job automation, Leonard Kleinrock, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nate Silver, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, rising living standards, rolodex, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

Brain scans will continue to better define exactly what goes on in the human brain during a chess game, and may even come to some conclusions about what makes one person a naturally superior player. But I remain confident that we will continue to enjoy chess, and to revere it, as long as we enjoy art, science, and competition. Thanks to the Internet’s matchless ability to spread myths and rumors, I’ve found myself bombarded with all sorts of misinformation about my own intellect. Spurious lists of “highest IQs in history” might find me between Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, both of whom have probably taken as many proper IQ tests as I have: zero. In 1987, the German news magazine Der Spiegel sent a small group of experts to a hotel in Baku to administer a battery of tests to measure my brainpower in different ways, some specially designed to test my memory and pattern recognition abilities. I have no idea how closely these approximated a formal IQ test, nor do I much care.

If you make a relatively minor error and fall into a difficult position you can hope your opponent will falter in return, especially if you put up a stout defense. German world champion Emanuel Lasker was the greatest proponent of chess as a pitched battle. Lasker was a philosopher and mathematician from the days when chess was still a gentleman’s club pastime and whose biography was prefaced by his peer and admirer, Albert Einstein. Lasker employed psychology and knowledge of his opponent as capably as he applied chess acumen, holding the title for a record twenty-seven years. In his 1910 book, Common Sense in Chess, Lasker made this statement before moving on to how to improve the reader’s opening play: Chess has been represented, or shall I say misrepresented, as a game—that is, a thing which could not well serve a serious purpose, solely created for the enjoyment of an empty hour.

pages: 317 words: 97,824

Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, availability heuristic, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, delayed gratification, fear of failure, feminist movement, functional fixedness, Lao Tzu, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Walter Mischel

What makes Holmes who he is, what places him above detectives, inspectors, and civilians alike, is his willingness to engage in the nonlinear, embrace the hypothetical, entertain the conjecture; it’s his capacity for creative thought and imaginative reflection. Why then do we tend to miss this softer, almost artistic side and focus instead on the detective’s computer-like powers of rational calculation? Simply put, that view is both easier and safer. It is a line of thinking that is well ingrained into our psychology. We have been trained to do it from an early age. As Albert Einstein put it, “Certainly we should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. It cannot lead, it can only serve; and it is not fastidious in its choice of a leader.” We live in a society that glorifies the computer model, that idolizes the inhuman Holmes, who can take in countless data points as a matter of course, analyze them with startling precision, and spit out a solution.

Chapter Four: Exploring the Brain Attic For an overview of the nature of creativity, imagination, and insight, I recommend the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, including his books Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention and Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. The discussion of distance and its role in the creative process was influenced by the work of Yaacov Trope and Ethan Kross. The chapter as a whole owes a debt to the writings of Richard Feynman and Albert Einstein. Chapter Five: Navigating the Brain Attic My understanding of the disconnect between objective reality and subjective experience and interpretation was profoundly influenced by the work of Richard Nisbett and Timothy Wilson, including their groundbreaking 1977 paper, “Telling More Than We Can Know.” An excellent summary of their work can be found in Wilson’s book, Strangers to Ourselves, and a new perspective is offered by David Eagleman’s Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain.

pages: 168 words: 35,753

Ye Olde Britain: Best Historical Experiences by Lonely Planet Publications


Albert Einstein, British Empire, Isaac Newton, Winter of Discontent

Oxford Christ Church College (; St Aldate’s; adult/child £6/4.50; 9am-5pm Mon-Sat, 2-5pm Sun) The largest and grandest of all of Oxford’s colleges, Christ Church is also its most popular. The magnificent buildings, illustrious history and latter-day fame as a location for the Harry Potter films have tourists coming in droves. The college was founded in 1525 by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who suppressed 22 monasteries to acquire the funds for his lavish building project. Over the years numerous luminaries have been educated here, including Albert Einstein, philosopher John Locke, poet WH Auden, Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and 13 British prime ministers. The main entrance is below the imposing Tom Tower, the upper part of which was designed by former student Sir Christopher Wren. Great Tom, the 7-ton tower bell, still chimes 101 times each evening at 9.05pm (Oxford is five minutes west of Greenwich), to sound the curfew imposed on the original 101 students.

pages: 161 words: 35,911

Going Self-Employed: How to Start Out in Business on Your Own by Steve Gibson


Albert Einstein, fear of failure

Perhaps offer your customers an early settlement discount – but make sure you have it covered in your pricing to them. Speedy settlement by your debtors will help to keep your cash flow positive. Add Interest for Late Payment . . . Tricky one this. I would advocate it but not many people on either side of this arrangement appear to invoke it. Insanity There is nothing that is a more certain sign of insanity than to do the same thing over and over again and expect the results to be different. Albert Einstein Business Skills The running your business bit is all about business skills. In Chapter 1 we looked at your personal skills. But business skills need to run in tandem with your wonderful personal talents. So what business skills do we need? In a typical day I reckon I will use the following skills: Receptionist Meet and greet clients and ask if they want a coffee. Telephonist Make appointments with clients.

pages: 161 words: 38,039

The Serious Guide to Joke Writing: How to Say Something Funny About Anything by Sally Holloway


8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, congestion charging, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

The joy of distance: leave something long enough and you will have forgotten that you wrote it, then you will really see what’s funny and what isn’t. Summary Sharing ideas is one of the most powerful joke writing tools we have. It’s probably good for the soul too! Chapter Eleven (PRACTICAL): The Surrealist Inquisition (Coming at a Subject From Weird & Wonderful Angles) To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science. Albert Einstein …and joke writing. Me It’s nearly the end of the course and time to string the students up and ask them some strange questions: It’s the Surrealist Inquisition! Weirdies, beardies and profound thinkers love this method of writing jokes. It’s for finding new angles on old, well-worn subjects. It’s for shaking up the way you think and coming at things from somewhere else completely. When I tell my students this, they look pleased, especially the surrealists - I do have some, they live in the fish tank at the back of the room and blow bubbles at me!

Longitude by Dava Sobel


Albert Einstein, British Empire, clockwork universe, Copley Medal, Dava Sobel, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, lone genius

The Royal Society, which had been founded in the previous century as a prestigious scientific discussion group, rallied behind Harrison all through these trying years. His friend George Graham and other admiring members of the society insisted that Harrison leave his workbench long enough to accept the Copley Gold Medal on November 30, 1749. (Later recipients of the Copley Medal include Benjamin Franklin, Henry Cavendish, Joseph Priestley, Captain James Cook, Ernest Rutherford, and Albert Einstein.) Harrison’s Royal Society supporters eventually followed the medal, which was the highest tribute they could confer, with an offer of Fellowship in the Society. This would have put the prestigious initials F.R.S. after his name. But Harrison declined. He asked that the membership be given to his son William instead. As Harrison must have known, Fellowship in the Royal Society is earned by scientific achievement; it cannot ordinarily be transferred, even to one’s next of kin, in the manner of a property deed.

pages: 137 words: 36,231

Information: A Very Short Introduction by Luciano Floridi


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, carbon footprint, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, industrial robot, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of writing, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, Pareto efficiency, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, RFID, Thomas Bayes, Turing machine, Vilfredo Pareto

As the philosopher Arne Naess (1912-2009) has maintained, `all things in the biosphere have an equal right to live and blossom'. There seems to be no good reason not to adopt a higher and more inclusive, ontocentric perspective. Not only inanimate but also ideal, intangible, or intellectual objects can have a minimal degree of moral value, no matter how humble, and so be entitled to some respect. There is a famous passage, in one of Albert Einstein's letters, that summarizes well this ontic perspective advocated by information ethics. A few years before his death, Einstein received a letter from a 19-year-old girl grieving over the loss of her younger sister. She wished to know whether the famous scientist might have something to say to comfort her. On 4 March 1950, Einstein replied to her: A human being is part of the whole, called by us `universe', a part limited in time and space.

The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal by M. Mitchell Waldrop


Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Apple II, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Wiener process, zero-sum game

Goldstine was awestruck. Before his current incarnation-he was liaison officer for the army's computing substation at the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Engineering-Goldstine had been a Ph.D. mathematics instructor at the University of Michigan. So he already knew the legends. At age forty, John von Neumann (pronounced fon NaY-man) held a place in mathematics that could be compared only to that of Albert Einstein in physics. In the single year of 1927, for example, while still a mere instructor at the University of Berlin, von Neumann had put the newly emerging theory of quantum mechanics on a rigorous mathematical footing; established new links between formal logical systems and the foundations of mathematics; and cre- ated a whole new branch of mathematics known as game theory, a way of ana- lyzing how people make decisions when they are competing with each other (among other things, this field gave us the term "zero-sum game").

Those gestures of support presumably reassured the twenty-four-year-old Tur- ing that he hadn't made a total fool of himself. But still, once he arrived at Princeton at the end of that September, he seemed to slip into something of a depression. By rights, of course, he should have been in heaven. In those days the Princeton mathematics department was still housed in the same building as the august Institute for Advanced Study, so the place was swarming with the finest mathematical minds in the world; Albert Einstein himself sometimes wan- dered the hallways. And yet Turing remained the same confirmed solitary he had been at Cambridge. To someone of his semi-upper-crust English back- ground, America felt harsh and pushy. Besides, his long obsession with the de- cidability problem was over-and now what? In December he gave his first talk at Princeton; attendance was poor since he was a total unknown. In January THE LAST TRANSITION 53 1937 his paper finally appeared in print, but only two people bothered to write and ask for offprints (a good measure of interest in the days before Xerox ma- chines).

"It is perfectly clear. . . that to dissemi- nate information about a weapon in the present state of our civilization is to make it practically certain that that weapon will be used."7 His letter struck a chord with many other scientists who were haunted by that same question of responsibility in the post-Hiroshima world. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, after all, had been launched by Manhattan Project veterans at the University of Chicago expressly as a forum for debate on the implications of nuclear energy. "I greatly admire and approve the attitude of Professor Wiener," said Albert Einstein when a reporter asked him about the letter. "I be- lieve that a similar attitude on the part of all the prominent scientists in this country would contribute much toward solving the urgent problems of national security."8 Nonetheless, Wiener also paid a price for that letter. For one thing, it isolated him from some of the most exciting research of the day, including computer re- search. Almost immediately, for example, Wiener felt obliged to withdraw from an international computer conference that Howard Aiken was convening at Harvard to celebrate the inauguration of his Mark II relay calculator-which was, of course, being paid for by the navy.

pages: 654 words: 204,260

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Alfred Russel Wallace, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Arthur Eddington, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Brownian motion, California gold rush, Cepheid variable, clean water, Copley Medal, cosmological constant, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Attenborough, double helix, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, Louis Pasteur, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, out of africa, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, supervolcano, Thomas Malthus, Wilhelm Olbers

But the landmark event—the dawn of a new age—came in 1905, when there appeared in the German physics journal Annalen der Physik a series of papers by a young Swiss bureaucrat who had no university affiliation, no access to a laboratory, and the regular use of no library greater than that of the national patent office in Bern, where he was employed as a technical examiner third class. (An application to be promoted to technical examiner second class had recently been rejected.) His name was Albert Einstein, and in that one eventful year he submitted to Annalen der Physik five papers, of which three, according to C. P. Snow, “were among the greatest in the history of physics”—one examining the photoelectric effect by means of Planck's new quantum theory, one on the behavior of small particles in suspension (what is known as Brownian motion), and one outlining a special theory of relativity. The first won its author a Nobel Prize and explained the nature of light (and also helped to make television possible, among other things).*17 The second provided proof that atoms do indeed exist—a fact that had, surprisingly, been in some dispute.

Einstein's next idea was one of the greatest that anyone has ever had—indeed, the very greatest, according to Boorse, Motz, and Weaver in their thoughtful history of atomic science. “As the creation of a single mind,” they write, “it is undoubtedly the highest intellectual achievement of humanity,” which is of course as good as a compliment can get. In 1907, or so it has sometimes been written, Albert Einstein saw a workman fall off a roof and began to think about gravity. Alas, like many good stories this one appears to be apocryphal. According to Einstein himself, he was simply sitting in a chair when the problem of gravity occurred to him. Actually, what occurred to Einstein was something more like the beginning of a solution to the problem of gravity, since it had been evident to him from the outset that one thing missing from the special theory was gravity.

The upshot of all this is that we live in a universe whose age we can't quite compute, surrounded by stars whose distances we don't altogether know, filled with matter we can't identify, operating in conformance with physical laws whose properties we don't truly understand. And on that rather unsettling note, let's return to Planet Earth and consider something that we do understand—though by now you perhaps won't be surprised to hear that we don't understand it completely and what we do understand we haven't understood for long. 12 THE EARTH MOVES IN ONE OF his last professional acts before his death in 1955, Albert Einstein wrote a short but glowing foreword to a book by a geologist named Charles Hapgood entitled named Charles Hapgood entitled Earth's Shifting Crust: A Key to Some Basic Problems of Earth Science. Hapgood's book was a steady demolition of the idea that continents were in motion. In a tone that all but invited the reader to join him in a tolerant chuckle, Hapgood observed that a few gullible souls had noticed “an apparent correspondence in shape between certain continents.”

pages: 416 words: 118,592

A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton G. Malkiel


3Com Palm IPO, accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, beat the dealer, Bernie Madoff, BRICs, capital asset pricing model, compound rate of return, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Elliott wave, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, feminist movement, financial innovation, fixed income, framing effect, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, index fund, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, market bubble, money market fund, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Own Your Own Home, passive investing, Paul Samuelson,, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit maximization, publish or perish, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, survivorship bias, The Myth of the Rational Market, the rule of 72, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, zero-coupon bond

The fundamentalist hopes that a thorough study of industry conditions will produce valuable insights into factors that may be operative in the future but are not yet reflected in market prices. The fundamentalist uses four basic determinants to help estimate the proper value for any stock. Determinant 1: The expected growth rate. Most people don’t recognize the implications of compound growth for financial decisions. Albert Einstein once described compound interest as the “greatest mathematical discovery of all time.” It is often said that the Native American who sold Manhattan Island in 1626 for $24 was rooked by the white man. In fact, he may have been an extremely sharp salesman. Had he put his $24 away at 6 percent interest, compounded semiannually, it would now be worth more than $100 billion, and with it his descendants could buy back much of the now improved land.

It is critically important to start saving now. Every year you put off investing makes your ultimate retirement goals more difficult to achieve. Trust in time rather than in timing. As a sign in the window of a bank put it, little by little you can safely stock up a strong reserve here, but not until you start. The secret of getting rich slowly (but surely) is the miracle of compound interest. Albert Einstein described compound interest as the “greatest mathematical discovery of all time.” It may sound complicated, but it simply involves earning a return not only on your original investment but also on the accumulated interest that you reinvest. Jeremy Siegel, author of the excellent investing book Stocks for the Long Run, has calculated the returns from a variety of financial assets from 1800 to 2010.

pages: 449 words: 123,459

The Infinity Puzzle by Frank Close


Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Arthur Eddington, dark matter, El Camino Real,, Ernest Rutherford, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh

Danish physicist Niels Bohr discovered this in the summer of 1912, following a remarkable observation, in 1885, by a Swiss schoolteacher, Johann Balmer. Light, that rainbow or spectrum of colors, consists of electromagnetic waves whose electric and magnetic fields oscillate hundreds of trillions of times each second; what we perceive as color is the brain’s response to the different frequencies of these oscillations. Albert Einstein—most famous for his theory of relativity—won his Nobel Prize for showing that light rays, rather than being a continuous stream, consist of a staccato burst of particles—photons. A photon has no mass, but traveling at a speed of about 300,000 kilometers every second, it has energy. The energy of a photon is proportional to the frequency: Thus, a photon at the highfrequency violet end of the rainbow has roughly twice the energy of one from the low-frequency red end.11 A hot sodium or mercury vapor lamp glows with a characteristic yellow or turquoise hue.

The youthful Feynman had also proved to be a remarkable mathematician, but had been living a more normal teenage life—“hanging out,” in modern terminology, and playing practical jokes. His perfect grades in science and mathematics were not matched by his performance in other subjects. While Schwinger was mesmerizing the faculty at Columbia, Feynman’s application to enter was rejected: In the 1930s, U.S. colleges had limited admission quotas for Jews. He went to MIT. Even though Albert Einstein had had a ticker-tape parade, theoretical physics was not a major pursuit in American universities before the Second World War. By 1941 Schwinger was available for hire, but a long tradition of antiSemitism may have been a reason for his lack of job offers.8 He accepted a lowly position at Purdue University, on the condition that his physics course would not start before noon. Purdue agreed.

pages: 468 words: 150,206

Food Revolution, The: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins, Dean Ornish M. D.


Albert Einstein, carbon footprint, clean water, complexity theory, double helix, Exxon Valdez, food miles, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), laissez-faire capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, profit motive, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Rosa Parks, telemarketer

"If it weren't for our meat-eating ancestors, the vegetarians wouldn't even be around today to complain about dietary choices with which they disagree.... The move away from a purely vegetarian diet triggered the growth of the human intellect." -National Cattlemen's Beef Association15 "Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." -Albert Einstein The meat industry comes up with some amazing material. Dan Murphy is the editor of Meat Marketing and Technology, a magazine dedicated to the U.S./Canadian meat processing industry. In 2000, coaching the industry in how to be more persuasive, he wrote, "When it conies to ... the nutritional impact of meat-eating ... I'm here to tell you that ... with a little positioning, you can turn the debate into a forum for the industry 's point of view....

In the heart of our grief we can find our connection to each other, and our ability to act. Our strength lies in our kinship with life. Our power lies in our deepest human responses. Our power does not lie in looking the other way. Through history there have always been people who have chosen to be vegetarians because they did not feel it was right to kill animals for food when it was not necessary, when there was other nourishing food available. People like Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, and countless others have been ethical vegetarians for just such reasons. But today, because of the way animals are raised for market, the question of whether or not it's ethical to eat meat has a whole new meaning and a whole new urgency. Never before have animals been treated like this. Never before has such deep, unrelenting, and systematic cruelty been mass produced. Never before have the choices of each individual been so important.

pages: 497 words: 124,144