Epistemic Caution and Climate Change

I have not, until recently, invested significant time in trying to understand climate modeling. These notes are primarily for my own use, however I welcome comments from readers who have studied this issue in more depth. I take a dim view of people who express strong opinions about complex phenomena without having understood the underlying …

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Patterns on the sky

I’m busy reviewing ~200 promotion and tenure cases for my day job, so I don’t have much time to post about the BICEP2 observation of primordial gravitational waves via their effect on the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Instead, I refer you to Sean Carroll, Lubos Motl and Liam McAllister (guest poster at …

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Feynman and the secret of magic

Lubos Motl seems to have taken offense at my last post: Feynman’s Cognitive Style. This is a rather ironic outcome, given that I’ve been a “Feynman idolator” since I was in high school :-) In fact, I chose my college (Caltech), career, and even research specialization under his influence! In the previous post, I noted that …

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Feynman’s cognitive style

Some interesting finds in this 1966 AIP oral history interview with Feynman. I have always felt that Feynman was cognitively a bit “lopsided” — much stronger mathematically than verbally. This might be partially responsible for his way of learning — it was often easier for him to invent his own solution than to read through …

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Nobels for Higgs and Englert

Congratulations to Peter Higgs and François Englert on their Nobel prize. A bit of background from an earlier post How the Higgs boson became the Higgs boson: IIRC, I met Peter Higgs in Erice in 1990. He was quite a nice fellow, but the story below by Steve Weinberg illustrates how capricious is the allocation …

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