Minimal Posters - Five Great Mathematicians And Their Contributions.
Minimal Posters - Five Great Mathematicians And Their Contributions.
You don’t need good mathematics to be a scientist
When biologist E. O. Wilson gave seemingly counterintuitive advice in his book Letters to a Young Scientist, it didn’t go down well – in the media at least
YOU don’t have to be good at mathematics, a high IQ may be a hindrance, and seek goals where others don’t to make for easy wins. Such advice from science giant E. O. Wilson could only cause upset.
In Letters to a Young Scientist, Wilson offers searingly honest – and, some argue, incorrect – counsel. An article based on the book in The Wall Street Journal last month caused uproar among the mathematically minded.
In the article and the book he describes how many successful scientists are mathematically “semiliterate”, and reveals how, as a 32-year-old Harvard professor, he sat with undergraduates (some his own students) to learn calculus and achieve an undistinguished C. His aim is not to deter, but to encourage talented would-be scientists who aren’t naturals with numbers. The “haemorrhage of brainpower” must be staunched.
Controversy aside, Wilson’s plain advice is refreshing, and the book, with lovely vignettes of his career, should inspire. Many tips are pragmatic: don’t be lured by a field’s “glamorous aura”, prizewinning scientists and big grants, but “go where the least action is occurring”. Some tips seem like heresy but make sense: forget the hive mind and let the solitary brain wander and dream. A few are a little dubious, brutal even. “Real scientists do not take vacations,” Wilson decrees. Fine – but only if you have his career.
Overall, you could hardly find a better mentor than Wilson. Jaded mid-careerers struggling with lab politics, egocentric colleagues, hazy career paths in the face of cuts and few tenured positions may well disagree. But Wilson has advice for them, stressing how much of the world is yet to be explored by science. “You are needed,” he urges, reassuringly.
Skilfully and elegantly written, many of Wilson’s tips could also apply to other careers. As he says: “The scientist is part poet, and by pleasure drawn from new ways to express old truths, the poet is part scientist.”
This article appeared in print under the headline “My advice is…”
See now don’t let the daunting thoughts of “not being good at math” hold you back from being a badass Scientist saving the world and shit.
Eloquently spoken, I know…
Baby budgie hatching :3
There was a moment I thought it was a person then I remembered people don’t come from eggs
At NASA’s Drawing Board - J R Eyerman
The Real Sounds Of Hearing Loss
It’s easy enough to restore 20/20 eyesight with glasses or contacts. But even state-of-the-art digital hearing aids can’t perfectly restore hearing for people whose inner ears have been damaged by noise exposure, medications or just the wear and tear of aging.
Part of the problem is that this kind of sensorineural hearing loss — the result of permanent damage to the sensory cells of the inner ear — does more than just make sounds quieter. It can jumble the sounds, too, in ways that garble speech.
To give people with normal hearing an inkling of how wild these distortions can be, hearing and speech researcher Arthur Boothroyd created several audio clips. Each demo uses the same spoken sentence, but is distorted in a different way. (You can hear the original, undistorted sentence. Take a listen to the demos and try to figure out what’s being said. Click here to listen all of them.)
First up: Many people, especially those with age-related hearing loss, lose the ability to detect high-frequency sounds. Because consonants are typically higher-pitched than vowels, the loss of high frequencies can make it difficult to tell consonant sounds apart. As a result, speech sounds muddy — in some cases, almost beyond comprehension.
Some people — also, or instead — have trouble distinguishing between different pitches. This happens because of damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear and to the nerves connected to them, which are responsible for separating out different frequencies in sound.
“The frequencies in sound are like the colors in the spectrum,” explains Boothroyd. “Imagine that the red bleeds over into the yellow and the yellow bleeds over into the green, and so on. That’s the sort of thing that we believe happens in the cochlea.”Interestingly, many people with hearing loss report that, as sounds get louder, they abruptly go from being inaudible to painfully loud. This rapid increase in perceived loudness is known as “recruitment” because it is thought to be caused by normal hair cells suddenly being recruited to take over for nearby damaged cells.
In these cases, Boothroyd says, the sound cuts in and out because only sounds above a certain volume can be heard.
Hearing aids can fix some of these issues. For example, the problem of recruitment can be solved by using “amplitude compression,” in which the volume of louder sounds is decreased before being passed on to the ear. In the newer digital hearing aids, amplitude compression can even be tailored to specific frequencies.
Still, even the best hearing aids aren’t perfect. Protecting your ears from loud noise is one of the best ways for people of all ages to preserve hearing for life, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Even noise from everyday appliances like hair dryers and kitchen blenders can permanently damage hearing over time.
So, how loud is too loud? To protect your hearing, whatever your age, the ASLHA advises avoiding situations where you need to shout to be heard. Do what you can at work to limit your time near noisy machinery, and wear protective earmuffs if your job warrants that. Avoid sitting near the speakers at loud performances, and keep the volume down when listening to recorded music, videos or games, especially when listening through earbuds or earphones. And, of course, bust out some attention-grabbing ear plugs when necessary.
Earth as seen from Apollo 4. It was unmanned, but the view was fantastic!
Humans’ closest animal relatives, chimpanzees, have the ability to “think about thinking” – what is called “metacognition,” according to new research by scientists at Georgia State University and the University at Buffalo.
Michael J. Beran and Bonnie M. Perdue of the Georgia State Language Research Center (LRC) and J. David Smith of the University at Buffalo conducted the research, published in the journal Psychological Science of the Association for Psychological Science.
“The demonstration of metacognition in nonhuman primates has important implications regarding the emergence of self-reflective mind during humans’ cognitive evolution,” the research team noted.
Metacognition is the ability to recognize one’s own cognitive states. For example, a game show contestant must make the decision to “phone a friend” or risk it all, dependent on how confident he or she is in knowing the answer.
“There has been an intense debate in the scientific literature in recent years over whether metacognition is unique to humans,” Beran said.
Chimpanzees at Georgia State’s LRC have been trained to use a language-like system of symbols to name things, giving researchers a unique way to query animals about their states of knowing or not knowing.
In the experiment, researchers tested the chimpanzees on a task that required them to use symbols to name what food was hidden in a location. If a piece of banana was hidden, the chimpanzees would report that fact and gain the food by touching the symbol for banana on their symbol keyboards.
But then, the researchers provided chimpanzees either with complete or incomplete information about the identity of the food rewards.
In some cases, the chimpanzees had already seen what item was available in the hidden location and could immediately name it by touching the correct symbol without going to look at the item in the hidden location to see what it was.
In other cases, the chimpanzees could not know what food item was in the hidden location, because either they had not seen any food yet on that trial, or because even if they had seen a food item, it may not have been the one moved to the hidden location.
In those cases, they should have first gone to look in the hidden location before trying to name any food.
In the end, chimpanzees named items immediately and directly when they knew what was there, but they sought out more information before naming when they did not already know.
The research team said, “This pattern of behavior reflects a controlled information-seeking capacity that serves to support intelligent responding, and it strongly suggests that our closest living relative has metacognitive abilities closely related to those of humans.”
Literary Birthday - 23 March
Erich Fromm, born 23 March 1900, died 18 March 1980
12 Erich Fromm Quotes
- Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. ‘Patriotism’ is its cult.
- Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
- To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable.
- Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you’. Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you’.
- We all dream; we do not understand our dreams, yet we act as if nothing strange goes on in our sleep minds, strange at least by comparison with the logical, purposeful doings of our minds when we are awake.
- Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.
- The only truly affluent are those who do not want more than they have.
- There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.
- The capacity to be puzzled is the premise of all creation, be it in art or in science.
- That millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.
- Paradoxically, the ability to be alone is the condition for the ability to love.
- I am convinced that boredom is one of the greatest tortures. If I were to imagine Hell, it would be the place where you were continually bored.
Fromm was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, and humanistic philosopher. His works include The Art of Loving; Love, Sexuality, and Matriarchy; and Man for Himself. He was associated with what became known as the Frankfurt School of critical theory.
Over 5.2 billion people died in the 20th Century. Although the 20th Century ended a mere 13 years ago, from a statistics standpoint, we know we will probably die of different diseases (and other less natural causes) than our forebears. The causes of death evolve over time as medicine improves, science ameliorates risk, lifestyles change, environments shift, and politics reshape our world. British data journalist David McCandless (of Information is Beautiful) created this fascinating infographic based on a project, commissioned by the Wellcome Trust, a U.K. charity devoted to human health, called Death in the 20th Century, which shows us, graphically, the leading causes of mortality from 1900 to 2000, worldwide.
Some of the numbers are shocking. Humanity is the cause of nearly 1 billion (or just short of 20%) of the deaths in the 20th Century. These numbers include war, murders, religious intolerance, suicide, and other deadly crimes that humans perpetrate against one another. Maybe the 21st Century will knock that number down, though I doubt any of us are optimistic given the way this century has started.
But the most interest information is in the Infectious Disease section. Nearly 1.7 billion people have died from infectious diseases. Some of the more interesting numbers are:
- Diphtheria - 0.76 million deaths
- Hepatitis B - 12.7 million deaths
- Measles - 96.7 million deaths
- Meningitis - 21.9 million deaths
- Polio - 0.13 million deaths
- Smallpox - 400 million deaths (yes, 400 million)
- Tetanus - 37.1 million deaths
- Whooping cough - 38.1 million deaths
In the 21st Century, the numbers of deaths from these diseases will probably be in the few thousand worldwide. Why? Because of vaccines. Not better sanitation. Not better health care facilities. But because of vaccines.
And in the 21st Century, as more vaccines are developed and brought to market, many of these infectious diseases will be less of a problem.
Vaccines saves lives. Literally hundreds of millions of lives.