Thursday, June 03, 2004
summer school began today. encouraging developments. this past weekend i went to see my friends Meg & Mark get married in Chicago. they met Julie, me, and five other people for Greek food on Halsted. Julie's friends Alex & Iris drove down, and I was amazed to find that they were interested in the topic of frequency response. although with regards to biofeedback. Alex, with what seems to be a self-led understanding of electricity, is trying to design equipment that measures the body's vital signs. they are invested (although i don't know to what extent) in metaphysics. anyway, alex's intense interest in the subject complemented my intense desire to tell somebody, anybody, about it. so he wants to correspond with me about amplifier circuits. it will give me a chance to focus my writing to an audience other than myself. i think that a key reason that professors need to teach is that basic questions from novices can be extremely good a clarifying exactly what you know and don't know. physics and math concepts can sit in you head in a heap and when it comes time to explain, you may realize that you either know the subject or that your concepts are in disarray. in a similar situation, my neighbor Don, also a metaphysicist, brought up the subject of "The Elegant Universe" and string theory. I tried explaining to him that the uncertainty principle does not have much to do with God. Physicists give the probability that an electron will be contained within a certain volume, and this is only math and geometry, not directly representative a faith in the unknown. don seemed very latched on to the idea that extra dimensions was spiritually exciting. i tried to explain the quantum physical processes that occur in semiconductors, i.e. electrons jumping the bandgap due to excitation, but realized that i maybe needed a better grasp. i think that human beings get excited about what they think they know a lot about. so if you spend a long time studying religion, you get excited about religion and not about science. and the converse is true for scientists. if only the influential people of this world could recognize this and stop IMPOSING their respective philosophies upon the world, we'd be so much better off. dialoge can and should occur between people who do not necessarily agree on everything. for this reason, i realize that there might be something to gain from talking to metaphysicists.
Posted by Graham at 11:41 AM