My Interest in Science . . .

This past week’s column on the present “golden age of science” generated some interesting questions from emailers; here they are with my answers:

Q: You really wanted to be a physicist? 

A: I once aspired to becoming an astrophysicist; however, my double major in Physics and Applied Mathematics ran into trouble in my third year of college, thanks of my lack of true math chops, and at the time, my terrible work ethic. I eventually graduated with a B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in Philosophy. However, I still find the subject fascinating, and following the latest developments remains a strong interest of mine. Watching developments that have occurred in this area as an informed layman over the past few years has been truly astonishing, a thing of great beauty.

Q: Where is my a) jetpack; b) light-saber; c) warp drive ?

A: Maybe you are disappointed that we are not living in a universe more like Star Wars or Star Trek. True, inter- (or is it more properly intra-?) -galactic travel has not yet manifest itself. Maybe the distances are so vast it never will; perhaps it merely awaits a massive scientific breakthrough. True, you don’t travel at warp factor 6 with a Vulcan as your science officer, or tap into the Force to derive Jedi powers, but that should not prevent you from appreciating what the Humans have accomplished technically and scientifically as s species.

Perhaps sci-fi’s false vision of the universe has made these extraordinary achievements seem ordinary. They are nothing of the sort, and are both proof of mankind’s genius, achievements so stupendously spectacular they should make you, Donald Trump candidacy notwithstanding, be proud to be a human.

Q: How far into the maths did you go?

A: Far enough into applied mathematics, probability theorem and statistics that I have a good instinct for sniffing out bullshit; not far enough to call myself a mathematician.

Q: Did the maths really stop you from becoming a scientist? 

A: This is what stopped me from becoming an Astrophysicist:


Q: How did you find your way into finance?

A: Thats an even longer story.




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