From The Galileo Project website’s page on Galileo’s drawings of sunspots:
In 1612 during the summer months, Galileo made a series of sunspot observations which were published in Istoria e Dimostrazioni Intorno Alle Macchie Solari e Loro Accidenti Rome (History and Demonstrations Concerning Sunspots and their Properties, published 1613). Because these observations were made at appoximately the same time of day, the motion of the spots across the Sun can easily be seen.
I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything, and there are many things I don’t know anything about. But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things.
Fascinating talk by Kenneth Stanley on our society’s obsession with setting objectives and how this stunts our creativity. Some points:
You can only discover new things by not looking for them. The path to success is through not trying to succeed. To achieve our highest goals we must be willing to abandon them. It is in your interest that others do not follow the path you think is right (they will lay the stepping stones for your greatest discoveries).
On September 25th 2015, 193 world leaders will commit to 17 Global Goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality & injustice. Fix climate change. The Global Goals for sustainable development could get these things done. In all countries. For all people.
From lecture 3 in professor Charles Bailyn’s ASTR 160: Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics:
Bailyn first reminds us of the scientific method and that astronomy is an observational science. He then talks about classification and the six categories of objects in the Solar System:
Sun (a star). Inner, sometimes called terrestial or rocky, planets. Asteroids. Outer, also known as Jovian, planets.Trans-Neptunian, or Kuiper Belt, objects. _Comets in the outer region, or Oort cloud.
Carl Sagan quoting Holbach in the preface to Cosmos’s Chapter VII, The Backbone of Night, p.167:
If a faithful account was rendered of Man’s ideas upon Divinity, he would be obliged to acknowledge, that for the most part the word “gods” has been used to express the concealed, remote, unknown causes of the effects he witnessed; that he applies this term when the spring of the natural, the source of known causes, ceases to be visible: as soon as he loses the thread of these causes, or as soon as his mind can no longer follow the chain, he solves the difficulty, terminates his research, by ascribing it to his gods… When, therefore, he ascribes to his gods the production of some phenomenon… does he, in fact, do any thing more than substitute for the darkness of his own mind, a sound to which he has been accustomed to listen with reverential awe?
Living with the memory of hardship, Vishniac was, “an absolute optimist filled with tragedy. His humanism is not just for Jews, but for every living thing.” He probably believed in God or some similar concept, but he was non-denominational and did not adhere strictly to the principles of any religion. He even clashed with Orthodox Jews in one well-known instance: The religious Jews he met on his trek around Europe would not let themselves be photographed, quoting the Bible and its prohibition of making of graven images.
The four lectures on which the QED book is based.
I’ve always loved Feynman’s ways of explainging things. What an incredible teacher:
And then there’s the … kind of thing which you don’t understand. Meaning “I don’t believe it, it’s crazy, it’s the kind of thing I won’t accept.” Eh. The other part well… this kind, I hope you’ll come along with me and you’ll have to accept it because it’s the way nature works.