Essays in Science, Philosopy and Art
Seeing Dark Matter as the Key to the Universe -- And Human Empathy
by Lisa Randall
On the last day of my residence at the artists' colony Yaddo, I shared with my co-residents an excerpt from my book, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs. I read from the first chapter, in which I liken dark matter -- matter present throughout the universe that is invisible to us because it doesn't emit or absorb light -- to other entities that remain unnoticed but influence the workings of the world, from the bacterial cells in our bodies, which outnumber human cells by a factor of 10, to the myriad Internet communities and subcultures that thrive outside our awareness. The goal was to illuminate the gap between our limited observations and the many barely perceived phenomena that permeate our reality.Continue ...
On Being the Right Size
by J. B. S. Haldane
The most obvious differences between different animals are differences of size, but for some reason the zoologists have paid singularly little attention to them. But yet it is easy to show that a hare could not be as large as a hippopotamus or a whale as small as a herring. For every type of animal there is a most convenient size, and a large change in size inevitably carries with it a change of form. Continue ...
New Concepts of Matter, Life and Mind
by Ervin Laszlo
In light of the current, revolutionary advances in the natural sciences and in the study of consciousness, the concepts of matter, life, and mind have under-gone major changes. This paper outlines some basic aspects of these changes, taking in turn the emerging concept of matter, of life, and of human mind and consciousness. Continue ...
A Designer Universe?
by Steven Weinberg
I have been asked to comment on whether the universe shows signs of having been designed. I
don't see how it's possible to talk about this without having at least some vague idea of what a designer would be like. Any possible universe could be explained as ... Continue ...
by Robert L. Park
In recent years, an enormous amount of research has been done on the effect of magnetic fields on the human body, driven not by magnetic therapy, but by safety considerations associated with the phenomenal growth in the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for medical diagnoses and research. Continue ...
Planning for the Future for American Science
by Caroline L. Herzenberg
The investment of time and effort in looking ahead and planning for the future can be a very important one for science and for scientists. Because accomplishing our work takes so long in comparison with that of most other individuals in our society, ... Continue ...
Science and Art
by Leonid Ponomarev
The limitations of science are the most evident in attempts to use scientific methods to unveil the secrets of art. Science 'knows everything' about the grand piano: the number, quality and length of its strings; the species of wood used; the composition of the glue, and the finest details of its design. Nevertheless, it is unable to explain what happens to this polished box when a virtuoso sits down to play. Continue ...
by Alan Lightman
IT IS A SATURDAY IN MARCH. The man wakes up slowly, reaches over and feels the windowpane, and decides it is warm enough to skip his thermal underwear. He yawns and dresses and goes out for his morning jog. When he comes back, he showers, cooks himself a scrambled egg, and settles down on the sofa with The Essays of E. B. White
. Continue ...
Science and the Arts
by Tim Love
Newton received a mixed reception from poets. As the scientific revolution that
he spurred took hold, the Romantics protested against its mechanistic
abstractions. The protest was, in hindsight, valid though it wasn't until the
20th century that mainstream scientists realised the truth of the accusations ... Continue ...