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“It is impossible to write a readable book about real mathematics for nonmathematical readers. The best anybody can do is to write about a real mathematician.”
Freeman Dyson, Institute of Advanced Study, discussing his favorite books, including a biography of Srinivasa Ramanujan by Robert Kanigel, The New York Times, April 19, 2015.
“You might have seen the difference between a Lego fire engine and a real fire engine. … The Lego fire engine has little doors that open and some features of it that make it somewhat realistic for describing a fire engine, but it doesn’t have all the features of a true fire engine, it’s just a model fire engine. I’d like you to think of string theory as like my Lego set.”
Amanda Peet, Perimeter Institute, Ontario, Canada, on explaining string theory to nonexperts, The National Post, May 6, 2015.
“Factors include practical matters like a lack of reliable parental leave and affordable childcare, cultural issues like pervasive implicit bias that reduces women’s chances of being hired or promoted in a field seen as ‘masculine,’ and cultural conditioning that makes it harder for professional women to advocate or negotiate for the resources they need to succeed.”
Elizabeth Simmons, Michigan State University, on underrepresentation of women in physics, dailypress.com, May 8, 2015.
“The electron isn’t a little speck of dirt that orbits the nucleus, that’s the whole point. It’s a wave function, very close to its ground state, without a well-defined position or momentum. And what is the distance over which that wave function spreads? The size of the atom! … Atoms aren’t ‘mostly empty space,’ they are ‘mostly the wave function of the electron’.”
Sean Carroll, California Institute of Technology, on why you don’t fall through the chair when you sit down, www.wamc.org, May 19, 2015.
“These findings might be a step towards creating our ultimate goal of steady-state fusion, which would last not just for milliseconds, but indefinitely.”
Tom Osborne, General Atomics, on heating a tokamak plasma by injecting grains of lithium, phys.org, May 20, 2015.
“Until we have the EIC, there are huge areas of nuclear physics that we are not going to make progress in.”
Donald Geesaman, Argonne National Laboratory and chair of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, which is studying a proposed electron-ion collider (EIC), nature.com, May 19, 2015.
“It’s sort of like a divided highway for the electrons, so they don’t bounce into things,” Kane said. “They just keep going straight in their lane.”
Charles Kane, University of Pennsylvania, on topological insulators, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 24, 2015.
“When you put all that together, what you realize is you can do a lot of cool neutrino physics.”
Manoj Kaplinhat, University of California, Irvine, on understanding neutrino mass by studying the polarization of the cosmic microwave background, symmetrymagazine.org, May 19, 2015.
“The idealized view of science is misleading and mythological and … I think that’s destructive.”
Leonard Mlodinow, California Institute of Technology, on the view that science progresses only when brilliant people have sudden “aha moments,” LA Weekly, April 16, 2015.
“Paul, Weiss has asked me not to comment and to refer questions to the N.F.L.”
Daniel Marlow, Princeton University, on his participation in a report written by the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, commissioned by the National Football League on whether the New England Patriots football team cheated with underinflated balls, which included the statement “The measurements recorded for the Patriots’ game balls at halftime cannot be entirely explained by the Ideal Gas Law,” The New York Times, May 6, 2015.
“Although the scientific details are not presented, I suspect the conclusion reasonably follows from the data and simulations. … Moreover, Dan Marlow is a good physicist and I would place great weight on his scientific opinion.”
Alan Nathan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, on the NFL report, The New York Times, May 6, 2015.
“It sounds like they’ve got a guilty party.”
Timothy Gay, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, on NFL report, The New York Times, May 6, 2015.
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