Bridging the gaps: Einstein on education

by Ashutosh Jogalekar The crossing of disciplinary boundaries in science has brought with it a peculiar and ironic contradiction. On one hand, fields like computational biology, medical informatics and nuclear astrophysics have encouraged cross-pollination between disciplines and required the biologist to learn programming, the computer scientist to learn biology and the doctor to know statistics.…

The road to scientific character: The proof is in the product

by Ashutosh Jogalekar A few years ago, historian of science Steven Shapin had a review of Steven Gimbel's capsule biography of Einstein. The biography itself is quite readable, but Shapin also holds forth with some of his more general thoughts on the art of scientific biography and the treatment of famous scientific figures. He mulls…

Big Data is shackling mankind’s sense of creative wonder

by Ashutosh Jogalekar Primitive science began when mankind looked upward at the sky and downward at the earth and asked why. Modern science began when Galileo and Kepler and Newton answered these questions using the language of mathematics and started codifying them into general scientific laws. Since then scientific discovery has been constantly driven by…

Black Holes and the Curse of Beauty: When Revolutionary Physicists Turn Conservative

by Ashutosh Jogalekar On September 1, 1939, the leading journal of physics in the United States, Physical Review, carried two remarkable papers. One was by a young professor of physics at Princeton University named John Wheeler and his mentor Niels Bohr. The other was by a young postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley,…

If you believe Western Civilization is oppressive, you will ensure it is oppressive

by Ashutosh Jogalekar Philosopher John Locke's spirited defense of the natural rights of man should apply to all men and women, not just one's favorite factions. When the British left India in 1947, they left a complicated legacy behind. On one hand, Indians had suffered tremendously under oppressive British rule for more than 250 years.…