high school life

The Origin of the Universe… was apparently really simple

Stephen Hawking gave a lecture yesterday at Texas A&M about the origin of the universe. Admittedly, it was very cool seeing him. That’s probably why I went, actually. Taylor sent a contigent of kids to go on a school bus, and we had quite an outing. Unfortunately, it sucked.
Of course, it’s nothing on him. He’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant. The talk, however, was probably a waste of both my, and his, time. He did talk about the origin of the universe, but in extremely simplistic terms. As I’ve said to just about everyone, what he said is probably as much as a college freshmen physics student could explain in about five minutes.
The part that hurts is that to much of the audience, that’s probably what they needed. Just like me, they probably went to “see Stephen Hawking”. I, cynically, however think that most probably didn’t know what he was talking about, and thought it was amazing. I don’t claim to have an amazing knowledge of physics; far from, actually. Not a big fan of the subject. What’s important is how elementary what he talked about seemed to me.
Not everyone needs to know about cosmology, but for him to appeal to that audience is more of a publicity stunt than actual effective work in academia. I’m sure there were physics students in there dying to hear about some of his more recent work, and the more brilliant stuff he’s done. And I’d like to think that even though it’d all be over my head, I’d be more satisfied with that presentation than what I got.
Oh well. At least I got to see him.
And get one really good laugh at a crack he made at the Catholic church.
And a free frisbee.
And eat at Freebird’s. It was good, but not amazing. Comparable to Chipotle, definitely, but not really superior in ‘ne way. Those who think one way or the other are victims of branding, in my opinion.

UIL Region was this weekend, and after getting pwned last year, we managed to save face. The Social Science, Science, Math, and Computer Science team all managed to qualify for state, with the middle two scraping by on wild-card. If you see either Frank or David, congratulate them for pwning up this year and carrying (as a duo) 3 teams to state. Absolutely amazing work those boys do.

One reply on “The Origin of the Universe… was apparently really simple”

You’ve raised a really interesting question about whether science should be simple or not.

I just took a diversity class yesterday (the content seemed similar to that done by Geert Hofstede, if you want to Google that), and one of the dimensions portrayed as being extremely cultural is simple vs. complex.

Overcategorizing, American culture likes thing simple. An an almost complete opposite extreme, the French think the world is complex, so simple explanations are for morons.

The last time I thought about this was when I was visiting Diana’s sister in Israel. Buying bread is complicated. The Christian bakeries close on Sunday. The Jewish bakeries close on Saturday. The Muslim bakeries close on Friday. Cap it off by my going during Passover, and leavened bread was really not served anywhere. Just for interest, I had a McDonald’s hamburger … which didn’t really have a bun, it was more meat served with two pancakes!

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