Sunday, November 25, 2007

Close call!

I've given a few keynote speeches over the years and this year is no different: as well as YR-SOC earlier this year, I'm also giving the keynote at DOA 2007 in the Algarve. As usual I left writing the speech until the last minute (yesterday) and thought I'd done pretty well. Until, that is, I checked what I'd told the organisers several months ago that I would be speaking on: not quite what I'd gone and written about! I have no idea what caused me to think I was speaking on A when in fact it was Z, but hey, at least I checked before I stood up to talk! So it's back to the drawing board.

I'm here until Thursday, so I should be able to watch Don's keynote. We caught up at HPTS only a few weeks ago, but it's a relatively small community we live in so I'm no longer surprised at the number of times I meet friends/colleagues from the other side of the world.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Evolve or die

It's a shame when someone isn't allowed to change their opinions over time without a backlash. In many ways scientific ideas are a really good example of Darwinian Evolution: the ones that best fit the observations continue whereas the others fall by the wayside. But today's ideas and theories may not be relevant in the near or far future and may even be ridiculed by those who come after us. I know that I no longer subscribe to many of the ideas and beliefs I had 20 years ago and like to think that I'm continually updating my thoughts. To do otherwise encourages stagnation. Whether or not you agree with Steve, he shouldn't be vilified for re-evaluating his beliefs based on his experiences.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Way too busy for my own good

Lots of things have happened over the past few months that normally I'd blog about but simply haven't had a chance to owing to work load. So I thought maybe I'd jot down some notes here to at least remind myself that I need to expand on them later:

A tribute to Jim

Somehow I'm going to try to attend. Jim was important for many different reasons, as this tribute will no doubt show.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Well worth a read

I'm currently working my way through Discarded Science, a wonderful journey through the evolution of our current ways of thinking and reasoning about life, the universe and everything. I'd come across many of the events described before, for example during my physics degree or reading copious scientific journal and watching programs over the years (e.g., the Hollow Earth and Flat Earth notions), but it's nice to have them all brought together in one easily digestible book. Even if your strong suit isn't science, this book is well worth a read.

I haven't finished the book yet, but I hope it makes the strong statement that science isn't about proving anything: it's about disproving the incumbent theories. I can't remember who said that first, but I'm sure I heard Feynman say it on more than one occassion.

I wonder how many of our current beliefs will appear in a 22nd century version?

Thursday, November 01, 2007