Category Archives: Words

The Big Picture

Once again I have not really been the world’s most conscientious blogger, have I? Sometimes other responsibilities have to take precedence — such as looming book deadlines. And I’m working on a new book, and that deadline is definitely looming! … Continue reading

Posted in Personal, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Words | 59 Comments

Einstein’s Papers Online

If any scientist in recent memory deserves to have every one of their words captured and distributed widely, it’s Albert Einstein. Surprisingly, many of his writings have been hard to get a hold of, especially in English; he wrote an … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Words | 35 Comments

Unsolicited Advice: Becoming a Science Communicator

Everyone who does science inevitably has “communicating” as part of their job description, even if they’re only communicating with their students and professional colleagues. But many people start down a trajectory of becoming a research scientist, only to discover that … Continue reading

Posted in Advice, Science and the Media, Words | 32 Comments

Discovering Tesseracts

I still haven’t seen Interstellar yet, but here’s a great interview with Kip Thorne about the movie-making process and what he thinks of the final product. (For a very different view, see Phil Plait [update: now partly recanted].) One of … Continue reading

Posted in Math, Time, Words | 35 Comments

How to Communicate on the Internet

Let’s say you want to communicate an idea X. You would do well to simply say “X.” Also acceptable is “X. Really, just X.” A slightly riskier strategy, in cases where miscomprehension is especially likely, would be something like “X. … Continue reading

Posted in Humanity, Words | 23 Comments

Does Santa Exist?

There’s a claim out there — one that is about 95% true, as it turns out — that if you pick a Wikipedia article at random, then click on the first (non-trivial) link, and keep clicking on the first link … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Philosophy, Words | 15 Comments

Twenty-First Century Science Writers

I was very flattered to find myself on someone’s list of Top Ten 21st Century Science Non-Fiction Writers. (Unless they meant my evil twin. Grrr.) However, as flattered as I am — and as much as I want to celebrate … Continue reading

Posted in Women in Science, Words | 42 Comments

Reality, Pushed From Behind

“Teleology” is a naughty word in certain circles — largely the circles that I often move in myself, namely physicists or other scientists who know what the word “teleology” means. To wit, it’s the concept of “being directed toward a … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Science, Time, Words | 66 Comments

The Branch We Were Sitting On

In the latest issue of the New York Review, Cathleen Schine reviews Levels of Life, a new book by Julian Barnes. It’s described as a three-part meditation on grief, following the death of Barnes’s wife Pat Kavanagh. One of the … Continue reading

Posted in Humanity, Religion, Words | 77 Comments

Don’t Start None, Won’t Be None

[Final update: DNLee’s blog post has been reinstated at Scientific American. I’m therefore removing it from here; traffic should go to her.] [Update: The original offender, “Ofek” at Biology Online, has now been fired, and the organization has apologized. Scientific … Continue reading

Posted in Humanity, Science and Society, Science and the Media, Women in Science, Words | 84 Comments