I like the way that Ahmed Zewail has answered the question of what it takes to get a Nobel Prize in his essay published in Nature. It is worthy of a good read regardless of what role in society you have with respect to research. At the end of the day, we all benefit from research, be that research in the natural sciences, be it in the humanities or the social sciences.
If you have the time, do read Ahmed Zewail’s recommendations about research and discovery. I would like to invite those in legal research to try to translate his recommendations to the field of legal research. Curiosity is what drives research, and it is the quest for new knowledge that drives innovation.
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This morning I did the usual very brief scan of the headlines of both local and remote media. This exercise makes me long for the days when radio waves were less used and the internet was something my mother did not know anything about while I was using it to arrange my affairs. On a side note, do recall that I like the word affair. So, let us get back to the bit of public affairs that got me in a bad mood after a delightful morning at the keyboard composing the challenges of my latest love, the character in a novel. It is this gem in the New York Times on the new war between science versus religion.
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What happened before the Big Bang?: Was the Universe before the Big Bang of classical nature, described well by a smooth space–time? Or was it in a highly fluctuating quantum state? This is one of the most basic questions that we may ask once it is accepted that there was something before the Big Bang. Loop quantum gravity applied to isotropic models has shown that the quantum evolution of a wavefunction extends through the Big Bang. Although a general demonstration is still lacking, this may suggest that calculations, and possibly future indirect observations, may allow us to see the Universe as it was before the Big Bang. Here, we analyse an explicit model with a pre-Big Bang era, indicating limitations that would imply that it is practically impossible to answer some of our questions. Assumptions (or prejudice) will remain necessary for knowing the precise state of the Universe, which cannot be fully justified within science itself.
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Why do I blog this? It ties in rather nicely to what I hinted at in the last paragraph of “social architects and practical visionaries” in tensoriana.org.