Living science fiction and some other things!

The publci outreach page of the New York Academy of Sciences, Science and the city has a few interesting pieces that have been published recently:

[1] Peter Lax, a computational mathematician, who calls his times spent during the Manhattan Project as “living science fiction”, has some important things to say about research and education:

Lax is passionate about the need for education reform. “I’ve seen for a long time what I call the paradox of education: Science and mathematics are growing by leaps and bounds on the research frontier, so what we teach in high school, college, and graduate school is falling behind by leaps and bounds.” But by fostering intimate cooperation between research mathematicians and educators, he says, we can “simplify the teaching of old topics, and make room for new ones.”

[2] Six leading scholars discuss the enduring influence of Darwin; the one by Paul Ekman caught my eye:

A few years ago I had a series of conversations with the Dalai Lama about the nature of emotion and compassion reported in our book Emotional Awareness. I explained recent research in which a monkey could get food only by delivering a shock to another monkey. If it was a familiar monkey, the hungry monkey did not attempt to get food for many days. The amount of delayed gratification decreased if it was an unfamiliar monkey, and even more if it was a monkey from a different species.

[3] Of course, the master himself: an excerpt from Darwin’s Origin of species.

Have fun!

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