The aspiring scientist

Recently I received an inquiry through a relative asking for a review of a physics paper. It did not take a huge amount of time so I agreed to do it. Later, the appreciative author wanted a bit more guidance on how he might further his physics interests. It occurred to me that the answer to that question may be of interest to a potentially wider audience. So, without revealing any personally identifiable information, I will share this answer here:

Q: Could you recommend a work to read that looks at the physics from another point of view, tries to unify it without Schrödinger equations?

A: Bookstores (those that you can still walk into) usually have a pretty good collection of physics and miscellaneous science books. Rather than pointing you to a particular one, I would rather try to guide differently.

  1. Be very curious
    This is the hallmark of a scientist. It’s what turns the Devil’s Postpile, the cracked mudflats of Death Valley and the bark of a redwood into an ahah! of thermal and material’s physics. Or the recognition of total internal reflection in partially water filled glass bowl. The accessible world is filled with big and little mysteries which are awaiting discovery and elucidation. To paraphrase Pinocchio’s Stromboli this can be accomplished “absolutely without the aids of a string” or string theory or Schroedinger’s for that matter. An academic background in physics can be helpful, but the internal drive is even more important. I would say that is true for any field. It is not so much how much of the spark is already in you. It is rather a matter of how much room (or hunger) you have inside of you for bringing in more of that spark from where ever you find it.
  2. Follow a thread to where it may lead
    If it interests you, you will be motivated to ask questions. In fact, your research can lead you rather far away from where you started. This brings to mind a story I first learned in a far away land. It goes like this: A curious little old lady (they may not always be little, but this one was) sat quietly on a bench in an old fashioned railroad car. Across from her, on another bench, sat a gentleman who had dosed off due to the monotonous clatter of the train. Noticing a little white thread on her neighbor’s garment, she could not resist her grandma’s instinct and went to pick it up. The thread was a little longer than she had anticipated, so she kept pulling. “You never know where a thread will lead you.” When the gentleman woke up before disembarking at his destination, he noticed something very strange: his underwear was missing. OK, folks no rotten tomatoes, please, it was just a story.
  3. Share and discuss what you find
    If you keep it all to yourself, you will find that not much good will come out of it. Over time, you will get the hang of what kind of findings are worth sharing and with how many people.
  4. If it fascinates you, go deep
    Some subjects will grudgingly reveal their inner structure and beauty after you peel back their mathematical protective shield. Others may not be so stingy. Go as far as the strength of your fascination or spark takes you.
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Another lurch forward

Here is a great step to bring internet to everyone and to lower the cost of space launches:

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6286331153544810496

Check out some #shapememory work I did at NanoMuscle for Alfmeier, parent of my client Actuator Solutions.

3D Technology Is Exploding

You’ve got to stay on top of 3D additive manufacturing. Whether upside down (http://carbon3d.com/), right side up (https://lnkd.in/bSrZUQX) or super strong carbon fiber reinforced (https://markforged.com), this technology is just exploding!

Actuator Solutions GmbH in Smartphone Cameras

@Actuator_Sol won with #shapememory actuators in car comfort seating (see http://wp.me/P29hqw-16), watch them expand into #SmartphoneCamera

Does this get your innovation juices flooding, trickling or draining?

Thanks to Dick Lee, Ph.D. for sharing this video on LinkedIn.

I kinda’ liked it. How about you?

NSL Satellites forges ahead

NSL Satellites has some exciting technological developments in satellite telecommunications. Here is the announcement http://wp.me/P29hqw-4k