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Domenico Monaco
B S U R, I M S I M.
B S U R, I M S I M.

Domenico's posts

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Follow up to a previous share of mine:

Give me money plz!

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tl;dr version: Scientists are people, too.
The Beast Within

A new study looked at public opinion of scientists in the U.S. They found that while scientists are perceived as being honest, they are also seen as robotic and lacking emotion. From my own experience I can certainly understand why.

Of all the characters in the Marvel universe, the one I most strongly see in myself is Bruce Banner. Talented, but shy and withdrawn, and always wary of his emotions, lest they let loose the Hulk within. I’m willing to bet I’m not the only scientist who feels this way. Feelings are understandable, but science requires evidence beyond personal experience. Upon the altar of science we place the cold equations, and let the data judge. We’re wary of fallible emotions lest they lead us away from objectivity. You can see this in scientific papers, and even in my own blog writing. Stick to the facts, and don’t let emotion show.

Of course there is a deep emotional component to my work. I have stood under the Milky Way, moved to tears by its beauty. I’ve felt awe in the sublime elegance of a mathematical theory, and joy in scientific success. Some of the deepest emotional experiences I’ve had were fueled by scientific pursuits. It is those emotions that drive me to pursue science, not cold objectivity. Without an emotional impact I wouldn’t be a scientist. I’m just more comfortable when those emotions are hidden, partly due to my own personality and partly due to my scientific training. Even writing this post makes me a bit uncomfortable.

By hiding our emotional side, scientists not only promote the stereotype of being cold an amoral, they also lose a powerful tool. The power of the Hulk can create havoc, but it can also save the world. Likewise, our emotions can motivate us to do good. Rage at the social inequalities within our institutions, joy in the success of our colleagues, empathy to leave the world better than we found it. Emotions can push us beyond our comfort zone, and encourage us to improve our community. And by showing our emotional side we can better connect with the public, and make science more welcoming. We do a disservice to science when we perpetuate the robotic stereotype.

I don’t know that I’ll ever be comfortable expressing my emotions publicly, but in the future I’ll try to present more of them in my writing. Because the scientific community and society as a whole will be better off if occasionally we unleash the beast within.

Paper: Bastiaan T. Rutjens , Steven J. Heine. The Immoral Landscape? Scientists Are Associated with Violations of Morality. PLoS ONE 11(4): e0152798. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152798 (2016)

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Quantum manifesto

Researchers across Europe are calling on the European Union (EU) to launch a €1bn initiative in quantum technologies to ensure that the continent remains a leader in the field. The group […] is asking industries, research institutes and scientists in Europe to endorse their "quantum manifesto" before putting it forward to the European Commission.
'Quantum manifesto' for Europe calls for €1bn in funding - Programme could unlock the potential of quantum technologies, say physicists

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Let's celebrate #WomenInSTEM  today!

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Did Homer #Simpson discover the #HiggsBoson? Maths in 1998 episode predicts particle's mass 14 years before CERN

"If you look up these numbers and plug them into the equation, it predicts a mass of 775 giga-electron-volts (GeV)"
(It is off by ~25 GeV but, after all, this is just LO...)

"Huck!" -- Kim Kong-un, dropping the H bomb.

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Gödel's Theorem states that some statements are undecidable, namely you cannot prove them to be right, nor disprove them to be wrong. Now a group of physicists have found a physical systems which has an undecidable property (regarding its spectral gaps). Does this mean that Nature itself is undecidable?

Excerpt from the article:

In 1931, Austrian-born mathematician Kurt Gödel shook the academic world when he announced that some statements are ‘undecidable’, meaning that it is impossible to prove them either true or false. Three researchers have now found that the same principle makes it impossible to calculate an important property of a material — the gaps between the lowest energy levels of its electrons — from an idealized model of its atoms.
Gödel’s incompleteness theorems are connected to unsolvable calculations in quantum physics.

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I got "Cosmologist" O_o
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