Can we formulate a good science question? Reply

Thinking about problems — that is, what are the issues, that are bothering you, if you are to think of science.

Passion And Compulsion in doing science.

Lately, I have been thinking, a lot, about pretty much everything.

— There is an interesting difference, between anything and everything, which I am not making a case for right-away. But perhaps made a note somewhere, when I find, I will link.

So, what and all I have been thinking?

  1. Standard model and its projected — insignificant, incompleteness.
  2. How to reformulate our present day approach, in doing Physics, — lets say, on a world wide scale. So that the advantages of collaboration, between formally different components, of this branch of science, works with effective communication. Is science a bandwagon or it works better with conference and workshop,s where ideas are evaluated and worked on?
  3. How to extract more meaningful results, from seemingly bizarre events and processes, occurring in nature, how  to unify them all.
  4. How to unify them with a purpose, — lets say, to shape the future of science, rather than to satisfy our mundane hourly needs, of coming up with a pretty intellectual looking commentary, on something.
  5. In the later piece of activities — or hyper-activities, the naive and novices are, more of bottlenecks, than any useful positive or negative critique. But to give a counter example, the Corona is sipped through a bottle neck, right? Well ! Sometimes, I am just perplexed, by the lack of reasoning, but who do I expect it from, when I run out of it, I just go into the lap of nature, for a while, if I could, and rejuvenate myself. And most of this, I have been thinking, on a rail bogey or something, but I wouldn’t know, until I hit the defunct keyboard on my Macintosh.

Lately, I am also thinking, why we need to do something as undefined as science, is passion the only raison d’être?

The usual response, of the illuminated, is a learned silence and the response of one who is not is one, of an overt sense of, I declare enlightenment, at-least; I will not buzz with my self worth. In retrospect, no one, questions our self worth, no one, can stop us from asserting it. It is not just linked with our self dignity. If its an argument, we shall just supply our reasoning and we can see your self worth and dignity is so connected to someone else’s, that, there is no real danger to it.

It passes the immature intellectuals.

OK, so, passion is a good measure of someone’s true sincerity. But that is just at the pinnacle of glory. Thats where Richard P. Feynman arrived, through shear passion. Among other things and apart from passion, he showcased pretty many different characters of science. The reasons and validity of doing a scientific inquiry, cuts into much more, than just passion. Like it or not, a good deal of passion is, compulsion.

The naive and the newbies, could often try to counter that, with their opinion making tendencies. But I think — counter to that, compulsion is as good as passion. We learn to be passionate, because we are compelled to. Science is such a machine of compulsion. If one has been engrossed, one shall try to get out of it, without cutting one’s limbs and throat filaments, to see the veracity of that statement about science. Once in science, always in science. 

Of-course, one may define everything, to be simple and cut with ease, but that is not the compulsion, everyone is facing. If one studies the biographies of Niels Bohr, one will see the same compulsions, of scientific minds, that one will see if one studies, Pauli.

What exactly is doing science or knowing Physics? 

— I have come across some folks, who argue that, they know Physics because they studied it in college and they know Physicists, because they hear about them, on TV or internet sites, where a lot is described, in a way, in which we tend to accept, in a general way, rather than any straightforward; this is how it was.

So, its really difficult, to argue with someone, who forms such impressions, about the efficacy of one’s own studies, when one has something outstanding to say, how much of experience counts, is a good question, but how much to counter someone’s ill-found opinions, with a question, is another subject, it all leads to opportunities to study science or history of science and so on, and lately I am a little concerned about such a paradigm.

I once, met a middle aged folk, in a rail bogey, about 12 years ago and the person informed me, he works as a hydraulics engineer or something, back then, I was done doing my Physics honors and already well versed, in advance treatments of physics, at that level, such as Coriolis Force, Generic Coordinates and such, I never studied canonical transformation — properly enough, but there is any hard physics there, its all jam-packed into our course works, so we could relax towards a senior career in Physics, pun, who want to do Physics all his or her life, unless its a compulsion — albeit showing as a passion.

I planned to finish all that I could not back then, for several reasons, but could never, later when I saw the mind blowing negativism, in higher academics and research, it reminded me one thing, “you do what you can afford to do and at-best you can be ambitious about the rest”, — why give up on something, which is one’s compulsion, lets see if it turns into any passion 7 years from now, I believe, it will be adding much more constraints, than now, so the principle of affordability will always decide. When in great indecisiveness, let what you can afford or not, decide, what you gotta do.

So the point was, I already understood simpler concepts such as inertia and laws of motion. I thought a lot, about these back then as well, in my favorite rail bogey activity, jump to the top stair and read your book comfortably, its 1.5 hours of a trip and you know exactly where to and when to get off, its usually the watch, on an average, but also you know its never less than 1 hour 20 minute, so thats the alarm.

I overshoot my destination, only one time in 2 years, its usually dark, by the time one reaches and a small mistake could be playing into it. OK so, some of the times, I am not reading any books, because, I am bored of the dark implications it has, so I enjoy a mundane trip, sitting on the lower stairs, and meeting funny intellectuals.

So, this hydraulic guy comes up with — his interest to know, what I am doing, a Post Grad in Physics, good; “I have a plus 2 degree in Physics” and “I consider myself a savvy” — so savvy, that, I can claim superior knowledge, to someone who is at-least formally more prepared, if not a great scientist himself, this great scientist thing is a scorn, in the psychology of some folks.

I believe, these folks are never comfortable, with what they are dealing with, rather than who they are dealing with when they can not, they show their vulnerable sides and call you a name.

Little knowledge is never a dangerous thing, its a license — or sign if you will, of the dishonest person. “No matter what, let me give him a piece of a mind, son of a …”. Little do these folks realize, what kind of son of a Gun, I am. At any rate, there are too many referees here, so let me cut short.

So, the hydraulic engineer, comes up with some trashy explanation, of Newtons laws and inertial frame of reference and so on. Not that pretty many good students can come up with any good explanation, I mean you can ask a simple question about such, to those who claim professional degrees, in Physics and see for yourself, the inconsistent explanations, they give.

Its rut mania, its not any deep understanding, deep understanding is such a difficult paradigm, one has to act, on such, for a life time, before the understanding matches that of Einstein or  Feynman, and then lets remember the Feynman’s “I don’t understand what I don’t create“, not many can apprehend, what Feynman knew and what he did not know, in praise we can say what he did not know was such a newer understanding.

I think science of the best kind, often, relies on remarks that sound useless.

What Feynman knew, at age 23, is certainly outstanding and remarkable in any standard, how many people appreciated that, Hans Bethe and Oppenheimer, for sure, not every outstanding jerk. Now if I use the word average jerk, one will criticize me for calling some one, an average, so the other possibility, is, an outstanding jerk, because the jerk is a given, if one wills, but who does it apply to, certainly not the hydraulic engineer.

This person comes up with, idiotic arguments, about laws of motion and inertia etc, so I knew whats wrong with Physics from my preliminary days of thinking Physics. Of-course Physics attracts everyone alike. Its like a magnet. Ever read some one like Bohr proclaiming A Physicist is an atoms way of looking at itself. Perhaps a Physicist is a jerk’s way of looking at himself. If you are unhappy about that, consider this as well Physics is a smart persons ways of looking at himself, herself.

So there are various requirements for physics, they just should not confluence, fortunately, or there would be no difference between an atom, a jerk and a smart girl.

Whats then a good science question?

To some extent, I am trying to make things more clear, by writing about things, that I have done, why they are new, but science is such an ocean one needs to learn, to swim this infinite body, to feel any satisfaction in life — Steven Weinberg.

In-fact one should concentrate, on working to find out something better, than involve oneself in a bitter wordplay and advise, which are so natural in a field of academia like science, its already a vast oceanic field and there are natural distractions.

So, its not really easy to formulate a good science question.

As I remarked earlier science is undefined, it takes perseverance and experience, of a matter of decades, before one sees some light. So I am tempted to define science is like a tunnel. But then why go through a tunnel which is not well lit if its not a compulsion.We are not ghost hunters, who take a tunnel, for the passion of enjoying it. I think though, its a good exercise to pursue, but its difficult to chose everything in life. So, I go with a little whim here and a little solitude there.

Thats my formula for doing something, when I find myself in an infinite body of pursuits.

But, this finding oneself in a dark tunnel, that becomes one’s compulsion for quite some time, this is a necessary consequence of science. Wonder how someone ends up here? Pure inspiration and a streak of adventure. I just wanna see what lies beneath, rather than take everything for granted. Without that my life is a further wastage.

Its a 2nd tier wastage, 1st was ending up doing science, in the belief that one will be inspired, by nature’s wonder formulas, then one falls back on people, for their help and support, its always the case. If one wants to be mere selfless, one has to realize, either one falls in the category of a scientist, so one needs the same oxygen, that another scientist guy needs, the second being, one does not fall in the category of scientists, so one shall just enjoy what one has, rather than what one doesn’t, that these scientist guys are enjoying, lets not be jealous of someone’s efforts, for couple years.

Sometimes I have to go through a lot before I can prepare myself to attend a conference. And in these conferences, I usually have a contribution to make. At-least in most of them I have. I interact with science folks, from everywhere, I try to understand their psyche and their problems and their feelings and formulate my opinions based on such.

I don’t always go on air. I appreciate those people that appreciate, who I have been before, what they are seeing in me now, rather than those that imagine based on their childish internet participation. It does not hurt, it amuses and then that becomes a silly feeling, of who one should take an advise from and who one should not.

I think there is a limit to which scientists can interact, with those that are not directly or indirectly participants of science action, the added risk of this statement being, I enjoy the inspiration of many, that do not take part and a difficult paradigm need to be understood well, before one spills his opinions. I believe therefore, I am a strongly opinionated person because my views divulge, more often than not. So, I think I have developed a suitable personality trait, because every character tendencies are not natural, something developed over the years, become a natural tendency, what comes out as a good is to be tested by time. NOT by people.

NOW there is something called formulating a science question. The above is the backdrop one has to see such involvement, to get an idea about whats involved at-least in an ideal way. Because what I am opinionating, I am doing so, as I said after interacting with 100s scientists and non scientists of the world, after working painstakingly through days and nights, of undefined science problems. I have literally formulated and worked successfully, on 1000s of questions, before I could find a figurative solution, to a daunting Physical problem.

So here and now, I proclaim, its also enlightening, to see, what happens in human behavior, human actions and psychology of communities. We jump with our presumptions and procreated, mass customized behavior, rather than an individualistic inquisitive zeal. We find it comforting to be a member of a mass to hide our follies, than to be a member of the sky and learn from our own mistaken persona. I believe no good science can ever come out of this.

So I will cut some slack here and beg pardon from the scientific community for over speaking and formulate a few commandments to formulating good science, so that a remarkable result can be achieved.

If you follow such, you can apply science everywhere, except science as its propagating, has been through a collective understanding. So, individualistic efforts are nonetheless, field defining, perspective generating and such. If everything is seen to be dark, with the individual, the collective effort are no less dark, than the individual sum. Everywhere its the physical principles. So, here is a list.

  1. Think about everything you intend to do, in isolation from other problems. The rule is at-least think.
  2. Select a problem. This is a process, that can be a month long involvement or even linger to eternity. If it is the later either you are a genius or you better abstain.
  3. Discuss the statement of the problem in your science community. Your thesis advisor is a honorable employer, if you are ambitious you have to plan an additional dimension.
  4. Most people chose a problem that is in someway already worked out, its just a way to finish the problem in couple years and obtain a formal position and lead a comfortable life. It has got nothing to do with science. Science works despite of the fact, that, these people are a burden. Science works because there are checks and balances from enthusiastic youth and kind senior people, rather than any traditional formulas; such as a reference letter. The reference letters or any traditions are simply a farce. They have positive things to tell but they will also be very manipulative. The senior people have seen pretty much all of scientist tendencies. The youth is necessarily inspired because everyone forms their  path based on least action. Least action is where all the complicacy and inconsistent possibilities cancel. The burdensome resource eaters are just a sophisticated reality of science of any time. Einstein distasted this. Every serious scientist distastes this.
  5. Once your problem is selected, study extensively, what has been done and what has not been. No magic formula here. There will be pretty many factors here. Peer consultation, literature study, advise and mentoring from suitable scientists, hearing the unsuitable scientists with patience, because their long term frustrations may be a good substitute to a hard earned perspective. I chose the middle path always. Take it all, think it through, evaluate and come up with your ideas. Its tiring and murky. Thats my reputation in the community.  Your reputation comes from what you have eaten, if you eat electrons you are a brilliant physicist, if you are at eating … pardon me.
  6. Work at the problem like a pro. Everyone likes confidence. Only a few are real pros. Most burdensome resource eaters know how to fake this. It becomes a science problem in itself, to differentiate between the two. That is why I describe the commandments in terms of all possible players.
  7. Learn from the success and learn from the failures. The ones that have never performed any action are a special kind of participant, they work to inspire you. Don’t dissatisfy them but they are the ones that form the opinion, you must always look at your failures. Thats the kind of agony aunt prescription I dont dislike. Agony aunts can never behave pleasant uncles. They are telling there is nothing called celebration. Its not true. Failures can be celebrated but why be so skew symmetric. Lets also celebrate our success.
  8. If you finish in time, You will celebrate at 55, if you did not you will always celebrate. It just becomes a PIA for you to decide how to lead your life for what you have been making so much hue and laugh.

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