Artists and Nobels

When I read “Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (that I mentionned in this post), he mentioned the existence of, maintained by John Brockman, and the fact the he (DK) was asked by the latter to give his favorite equation.

It turns out that John Brockman has many wonderful connections and asked that same question to a whole bunch of great scientists.

Brockman’s self formula

Together with the Serpentine gallery, they curated the collection “What is your formula ».
This is astonishingly similar to what I try to do with the drawings I get when I encounter a Nobel prize, except that I actually get drawings, instead of formulas (and I’m almost sure my list is bigger than his !).

Following that lead, I had the pleasure to read two books edited by Brockman, which despite their lame names were extremely interesting :
This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking
This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works
The idea is to ask, every year, a single question to some scientists and thought leaders, who give a short (2-3 pages) answers. That is, there is an extreme variety in these books, and they are very easy to read when the time is short.

It seems that this group gravitates around Steven Pinker, Daniel Kahneman, NN Taleb and Richard Dawkins, who all are among my favorite contemporary thinkers.

Somehow related, I wanted to mention the article “Why do humans reason? Arguments for an argumentative theory” by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber, which is a great read and gives a lot of food for thought !