Self-reference is cornerstone in Hofstadter’s Godel-Escher-Bach, a must read book for anyone interested in logic (and we shall rely logic in these days to stay sane.)Here’s a bunch of examples of self-reference that I found interesting, curated just for you!Barber’s paradox:
The barber is the “one who shaves all those, and those only, who do not shave themselves.” The question is, does the barber shave himself?
Self-referential figure (via xkcd):Tupper’s formula that prints itself on a screen (via Brett Richardson) Continue reading
I had the chance to help my friend Sylvie to get scanning electron microscope pictures of the MRI contrast agent she synthesizes, and we collected gorgeous data thanks to my colleague Farhad.
He told me that he had TONS of failed experiments that still yielded great pictures…
We should start a journal of the failed experiments… art+science mag !:)
I guess there is some wabi-sabi in science…Continue reading
Hi peeps,Today, I had the chance to be there for a talk given by Steven Chu.
As usual, I’ve asked him a for a drawing.
Since he did a lot of work on laser cooling, I asked him for a “cool atom” :
Since Paul Alivisatos was around, I also asked him for a contribution.
I thought a quantum dot would do the work !
I’ve been working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab for a year now, and I wanted to get drawings from the two Nobel prizes that are still active in the lab : George Smoot (N2006) and Saul Perlmutter (N2011).They both proved very difficult to find, since they are often travelling. But today, the day before Thanksgiving, I was particularly in luck : I spotted these two guys at the cafeteria !The time I came back to my office to grab my notebook, Saul Perlmutter was gone, but George Smoot was still here !
However, Saul Perlmutter had left. But… I knew where his office was. I went there; we talked a little bit.
A little earlier on, my friend Josquin told me that I would rather ask him a picture of a Supernova, probably easier to draw that the idea of universe expansion. Saul told me that this picture wouldn’t be personal, since his mind has been infused by the commonly accepted picture, and proposed to draw me a chart of the accelerating universe :
There we go ! (You can check my collection of noble drawings here)Last month, I had the occasion to attend Uncharted, advertised as the local SXSW, thanks to a scholarship. Continue reading
When I read “Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (that I mentionned in this post), he mentioned the existence of Edge.org, 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.
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 !).
They gave me the chance to visit the Berkeley Skydeck, a startup incubator where they share space with other innovative companies on the top floor of the Chase building, in Berkeley– a great view !
He was a obviously a good candidate for a drawing ! He is not a Nobel prize himself, but he was definitely a Nobel prize maker…
I’ve asked him to draw me a torch, since he ended his talk with a quote of Louis Pasteur :
Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world.
It’s fun the he also quotes Pasteur, like Richard Hamming who quoted the pseudo-Randian :
Chance favors only the prepared mind.
Now that in Berkeley, I really need to get a drawing from George Smoot (building 50-5007, he was in the thesis committee of a friend of mine), Saul Perlmutter (building 50-5038; his daughter is the friend a of colleague;-) , the previous director of the lab and former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, the current director of the lab Paul Alivisatos (a Nobel-Prize-to-be ?), and maybe catch-up with Charles Townes, who’s old an often seen at the church in Berkeley, who was the first person I ever asked to draw me something and the only person who ever refused….
I’ve made a series of FDTD simulations of optical phenomena using Meep.I did these this during my thesis, to better understand some not-so-intuitive interaction of light and matter.There are more to come later !Enjoy!