I’m in the library, revising for my electromagnetism exam by reading some of the Feynman lectures on physics. He presents the material in a clear, accessible, and interesting way, and it’s a real joy to read. He also goes off on some great tangents to relate the basic material to more complex unsolved problems in Physics, and it’s really, really interesting. He addresses all the issues you have as an undergraduate – should I have a mental model of what’s going on, is this treatment accurate, and provides tips and tricks for solving various problems.
This got me to thinking in general of how easy it is for your enthusiasm for something to be crushed by the process of actually having to study it – sometimes you read about things the great scientists of the past discovered and you wonder how they could bring themselves to work on anything quite so dull!
Makes me wonder if perhaps we get our knowledge too easy; the things which were the life’s work of some of our greatest minds, taught in a lazy afternoon.
Obliquely, this led me on to thinking about Lost. I’ve just seen the 4th season finale, so it’s on my mind, but I’m going to avoid spoilers here! I realised they’d got their characterisations of the characters completely and utterly wrong!
Jack is the man of faith, and Locke is the man of science! Jack believes so thoroughly in “reason” that he totally ignores the things he can see with his own two eyes – like giant columns of black smoke that can kill people. Locke has the use of his legs restored, and immediately comes to the conclusion that something awfully odd is going on. Locke’s attitude is clearly the more scientific. The writers obviously have no idea what they’re talking about.
This could be just because I’m feeling a tad hostile towards them right now – anyone who’s seen the finale can probably guess why!