Trial Week, Part 2

A few months ago I wrote up an article about what I call a Trial Week. It is a week where you break free from habits and take part in a personal experiment. The only real good is to live your life during that week a bit differently and come away from it with a new perspective and experience to make you’re day-to-day life a bit more fulfilling. Quite simply it is an opportunity to realign yourself towards the life you want to live. Trial week, part 2. Not only was my own experience from my trial week experiment great, but so...

Why I’m looking forward to moving out of the south

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed my past year and a half, almost two years, living in Tallahassee. The often forgotten capital of Florida has served me well and I’ve made friends down here that I wouldn’t sacrifice for anything, yet I already know that my days down here are limited. After having grown up in Massachusetts and attending undergraduate at Boston College, it took a bit of adjustment when I first moved down here in January of 2015. Since then I’ve gotten to know the city through my weekend adventures, during those beers after work, and on the trips...

Quantifying Error

Being able to appropriately address uncertainty and error is fundamental to the pursuit of science. Without it, results and theory would never match up since theory usually involves a level of abstraction that permits simplification of the problem and observational results are never perfect and include all sorts of uncertainty. Recently I’ve been trying to quantify and approximate the error terms for the data that powers my model. (more…)

Paper of Note: Re-designing Distance Functions and Distance-Based Applications for High Dimensional Data

While it may be argued–and successfully so–that this is an article pertaining to an esoteric subset of computer science that few people will ever find practically useful, you may actually find it quite intriguing. I’ve found the article quite eye-opening and I’m certainly no computer scientist. What this article does do, which I feel is critically important for the progress of science and for the interaction of science with society, is unveil a new perspective on something that we do deal with on a day to day basis. What could be more mundane than distance? (more…)

Philosophy Monday: Einstein v Newton

The source for the tension between Newton’s view of the universe and of Einstein’s stems from each person’s respective choice of axioms. Newton choose to take the most concrete axioms for his mechanics: absolute nature of space and time. These intuitive assumptions mark and define the whole of Newtonian mechanics since all the other definitions and derivations are rooted in this foundation. Einstein decided to take a slightly divergent set of axioms (more…)

Philosophy Monday: The Role of Instruments in Science

The use of instruments and tools to understand, measure, and record the natural world may be a staple of modern scientific inquiry, but the relationship between the instruments and their validity in describing the natural world has developed over time. This relationship has changed considerably since the earliest recorders of Greek natural philosophy started over 2000 years ago. In order to organize this mutual development of the tools and our understanding of the natural world, I consider three periods of developments: the passive instrument, the active instrument, and the transcendent instrument. Each of these periods required new philosophical underpinnings before...

Philosophy Monday: The Baconian Ideal

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) has been–and will continue to be–an infamous individual in the history of science for he managed to influence countless scientists from numerous generations through his keen understanding of human nature and his tremendous rhetorical skill. First in Novum Organum Scientiarum and later in New Atlantis, Bacon establishes his understanding of science along with a new methodology which he developed of how research should and ought to be conducted.(1)For a full translation of Novum Organum Scientiarum, see here. For the New Atlantis, see here. The methodology that we shall call the Baconian Method establishes three principles as central to the advancement of...

Science Classification

Today I was exposed to a novel idea that I thought I would share. The idea comes from a paper that came up as part of a reading group I’m in which is delving into the recent philosophy of chemistry material. The article was a chapter from “Professionalism and Ethics in Chemistry” by Jeffrey Kovac (Amazon) wherein he takes a look at how ethics is and can-be applied to the chemist profession. The article brought up a number of interesting discussion points such as how chemists must bear the responsibilities of several moralities at once. That is, how a moral chemist must...