Thursday, July 30, 2009

The deepest joy of science

"Broecker likes figuring things out. He likes, above all else, putting a new piece in the puzzle. That is the best fun, the deepest joy.
Science is a system, a way of thinking and acting, and a community that allows you to taste that joy, on your luckiest days. It is the belief that if we observe the world carefully, test our ideas skeptically, and communicate honestly, we can figure things out."

Wallace Broecker and Robert Kunzig, "CO2 - Fixing Climate", chapter "Finding Science".

This reminds me of my mother telling me I loved and was very good at puzzles at an early age. This is undoubtedly what I like most in my job, having to figure out how the ocean works from observations I collect about it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The future

I think this one is originally from somebody else, but I read it again in this book anyway:

"The future cannot be forecast, but it can be explored."

E. F. Schumacher, Small is beautiful.

See also this related and much more developed post from my friend François.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

When stupidity becomes more intelligent than cleverness

I used to like and look for optimality when I was younger, but since then I have learned the following bit of wisdom:

"I think the stupid man who says "something is better than nothing" is much more intelligent than the clever chap who will not touch anything unless it is optimal."

E. F. Schumacher, Small is beautiful.