If you’d asked farmers a few hundred years ago what skills their kids would need to thrive, it wouldn’t have taken long to answer. They’d need to know how to milk a cow or plant a field. General skills for a single profession that only changed slowly—and this is how it was for most humans through […]
My optometrist once told me that a research job can be tough on the eyes. When you aren’t reading articles, you’re staring at data or puzzling your way though code on some blinking monitor. I wear contacts. She told me to bring my glasses to work, as a backup in case my eyes tired out. […]
Imagine you have been asked to review the reference letters provided by the candidates for a lectureship in philosophy. One reads: ‘My former student, Dr Jack Smith, is polite, punctual and friendly. Yours faithfully, Professor Jill Jones.’ You would, I assume, interpret that Jones is implying that Smith is a bad philosopher and unsuitable for […]
The Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer was regarded by his friends as a master in the art of mind-wandering. He could become ‘enwrapped’ in his own pleasant reflections, wrote the German humanist Willibald Pirckheimer, at which times Dürer ‘would seem the happiest person on Earth’.
While in graduate school in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I took a logic course from David Griffeath. The class was fun. Griffeath brought a playfulness and openness to problems. Much to my delight, about a decade later, I ran into him at a conference on traffic models. During a presentation on computational models […]