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Blog 20

The book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” Adventures of a Curious Character pieces together Dr. Richard Feynman’s life as told by him through interview. The first three parts of the chapter describe his early life, his years at Princeton, and his experience during World War II with the military and the atomic bomb research. There were quite a few parts that made up each section but the part that drew my attention the most was “String Beans.” In it Feynman describes his time working at his aunt’s hotel doing various kinds of little jobs. With each one he would try to innovate how the job was done to make it more efficient. One can see that this is a similar up bringing to that of Darwin, starting in something no where near the realm of science or invention that in the end pushed them to that realm. With each invention though, Feynman was met with opposition. Since no one else understood or liked his innovations, he would have to take them apart. This only taught Fey…

Blog 19

As I was thinking about which topics to write the research paper on, I first narrowed it down to what style I want to write the paper in. I decided that I either want to write the paper about a scientist and how his virtues made them a successful scientist or how some virtues are applied in a less discussed area of science. Therefore, one of the topics that I am considering is Isaac Newton and how his virtues of intellectual humility, courage, perseverance, skepticism, and objectivity allowed him to become the exemplary scientist he was. The other is Nikola Tesla and how his virtues helped him to stick with science and inventing despite people mocking him. If I were to go with writing about specific virtues in a field, I would want to talk about how either skepticism and objectivity or intellectual humility and courage are applicable to the field of genetics or microbiology. Personally, I will likely lean towards talking about one of the scientists more but I would be …

Blog 18

Part two of the biography Albert Einstein: Ideas and Opinions described Einstein’s views of politics, government, and pacifism. All of the excerpts about Einstein’s views of these areas are very insightful and important to consider, the one that stood out to me the most and seemed as the best summation of his other accounts of pacifism was the section “The pacifist problem.” In it Einstein talks about people should not rely solely on the government to solve all sorts of problems and deny that the problem involves them in anyway. He goes on to state that it is a person’s job and right to stand up for their morals conscientious objection alongside other organizations with the same ideals, even if that means standing against one’s government. Darwin and McClintock demonstrated this kind of conscientious objection when both stood up for their research and fought for the truths of their discoveries to be made known despite the backlash they had to face from it. In this day …

Blog 17

In part one of the biography Albert Einstein: Ideas and Opinions, Einstein’s opinions of the world and society around him were described. These include his opinion of good and evil, women of America, and the meaning of Life, all of which were probably influenced heavily from his experiences with the war. The three opinion pieces that captured my attention the most were his views on the meaning of life, the true value of a human being, and on good and evil. He gave no direct answer to the meaning of life but stated that a person is only unfit to live life if he views it as meaningless. On the point for the true value of a human being, Einstein stated that one’s value is based on how much one has attained liberation from oneself. For good and evil, he stated that someone is good if they provide work that elevates them, not by the fruits of the work but from gaining understanding. This lines up well with both the Telos of science, since it is the discovery of all natural…

Blog 16

In part five of the book Albert Einstein: Ideas and Opinions all of Einstein’s major contributions to science were discussed, both through his research and through his activism in science. All of the compilations in the sections were passages taken from publications, radio conferences, or lectures that Einstein gave throughout his years. This allows for Einstein’s character and passion towards science to be understood by the reader which gives great depth and appreciation for what he did. Even though most of the contributions mentioned were things such as the theory of relativity and E=MC^2 and they were highly intellectual, the section that astounded me the most was a short part about the language of science. At first I wondered why such a scientifically intellectual person such as Einstein would be talking about language. Yet, his account of how scientific language is an international language that conveys to others concepts and data in a precise manner was inspired…

Blog 15

In chapter six of Dr. Pennock’s book, two hierarchical virtues of intellectual humility and courage were discussed and related to how scientists need to accept failure as a part of science. This includes admitting ignorance, subjecting oneself to the evidence, and being willing to have one’s hypothesis be challenged even if that means having it get proven wrong. However, since these are “ought” virtues and not what is reality, there are methodical systems in place to protect science and force scientists to follow a proper model to let natural truths be discovered. Though there are a few scientists that are not always humble or courageous and yet are still fantastic scientists, most scientists are able to truly flourish in science by being humble and courageous in order to have their curiosity be satisfied. An example of someone who was truly intellectually humble was Darwin. He always viewed himself as average and said that he was always astounded how someone with sim…

Blog 14

Chapter five of Dr. Pennock’s book goes into detail about how scientists develop virtues, and therefore character, based on forming habits, how these habits produce excellence in the scientific field and shape our desires and actions. These habits are things that take time to develop and follow through consistently on since humans are not virtuous by birth, though habits do enable us to put our instincts such as curiosity into action. Habits just like any virtue should be balanced in order for them to not become a vice and takes discipline to accomplish this. The example that Dr. Pennock used in the chapter was how habits of being meticulous can turn into a vice of being obsessive-compulsive. He does explain that scientists need to be a little more on the extreme side of meticulous in order to perform well, but he does not say that scientists should become compulsive. At that point, the scientist will be focused on say washing their hands so much that they never perfo…