The Common Character Trait of Geniuses: A Passion for Abstraction
Scientific geniuses tend to share a passion for abstraction that doesn't lend itself to easy communication.
I’m tempted to say smart, creative people have no particularly different set of character traits than the rest of us, except for being smart and creative. Then, on the other hand, I have written about great physicists. I wrote a biography of Richard Feynman and a biography of Isaac Newton.
These are two great scientific geniuses whose characters were in some superficial ways completely different. Isaac Newton was solitary, antisocial, unpleasant, bitter. He fought with his friends as much as with his enemies. Richard Feynman was gregarious, funny, a great dancer, he loved women. Isaac Newton, I believe, never had sex. Richard Feynman, I believe, had plenty. So you can't generalize there.
On the other hand, as I tried to get in their heads, understand their minds, the nature of their genius, I felt I was seeing things that they had in common, and these were things that had to do with aloneness. Newton was much more obviously alone than Feynman, but Feynman didn’t particularly work well with others. He was known as a great teacher, but he wasn't a great teacher, I don't think, one on one. I think he was a great lecturer. I think he was a great communicator. But when it came time to make the great discoveries of science, he was alone in his head.
When I say "he," I mean both Feynman and Newton, and this applies, also to the geniuses that I write about in The Information: Charles Babbage, Alan Turing, Ada Byron and ultimately Claude Shannon. They all had the ability to concentrate with a sort of intensity that is hard for mortals like me to grasp -- a kind of passion, a passion for abstraction that doesn't lend itself to easy communication, I don't think.
Research in plant neurobiology shows that plants have senses, intelligence and emotions.
- The field of plant neurobiology studies the complex behavior of plants.
- Plants were found to have 15-20 senses, including many like humans.
- Some argue that plants may have awareness and intelligence, while detractors persist.
E-cigarettes may be safer than traditional cigarettes, but they come with their own risks.
- A new study used an MRI machine to examine how vaping e-cigarettes affects users' cardiovascular systems immediately after inhalation.
- The results showed that vaping causes impaired circulation, stiffer arteries and less oxygen in their blood.
- The new study adds to a growing body of research showing that e-cigarettes – while likely safer than traditional cigarettes – are far from harmless.
Since the idea of locality is dead, space itself may not be an aloof vacuum: Something welds things together, even at great distances.
- Realists believe that there is an exactly understandable way the world is — one that describes processes independent of our intervention. Anti-realists, however, believe realism is too ambitious — too hard. They believe we pragmatically describe our interactions with nature — not truths that are independent of us.
- In nature, properties of Particle B may be depend on what we choose to measure or manipulate with Particle A, even at great distances.
- In quantum mechanics, there is no explanation for this. "It just comes out that way," says Smolin. Realists struggle with this because it would imply certain things can travel faster than light, which still seems improbable.