Download 101 Things You Don't Know About Science and No One Else Does by James Trefil Physics Professor PDF

By James Trefil Physics Professor

James Trefil takes the reader on an exhilarating journey around the borders of present medical knowledge-from astronomy to genetics, from details expertise to cosmology, the good contested questions that preoccupy researchers at the present time and may develop into headlines day after today. In based, witty three-page summations, Dr. Trefil "makes feel of technology for the remainder of us" (Washington Post).

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Nurture, Tabula Rasa vs. Original Sin, Predestination vs. Free Will This question just doesn't seem to go away. And no wonderin essence, it asks whether human beings are free to behave as they wish or whether their actions are determined in advance. In its modern incarnation, this venerable debate is couched in terms of molecular genetics. Is our behavior determined by our genes, or is every human being shaped exclusively by his or her environment? For most of the middle part of this century, Americans had an almost religious faith in the second of these choices.

Remember the Superconducting Supercollider? The SSC was supposed to be the next step in the quest to discover the ultimate nature of matter, a quest that began 2,000 years ago with the Greeks. In the largest high-tech construction program ever attempted, the SSC was going to occupy a fifty-two-mile circular tunnel under the plains south of Dallas. Unfortunately, Congress cut off funding for the project in 1993, and today the fourteen miles of completed tunnel are slowly filling with water, a monument to America's inability to focus on long-term goals.

The first question you should ask when you see the results of a simulation is how well the system in the computer matches the system in the real world. In the lingo of simulators, this is called validation of the model. The best validation is to apply the simulation to a situation where you already know the answer. You could, for example, feed in climate data from one hundred years ago and see if the GCM predicts the present climate. The fact that GCMs can't do this is one reason I take their predictions with a grain of salt.

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