Learning to Teach Yourself

I’ve always liked teaching others. I enjoy being able to connect with students, understand their struggles, and offer what I know as a way to help them make sense of a concept. My particular subjects of interest are mathematics and physics, but the real joy I get from teaching is simply being able to help others. Teaching has a fairly good reputation. It’s seen as a respectable profession. I don’t doubt that teachers do important…

Continue reading


Glimpsing Connections

Learning a new subject in mathematics is always interesting. You learn new techniques to analyze problems and get to investigate the relationships between objects. Whether you’re learning about probability, algebra, geometry, or any other field, you will do these two things. The idea is to expand your toolbox to apply to various mathematical problems. That’s fine, but it’s not the reason that I enjoy mathematics. For me, it comes from a slightly different place. The…

Continue reading


Defaults

Think about the actions that make up your day. It can be a bit terrifying to realize how little of it is conscious. A huge chunk of your daily actions are performed on autopilot. You don’t even think about them at all. For example, how many actions does it take in the morning before you do diverge from your daily defaults? My guess is that the number is shockingly high. That’s because our morning routine…

Continue reading


Carrying

It’s tempting to think that the key to making amazing work is to focus on one thing forever, never deviating from the path. We see examples of this all the time: the athlete that practiced their particular sport for decades, the writer who improves their craft in a very specific area and becomes known for that type of writing, the artist who captures a certain niche of the market and remains with that work, or…

Continue reading


Academic And Life Plans

If you’re a student, you know that your immediate future is more or less planned out for you. Sure, there’s a little bit of freedom in what you do, but most of your life is already set. When you’re in elementary school, the plan is to then go to secondary school. When you’re in secondary school, the plan is often to continue on in higher education. But when you’re in university though, things begin to…

Continue reading


Kindness Is Inexpensive

You might be having a bad day, or you are tired and just want to curl on your bed with a good book and escape reality. Perhaps you feel like you were taking advantage of, or slighted in some way by a person who didn’t even acknowledge you. All of these are unfortunate situations. And still, it’s good to keep being kind. Sure, it takes a bit of emotional investment to be kind to others,…

Continue reading


Principles of biological computation: from circadian clock to evolution

For the final — third — day of the Santa Fe Institute workshop on “What is Biological Computation?” (11 – 13 September) organized by Albert Kao, Jessica Flack, and David Wolpert, we opened the floor to short impormptu talks from all the participants. The result was 21 presentations organized in 4 sessions. As with my posts on the previous two days of this workshop (Day 1: Elements of biological computation & stochastic thermodynamics of life;…

Continue reading


Getting to the Essence

I’ve often thought about why I enjoy mathematics, physics, and then comics. The first two go together quite naturally. We aren’t surprised when someone who likes mathematics also has an interest in physics. The two are practically overlapping. But comics? Comics seem like a whole different story. They’re funny, artistic, and rarely have anything to do with mathematics or physics. It would be reasonable to think that comics are the odd one out. However, I…

Continue reading


Ice sheet melting: it’s not just about sea level rise

Originally published at The Science Breaker Climate change is causing the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets to melt, which releases cold, fresh meltwater into the nearby ocean. This meltwater causes sea level rise, but a lesser-known side effect is the disruption of deep ocean currents and climate patterns worldwide. Our modelling study investigated these processes. You’ve probably heard that climate change is melting the polar ice caps – but what does this actually mean? It…

Continue reading


Understanding Is Hard-Won

When I first started my undergraduate degree in physics, I would get frustrated when I couldn’t understand a concept. This happened when I worked as an undergraduate research assistant with little previous knowledge about the subject. I suddenly had to start learning about more advanced ideas like tensors and general relativity, which were topics I hadn’t ever studied before. At the same time, I had to learn this largely on my own, since there weren’t…

Continue reading