Seven Groups of Friends who Changed the World

From yesterday’s TED blog, a fun piece on seven groups of writers/artists/philosophers who transformed their world—and ours.

TED Talk from TED Global 2012

Here’s the TED Talk on the Philosophical Breakfast Club I gave at TED Global 2012. Share!

TED Talk Online Friday!

TED Global 2012 Edinburgh

TED Global 2012 Edinburgh

I’m excited to announce that the video of the talk I gave at the TED Global conference in Edinburgh in June will be available for viewing on the TED website starting Friday morning, at 11 am ET.  I’ll post a link here when the video goes online!

Consilience and Scientific Confirmation

A nice piece on consilience is just out in Philosophy Now magazine.  Written by Toni Vogel Carey, the article highlights the different views of consilience held by Whewell/Herschel on the one hand and E.O. Wilson/Stephen Jay Gould on the other.  Definitely worth a look by anyone interested in scientific confirmation.

Review of Berlinski’s “The King of Infinite Space”

 

Euclid

Euclid

My review of David Berlinski’s The King of Infinite Space: Euclid and His Elements will be in this weekend’s edition of The Wall Street Journal. Just in time for the Oscars, there’s even a movie tie-in:

“One of the more curious historical revelations of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” is that America’s 16th president was obsessed by a Greek mathematician from the fourth century B.C. While traveling from town to town as a young lawyer riding the Eighth Circuit in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln kept a copy of Euclid’s geometrical treatise, “The Elements,” in his saddlebag; his law partner Billy Herndon related that at night Lincoln would lie on the floor reading it by lamplight. Lincoln said he was moved to studyEuclid by his desire to understand what a “demonstration” was, and how it differed from any other kind of argument.”

The entire review can be read here.

 

Review of Three Books on the Birth of Modern Science

Athanasius Kircher’s ‘Mundus Subterraneous’ (1665), shows earth’s ‘central fire’ and underground canals

Athanasius Kircher’s ‘Mundus Subterraneous’ (1665), shows earth’s ‘central fire’ and underground canals

Happy 2013, everyone!

To start off the new year, here’s my latest for the Wall Street Journal: a review of three books that locate the origins of modern scientific practice where we may least expect it—in monks’s cells, magicians’ workshops, and alchemists’ hidden laboratories. Read the review here and in tomorrow’s print edition.

The books are: John Freely’s Before Galileo, John Glassie’s A Man of Misconceptions, and Lawrence Principe’s The Secrets of Alchemy.

“Origin of Species” Published 153 Years Ago Today

In honor of the anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species on November 24, 1859:

Footage of the moth that pollinates Angraecum sesquipedale, a Madagascar orchid, whose existence Darwin predicted 142 years ago. Because the nectar is so far down the neck of this orchid, Darwin knew that there had to be a species of moth with a “tongue” long enough to pollinate it. And now that moth has been found.

This is fascinating! Watch here.

Gift Guide: Science Books

My picks for holiday books about science appeared in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal. You can see which 2012 releases I suggest for gift giving here.

Review of Arianrhod’s “Seduced by Logic”

My newest review for the Wall Street Journal is out in today’s issue. To see what I had to say about Robyn Arianrhod’s Seduced by Logic: Emilie du Chatelet, Mary Somerville, and the Newtonian Revolution, see here.

Watch out on Saturday for my contribution to the Wall Street Journal’s annual Book Gift Guide. And, coming in December, a longer essay on the birth of modern science in the 17th century.

Philosophical Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners . . . and More

 

TED Global 2012 Edinburgh

TED Global 2012 Edinburgh

After I returned from TED Global this summer, I was asked to contribute a piece about my experiences at TED by the magazine Design Mind. It has just come out, and can be read here.