Saturday, July 26, 2014

Speed Dating The Universe

At a party a woman once approached Einstein and said: I've been reading your book and there are just a few things that I don't understand. What are line element, tensor, stress-energy, metric and ...".

Einstein's reply: "Oh that's very simple. Those are merely technical terms."

Of course, those pesky technical terms, always cluttering up the intellectual landscape. What we need is the equivalent of speed dating for science, brief little capsules that will give you - and others - the impression that you understand. If you can't boil a big idea down to a brief paragraph, what use is it anyway?

For example, for DNA one might say: The instruction sheets for building plants, animals, and bacteria are written down on long strings of four different chemicals. Every cell starts out with one of these instruction sheets and teams of other chemicals that can read them and translate them into the stuff that makes brains, muscles, bones and skin (for animals) and leaves, branches and roots for plants.

Contributions solicited.