Chemists: Strangers to Fiction
"Perhaps it is the pile of grading on my desk or the endless round of meetings on my calendar that is fueling my escapist fantasy, but every time I pass Selby’s office, I imagine the door is a portal and if I were to walk through, I’d find myself in a habitat on Mars, its pumps working hard to compress the thin atmosphere...
[Then] the dearth of literature that specifically explores chemical themes is as problematic as the shortage of philosophy of chemistry. We are missing chances to inspire new students and to make our case for new science with the public. If we are not willing to think into the future, to imagine what might come next, even when we can’t see a clear path to getting there, we risk becoming walled into our own field unable to see bridges to the grandoverarching questions that our work raises in the broader context of science. This is work that demands a certain level of comfort with asking ‘What if?’ and ‘What next?’ in the absence of firm data and precedent."
Read the rest at Nature Chemistry
When quantum mechanics meets the Spiritual Exercises:
“'Imagine,' I say. Imagine that you are ascending a staircase, can you choose any height, or does gravity hold you to certain positions in space? Put yourselves into an atom, feel the tug of the other electrons and the nucleus wax and wane. Wend your way through five pages of math, and then tell me what color you think flamingos should be. 'It helps, says Sufi mystic Rabi’a in a poem about contemplation, 'putting my hands on a pot, on a broom, in a wash pail.' It helps, I suspect, to think of flamingos when faced with equations.
...each time I say to students, 'Feel the forces,' and each time I encourage them to contemplate data that defies common sense, I hear for a moment the instructions of my director during the [Spiritual] Exercises to put myself into the contemplations..."
Read the rest at DotMagis.
Walking through the doors of mercy
"I am sunburnt. My feet hurt. The last 900 meters of this two days of pilgrimage is straight up the side of a volcanic crater. One step at a time, I remind myself. Which is, of course, how all pilgrimages begin and end. With one step.
I am in Rome, where pilgrims have come for centuries, and with the Jubilee of Mercy, I am one of many pilgrims making their way to the city today... "
Read the rest at CatholicPhilly.