Reading Journal

What I'm reading

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Different Universe, by Robert Laughlin

This was an interesting but ultimately disappointing book about physics. I don't expect to understand physics deeply, but the descriptions he gave were not long enough to help me even get a glimpse of what he was really talking about. He would throw out two paragraphs on some incredibly complex topic, with no diagram, and then continue on his merry way. Huh? I guess my one semester of physics in college didn't quite prepare me for that.

He did include a good quote from Robert Heinlein, a science fiction writer:

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."