“Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prizes” talk in Singapore

Source: Nanyang Technological University/Singapore, Oct 2014

If you happen to be in Singapore on 31st Oct, 2014 …


Professor Lars Brink
Former Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics
Department of Fundamental Physics,
Chalmers University of Technology

Professor Lars Brink will talk about Alfred Nobel and his founding of the Nobel Prizes, as well as the statutes behind them. He will also give examples from physics on how Alfred Nobel’s will was implemented and finished by Einstein’s Nobel Prize, which was very special from many angles.

Nobel Image

Top US Colleges (ranked by student SAT scores)

Source: Psychology Today, Oct 2014

US Universities ranked by SAT Scores

<click on the image to enlarge>

Walter Isaacson’s Pearls of Wisdom

Source: Louisiana Cultural Vistas website, date indeterminate

I have been interested in creative people. By creative people I don’t mean those who are merely smart. As a journalist, I discovered that there are a lot of smart people in this world. Indeed, they are a dime a dozen, and often they don’t amount to much. What makes someone special is imagination or creativity, the ability to make a mental leap and see things differently. As Einstein noted, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

… another lesson that is useful when travelling in the realms of gold: that poking fun of the pretensions of the elite is more edifying than imitating them.

Steve Jobs: Intersection of Humanities and Technology

Walter Isaacson on his “The Innovators” book: human-computer symbiosis




“The Innovators”: Walter Isaascson

Source: S&S website, Oct 2014

The computer and the Internet are among the most important inventions of our era, …  most of the innovations of the digital age were done collaboratively. There were a lot of fascinating people involved, some ingenious and a few even geniuses. This is the story of these pioneers, hackers, inventors, and entrepreneurs—who they were, how their minds worked, and what made them so creative. It’s also a narrative of how they collaborated and why their ability to work as teams made them even more creative.

The tale of their teamwork is important because we don’t often focus on how central that skill is to innovation. … we have far fewer tales of collaborative creativity, which is actually more important in understanding how today’s technology revolution was fashioned. It can also be more interesting.

  • How did the most imaginative innovators of our time turn disruptive ideas into realities?
  • What ingredients produced their creative leaps?
  • What skills proved most useful? How did they lead and collaborate?
  • Why did some succeed and others fail?

I also explore the social and cultural forces that provide the atmosphere for innovation. For the birth of the digital age, this included a research ecosystem that was nurtured by government spending and managed by a military-industrial-academic collaboration. Intersecting with that was a loose alliance of community organizers, communal-minded hippies, do-it-yourself hobbyists, and homebrew hackers, most of whom were suspicious of centralized authority.

The collaboration that created the digital age was not just among peers but also between generations. Ideas were handed off from one cohort of innovators to the next.
Another theme that emerged from my research was that users repeatedly commandeered digital innovations to create communications and social networking tools. I also became interested in how the quest for artificial intelligence—machines that think on their own—has consistently proved less fruitful than creating ways to forge a partnership or symbiosis between people and machines. In other words, the collaborative creativity that marked the digital age included collaboration between humans and machines.

Finally, I was struck by how the truest creativity of the digital age came from those who were able to connect the arts and sciences. They believed that beauty mattered. “I always thought of myself as a humanities person as a kid, but I liked electronics,” Jobs told me when I embarked on his biography. “Then I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of humanities and sciences, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do.” The people who were comfortable at this humanities-technology intersection helped to create the human-machine symbiosis that is at the core of this story.

MIT Technology Review: What’s Your Problem?

Source: MIT Technology Review, Sep/Oct 2014

35 Innovators Under 35 who can help to Solve Your Problem

MIT Front Cover 2014 Sep Oct









Earning A Nobel Prize Requires Risk Taking

Source: NYTimes, Oct 2014

Martin Perl … was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering a new subatomic particle, one of the building blocks of the universe, …

His colleagues urged caution, his son said, but eventually “he very consciously went out on a limb.”

In recent years, Mr. Perl said, his father traveled in India and Japan lecturing about creativity and his concern that science education was becoming too rigid. He urged students to keep a journal and write down crazy ideas.

“He decided it was better that he stand by what he thought he was seeing, even at the risk of being wrong, than to be afraid to take the leap,” his son said.