This week I had the pleasure of attending Stephen Emmott’s presentation at NESTA about the Nature and Necessity of a Scientific Revolution. As a neuroscientist, Stephen is responsible for Microsoft’s Research Lab and certainly asks the right questions that humanity still can’t answer. He also postulates that only scientific thinking integrated with computational experience can help solve this dilemma.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S Kuhn has long been my ‘consolation’, when I asked myself how to ‘come out’.
Stephen Emmott kept referring to ‘models’ vs ‘data’ and hopes for ‘software tools’ as solutions. For me, there is a big difference between
- a theory that is proven by experiments – as is the practice at CERN
- and a concept that is derived from perceiving evidence. That’s how I derived my mathematical insights that led to designing my prototypes with their innovative software methods.
When I see Prof Raymond Flood talk about number theory, the Queen of Mathematics, I am wondering whether to ask him: what would you say if I cracked the problem of prime numbers ages ago? I just decided, not to publish anything. Partly because I had not been paid and wanted to return the money that had been offered on the way by friends and family, partly because I didn’t find a magazine that was general enough to be suitable for an article.
For similar reasons, I could not apply for the prize of the Faber & Faber when they put up a $1,000,000 prize to prove the Goldbach Conjecture.
I remember the patent agent who told me: “you can’t patent a theory, you must patent vendible products.” And after having written and filed five patents, I was advised to withdraw them. For patenting is the game of the big boys, as I since have discovered, mainly through the SME Innovation Alliance.
Man’s Thinking differs from Woman’s Thinking. Scientists’ thinking differs from artists’ thinking. And entrepreneurs’ thinking differs from the thinking of civil servants and academics.
Machines’ processing that follows the thinking of developers translated into code is yet fundamentally different.
To combine the best of both worlds is my contribution:
- the deep analysis of scientific paradigms and assumptions
- the high level conceptualisation to create new ideas and approaches
- the logic of computing applied to systematic investigations of historic teaching
- the innovative quantum leaps of imagination that are necessary for paradigm shifts a la Thomas S Kuhn
- the development of software methods as not only ‘proof of concept’, but also smart knowledge portals for anybody to investigate: numerical data, time series and images.
- This is Google’s proposal for stopping patent trolls and fixing the patent system (dottech.org)
- Is A Historical Narrative Central to the Development of Neuroscience? An Interpretation of Scientific Revolutions – Part 14 (theamazingworldofpsychiatry.wordpress.com)
- On learning from (economic) history – Truths and eternal truths (mostlyeconomics.wordpress.com)
- Karl Popper, the enemy of certainty, part 4: Lakatos, Kuhn and Feyerabend | Liz Williams (guardian.co.uk)
- Stephen Emmott at NESTA (geoffchambers.wordpress.com)
- Philosophical Analysis on Schommer – Aikens & Hutter Article (ivythesis.typepad.com)
- Revolutions that would really change the world! (msarroub.wordpress.com)
- The structure of scientific revolutions (cs.stackexchange.com)
- Ashland film series explores Scientific Revolution Thursday (metrowestdailynews.com)
- Stephen Emmott’s “Ten Billion”: an Extract (geoffchambers.wordpress.com)