Fourier Analysis is a mathematical tool which can do a number of things: separate out signals from noise; help identify patterns or trends in data; filter out all unwanted data and focus on a single signal; use approximations to make generalizations; make approximations of real world signals (think electronic music); combine harmonics to get a stronger signal. That's what I'll be trying to do here!! Won't you join me with your comments?

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Geeky Gal is Back

I am a geeky gal. (This should be no surprise readers, see my blog title! Read my profile!) So when one of my favorite bloggers came up with the brilliant plan to set aside a day for reading, I was making big plans. You would not believe the stack of books next to my bed. Just a random sample: Micheal Crichton's "Next", "Dublin" by Edward Rutherfurd , "Planet Earth" (companion book to the BBC/Discover series), "Science and Philosophy" by Alfred North Whitehead (1948), and the one I finally settled on "Ideas and Opinions" a collection of writings by Albert Einstein. I chose the latter because it is a collection of his letters and writings on various subjects and I thought I could read sections at a time and not get too caught up. I forgot about my own tendency to obsess about reading anything I pick up cover-to-cover.

However, the best laid plans...etc. So while I have started this book, and even managed to read for a full hour on the appointed day, I am far from finishing. So this is no real book report. And it is heavy going. Not because of the geek stuff, though the latter chapters about his contributions to science do promise to be too much for the layperson. No, what I am most moved by is the realization that such a great mind and gentle soul were almost trapped and snuffed out by the fanaticism and hatred that was Germany in the 1930's and 40's. It is amazing that he got out. It is horrifying to think of the other great minds and talents that did not. It is moving to read his humility when he was already in his lifetime a revered and lauded personality. It is admirable that he still maintained his strong pacifism when so many of his relations, friends and acquaintances perished at the hands of the Nazis.

I am so humbled by his writings. And while I expected this to be the case when it came to his mind, I am surprised that this is also the case with his heart. He writes with tender emotion and such wisdom that I finish a passage in tears and find I have been holding my breath for far too long. So I share with you here, in his honor, some of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein himself:

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."

"As long as there are sovereign nations possessing great power, war is inevitable."

"The Lord God is subtle, but malicious he is not."

"Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves."

"Something deeply hidden had to be behind things."

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."

"I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war."

"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."

"You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war."

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

"A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

"Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it."

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."

"Humiliation and mental oppression by ignorant and selfish teachers wreak havoc in the youthful mind that can never be undone and often exert a baleful influence on later life."

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding."

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

"The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker."

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." (Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton)

And the best one of all, in my humble opinion:

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

You gotta admit, the guy gives you a lot to think about!!

9 comments:

Robin said...

Forget the science, with quotes like that he should have been a public speaker! My favorites:

"I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war."

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." (Love that LOL)

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

And of course the one about universal stupidity.

I think I may adopt one of these as a tagline...

anno said...

What an brilliant collection of quotes! I'm going to be thinking about these for a long time. Some of them -- We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. -- could convince me to get a tattoo.

Flower Child said...

this is great! I especially like the one about counting as it applies oh so perfectly to my work. thanks!

Virtualsprite said...

This is exactly what I needed to read today. I love Albert Einstein and I am so impressed that you are reading him. Geek or not, you totally rock!

Goofball said...

what a great wise words to share with us!

soccer mom in denial said...

My mouth is open! See what Day to Read inspired. You wouldn't have shared these with us if you hadn't picked up the book in the first place.

I just love these. I may have to lift some for a post or two.

Or nine.

Leslie said...

What inspiring quotes! I am familiar with a few of them, mostly because my father is a fan of Einstein. He has also enjoyed reading about him and loves to pull quotes like that out now and then.

Wholly Burble said...

Oh so many wonderful thoughts, feelings, revelations these quotes impart. I'm really in need of getting the book and reading it for myself. Thanks for sharing these, they're all doozies.

Jenn in Holland said...

Wow. Yous a real smart lady!

Seriously, this was lovely. Thanks for sharing.