Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Rene Descartes

John:  Today we are talking about a transitional figure: Rene Descartes. Maggie:  Wait… Descartes?  I thought he was a philosopher, not an astronomer.  John:  Well…  That is technically correct, but he did some great work in geometry and physics that affected the way we look at the universe.  Maggie:  Can you give me a thousand-foot … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Rene Descartes

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Galileo Galilei

John:  Let’s turn back to science this month, okay? Maggie: Perfect.  I was just thinking the same thing.  Last time we discussed science we covered Kepler, the mathematical genius.  Who’s next? John:  Galileo Galilei. Maggie:  The telescope guy? John:  Yes, that is one way of putting it.  He is the telescope guy.  He is also famous … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Galileo Galilei

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Advice to a 2020 graduate

Maggie:  What are we talking about today? John:  Well…  You are about to graduate, right? Maggie:  Sure am.  Why? John:  You are entering an exciting time in your life. But it is also a paradigm shifting moment where you are moving from dependence to independence. Maggie:  I like the way you put that: paradigm shifting. It is … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Advice to a 2020 graduate

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Helping our friends who are suffering from depression

Maggie:  I want to talk about depression today.  Is that okay? John:  Sure.  But is there a specific reason this topic has come up? Maggie:  Are you asking if I am depressed? John:  A little bit.  Just wondering if this is a personal topic or a topic relating to your friends? Maggie:  It may be … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Helping our friends who are suffering from depression

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Talking about COVID-19 with Our Teens

Maggie:  Can we talk about a few things that have been taking up most of the space in my brain lately? John: Sure.  How do you want to approach these topics?  Maggie:  I don’t know what you mean. John:  Do you want to talk about them together, in a freewheeling discussion?  Or do you want to … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Talking about COVID-19 with Our Teens

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Johannes Kepler

John:  Let’s slow our walk down just a bit.  I am getting older and I will never be able to talk about Johannes Kepler if we continue at this speed. Maggie:  No worries (slowing her pace).  Is that better? John:  Yes, thanks.  Maggie:  So on to Kepler.  John:  I know these are just boring facts, … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Johannes Kepler

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Tycho Brahe

Maggie:  Who are we talking about today? John: A great astronomer named Tycho Brahe.  Before we discuss his theories, though, we need to recall a point from an earlier discussion about the development of science. Maggie: I know, I know.  Scientists build on the ideas of previous scientists, and that is how science grows and develops.  So, … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Tycho Brahe

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Copernicus and the Revival of Astronomy

Maggie: We are discussing Copernicus today, right? John: Yes. But first we need to talk about the medieval background that gave rise to Copernicus.   The Medieval Background Maggie: I thought that astronomy died after Ptolemy. John: That is not exactly correct. Astronomy did not advance as a science in the western world until Copernicus, … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Copernicus and the Revival of Astronomy

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Discriminating Against Genetically Diverse People

Wrestling with a Difficult Topic  John: I want to change our topic for this discussion. Maggie: We’re not going to talk about the history of astronomy? John: We will get back to it. But today I want talk about genetic diversity. Maggie: You know it’s hard for me to discuss this. John: I know, and … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Discriminating Against Genetically Diverse People

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Astronomy in the Hellenistic Era

Maggie:  If I remember right, today we are talking about astronomy in the Hellenistic Era. John:  Right. Defining the Hellenistic Era Maggie:  First, can you tell me what you mean by the term Hellenistic? John:  Well, I think I can manage that.  Are you familiar with  Alexander the Great? Maggie:  Sure.  You used to talk … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Astronomy in the Hellenistic Era

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Ancient Greek Astronomy

Maggie:  What time period are we discussing today in our continuing conversation about the history of astronomy? John:  Wow, that is a very formal question. Maggie:  I am trying to provide a good introduction for the blog.  What do you think? John:  It’s wonderful.  And to answer your question, we are discussing ancient Greek astronomy. We … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Ancient Greek Astronomy

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Astronomy in Its Earliest Years

Maggie:  Let’s continue our discussion of astronomy.  Maybe we could do a review of the history of astronomy? John:  I like that idea.  Science is a lot more fun when we understand its history.  Where do you want to start? Maggie:  Let’s start at the beginning and work forward to Hawking. John:  Okay, we will … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Astronomy in Its Earliest Years

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Stephen Hawking, part 4

John:  This is our last discussion about Stephen Hawking. Maggie:  What topics are we covering? A Unified Theory John:  Hawking’s big dream was to come up with a unified theory that combined Einstein’s theory of general relativity and quantum theory.  I thought we would discuss this. Maggie:  Sure, no problem.  I know all about that … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Stephen Hawking, part 4

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Stephen Hawking, part 3

John:  So let’s continue with our discussion of Hawking.  Specifically, let’s look at his contributions to the big bang theory. Maggie:  That is such a great show! John:  Not the sitcom…  I want to discuss the actual theory. Maggie:  I know.  I was just being funny.  But come on, how good is Jim Parsons as … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Stephen Hawking, part 3

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Stephen Hawking, part 2

Maggie: In our last conversation we talked about Stephen Hawking’s career and personal life. Can you tell me about his science now? John:  Yes.  But why don’t we begin with a few background ideas that we will need to know in order to understand his theories? Maggie: Okay.  Where shall we begin? Changes in Scientific Theories John:  The … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Stephen Hawking, part 2

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Stephen Hawking, part 1

Maggie:  Why don’t we talk about something you are interested in for the next few blog posts?  John:  Thanks for thinking of me and my interests. But is there anything I am working on that also sparks your interests? Maggie:  You are always reading about Stephen Hawking and I would like to know more about him.  And … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Stephen Hawking, part 1

Maggie and Me (A Philosophical Dialogue): Judging Ourselves and Feeling Stupid

John: If you recall, we are responding to your comment that you feel stupid lately. Maggie: Yes, I remember.  And this is the third and last blog post in this series, addressing my statement. John:  And here we will be addressing how you arrived at your conclusion by looking at your reasoning processes. Maggie: Okay.  Where do you … Continue reading Maggie and Me (A Philosophical Dialogue): Judging Ourselves and Feeling Stupid

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On the Different Types of Knowing

Maggie:  We need to continue our discussion about intelligence and feeling stupid.  If you recall, we initially concluded that intelligence is a good-for-other-things.  That means that it is not a good-in-itself, but is used to obtain other good things. John:  I remember.  And nice summary! Maggie:  Next, we were going to address the idea that … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On the Different Types of Knowing