Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Isaac Newton, part 2

John:  It’s nice to see you again.  Have I told you recently how much I enjoy our conversations? Maggie:  I enjoy them too.  I like talking about science with you.  You make it easy to understand. John:  I think science should be accessible to everyone.  Sometimes I think science teachers make it hard just to make themselves look smarter. Maggie:  That’s probably … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Isaac Newton, part 2

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Isaac Newton, part 1

Maggie:  Today we’re talking about the king, right? John:  Yes.  Sir Isaac Newton. Maggie:  He’s hard to understand. John:  I agree, he is challenging.  But we will give it a shot.  Maggie:  What’s the topic? John:  Let’s discuss his life.  And then we will tackle his significance to the history of astronomy in our next … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Isaac Newton, part 1

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

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): I Feel So Stupid All the Time

Maggie: I feel so stupid all the time lately. Sometimes I don’t understand what is going on in class, so I just pretend I do. Sometimes I don’t understand the books I read or listen to, so I just skim over those sections. Sometimes I don’t even understand things my friends say, so I just … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): I Feel So Stupid All the Time

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Courage

Maggie: I need to talk about something that makes me feel guilty.  John: Sure.  Why don’t you tell me what’s bothering you. Maggie:  Two of my friends said horrible things about another girl at our school.  This girl’s family doesn’t have a lot of money so she wears the same clothes almost every day.  I was … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): On Courage

Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Is It Ever too Late to Be a Friend?

Maggie: My friend’s mom asked her why she wasn’t a better aunt to her young niece.  My friend thought too much time had passed for her to now get involved in her niece’s life.  And she didn’t think her niece even wanted a friendship at this point, since she doesn’t really know her.  Do you … Continue reading Maggie and Me (a philosophical dialogue): Is It Ever too Late to Be a Friend?