Archive for the ‘General Stuff’ Category

Imagination is more important than knowledge,” said Einstein.

What did he mean by that, exactly? Is knowledge not important? Not at all! He just said that IMAGINATION is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is, by definition, stuff we know already. Imagination is what we use to IMPROVE existing knowledge and find out NEW things.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein


How does one go about gaining imagination? That is where fantasy and science fiction come in. Just as one would OBSERVE great athletes to pick up their tricks and methods of playing a game well, it helps to read books and watch movies that are imaginative to INCREASE your own imagination.

Besides, science fiction and fantasy are a great INSPIRATION for new knowledge and technology. Fairytale mirrors that allow one person to talk to another who is far away is like the video phones that exist today. People traveled into space in books long before they went there for real.

Side story.

I used to participate in a forum where “experts” (people who were familiar the subject) would answer physics questions posed by visitors. One expert’s profile stated that he had read all of the science book authored by a particular scientist and none of his science fiction work. While his answers to questions were correct; in my opinion, they were hard for a person to understand without already being familiar with the subject.

I believe a healthy imagination also helps you to communicate with others more effectively because it allows express your thoughts in various ways that different people would be able to understand. Read books, and make sure some of them are fantasy and science fiction to improve your imagination. If you have a favorite science fiction or fantasy book, please share with the rest of us by posting their titles and authors in the comments section.

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If you do not believe that robots will eliminate most future jobs or that the President gives good advice about the need for a good education, here is something else to consider about education.

A good education gives you OPTIONS! It exposes you to the POSSIBILITIES of the world.

Example

Suppose you had never heard about or played a video game. You might not realize just how much fun they can be. (If you do not like playing video games, pretend for a while that you do.) In order to realize for yourself whether you might or might not enjoy video games, you have to be exposed to it, either by playing a video game yourself or, at the very least, watching someone else play one.

How does this relate to education? Consider the diagram below. Each concentric circle represents the amount of OPPORTUNITIES available to depending your level of education.

The possibilities available depending on level of education.Options available based on education.

 

If a person is a high school dropout (the inner-most or red circle), the number of options of what that person can do in life is limited to a very few things. If he or she graduates high school, they have a few more options available. It they go to a junior college yet more options are available to them and getting a college degree (outer-most, green circle) brings even MORE opportunities.

People who are in the outer-most circle can do everything in the largest circle as well as any smaller circle. The same is not true for those who are in the smaller circles. They cannot (easily) do what exists in the larger circles.

What if there is something that you really like to do in the smaller circles? Well, how do you know if there isn’t something in the bigger circle that you would not LOVE even more?

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For my work, I sometimes have to travel to conferences and events where we display and handouts (brochures, pamphlets, etc.) I will sit there at a table looking at passersby pausing to take a LOOK at the cool astronomy pictures and the colorful handouts that we have at our table. The problem is that they are sometimes doing it from a distance. They are hesitant (afraid?) to come up and take a closer look.

The fact people stop to take a longer look tells me that they are curious. Why they don’t try to find out more puzzles me.

If I am curious about something, I will try to find out more about it. I may realize it is something I do not like and find interesting but I may also realize it is something even more WONDERFUL than I imagined and enjoy it. I would never know if I do not try to find out more.

So, don’t be shy. Next you go to a science fair or other similar events, if you see something interesting HEAD ON OVER, take a closer LOOK, ASK questions. You just may discover something truly OUTSTANDING.

Note for parents: Children can sometimes be shy about approaching a stranger (rightly so) even if it is in a safe environment like a science conference. Therefore, it is not enough to nudge your child towards something that he or she find interesting. It is your duty as a parent to accompany the child so that they may satisfy their curiosity.

You, the parent, do not have to have interest in the science that is being presented. Walk your child over to the thing he or she finding interesting and tell the presenter so. The presenter will/should then address the child directly and tell him or her about what is being presented and answer any questions the child may have.

Often I see parents pretending to be interested on behalf of their children. The presenter, if they do not pick up on this, will address the parent instead of the child, causing the child to perhaps think that science is not suitable for them, which is a great loss. 

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At least compared to your parents when they were your age. The reason is very simple, there is MORE to know! We know a lot more about our world than we did when you parents were what age you are now. There are also tools for learning that did not exist or was widely available to your parents when they were young.

Tools like the computer, and the INTERNET. You may have realized this yourself. That you know some things about how to use a computer, or the internet or even the TV remote that some adults have a hard time with.

Another evidence of your SMARTNESS is the fact that science and technology continues to advance every year. This would not be possible if we had to learn everything that was known about something and still have time improve it within our lifetimes, even though human life span has increased over the last several decades.

So there, I hope I have shown with these simple examples that you start out pretty smart. Now, the problem becomes staying smart.

Imagine if you were a very good and famous athlete. Would you stay famous and good if you stopped practicing and exercising, and started eating junk food and playing a lot of video games that did not require physical activity?

Staying smart requires exercising your brain, which includes reading, writing, doing homework. Yes, staying smart is a lot of WORK but it is definitely worth it.

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Although I write mostly about science on this site, I think education in general is very IMPORTANT. Why? Because a good education will open you to the possibilities of life. Rather than restricting you to a few options of what you do with your life, education allows you to explore and learn about different things like science, math, music, art, history, etc. to find something you really love and would want to do for the rest of your lives.

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Hi! My name is Kamal. I LOVE science! I always have.

I think it is VERY COOL how nature works, how flowers know when to bloom, and how birds know where to fly to for winter, even though it may be thousands of kilometers away.

01 The Solar System PIA10231, mod02 Image by Image Editor via Flickr

I think it is AWESOME that we are made of stuff that was created inside stars. I think it is WONDERFUL to know that planets exist outside of solar system thousands of lightyears away.  I wonder what life would look like on planets that are able to support it.

I want everyone to know how GREAT science is. I have written a science picture book for children. I have taught science at a high school. Right now, I work for NASA creating educational materials for teachers and students. But, I thought, it is not enough. That is why I created this blog.

If you LOVE science like I do, I hope you will find interesting and useful information here. If you just like science, I hope I can show you why you really should LOVE science! And, if you think that you don’t like science at all (and I don’t think there is anyone in the world who doesn’t like science at all), THANKS for reading this far; I hope to change your mind.

So, I will be posting things I find interesting but I would like to know what you find interesting, too.  Email me and share your thoughts, questions and topics of interest that you want me to discuss in the blog. I will put your name (if you like) with your question, comment or statement with my response and make you famous… at least on this site. 😉

LET’S BEGIN THE JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY!

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