Earlier Highlights (7)

In October 2005, Mark Alford, Max Tegmark and I finished a paper entitled On Math, Matter, and Mind. This work originated eight years ago as a series of lunch conversations at the Institute for Advanced Study. Since we are three physicists with three very different ways of looking at the world, one should be skeptical whenever a scientist claims that science implies a particular world view.

In September 2005, I held a two-day workshop on Performance and Documentation issues for Simulations in Dense Stellar Systems, titled MODEST-6b. The discussions between astrophysicists and computer scientists started with James Quirk's presentation on literate programming using his Amrita approach.

<- In August 2005, I gave an invited talk on the topic of dense stellar systems as part of the conference A Life with Stars, on the occasion of the 65th birthday of Ed van den Heuvel, who was my thesis advisor when I received my PhD in 1981 from the University of Amsterdam, Holland.

Also in August, I gave the opening talk for the MODEST-6 workshop at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. In the three-year history of the MODEST initiative, this has been the largest meeting so far, with roughly one hundred participants.

Also in August, we made a significant extension to our web site for the Yamaneko project, sponsored by the Kira Institutue, by adding a large number of reports and reactions, accumulated during two years of email dialogues.

<- In July 2005, I had a fascinating visit to Ken Mogi at the Sony Computer Science Laboratories, after first giving a guest lecture at his invitation at Waseda University. See Ken's weblog for a description of our interactions. Ken is known, among many other things, for his qualia manifesto.

Also in July, I was one of the teachers of the N-body Summer School, which was held as the MODEST-5c meeting at the Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek at the University of Amsterdam, Holland. Some fifty students from various countries in Europe and beyond participated in a hands-on computer simulations lab.

<- Also in July, I visited the Okayama Institute for Quantum Physics, a new and active research institute, established last year and funded directly by the Okayama prefecture. After giving a lecture, I had a meeting with the governor of Okayama, Masaharu Ishii , in my function as a member of the advisory committee of OIQP.

In May 2005, when I was asked to respond to the question if you could teach the world just one thing about science, what would you choose and why?, on the spiked web site, I answered that Science, like most human activities, is based upon a belief - namely, the assumption that nature is understandable.