Tuesday, December 04, 2007

10 Big Ideas...

Clive Cooksons of the Financial Times wrote a terrific piece titled Numbers + Symbols = Confusion or "The 10 big ideas we should all understand."

They are: (Comments are my own)

1. Evolution - Darwin has it right & Cookson's definition is one of the best that's out there.
2. Genes & DNA - 20,000 genes fit inside 46 chromosomes to make up the human genome
3. Big Bang - Researchers are pretty sure about this but how it happened is still up for grabs. Dark matter, dark energy, M-Theory, Quantum Loop Gravity etc., etc., etc.
4. Relativity - "What's it like to ride on a beam of light?" - Einstein
5. Quantum Mechanics - "Anyone who says he understands quantum mechanics, doesn't." - Richard Feyman
6. Radiation - It's everywhere including nukes
7. Atoms & Nuclear Reactions - Atoms are the building blocks of chemistry and there's two kind of nuclear reaction - fission/splitting atoms and fusion/fusing them. i.e. nuclear power plants, - fission, the sun - fusion
8. Molecules & Chemical Reactions - Molecules consist of atoms (H20), chemical reactions involve changes in energy. Organic chemistry includes carbon as a component.
9. Digital Data - All computers do is count by twos (binary/0&1). Because of this, information can be stored, processed and distributed as needs warrant.
10. Statistical Significance - The ability to ferret out meaningful information from a mountain of data. In most cases, it involves determining the relationship of two or more different skeins of data used in scientific experiments, examaning ongoing business trends like the Stock Market or searching for information via Google.

Any Questions? If not, go to Cookson's article, it's a good read.
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