Monday, August 2, 2021

Remembering Steven Weinberg

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Society, Nature of Science, History of Science 

Ed Hessler

Theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg died July 23, 2021, at the age of 88. He, with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Lee Glashow, received the 1979 Nobel Prize in physics.

Science writer and former particle physicist, Graham Farmelo, who knew Weinberg, wrote a splendid obituary which provides a lovely and full view of Weinberg's life and also about him as a person. It also provides some history of science and insights into the nature of science from the point-of-view of theoretical physics.

I add one of Weinberg's most read short essays written for the journal Nature in 2003. Weinberg described four lessons particularly for young theoretical physicists but also for budding scientists generally. They are here, in brief bullet points.

--No one knows everything and you don't have to.

--Aim for rough water in your choice of projects.

--Forgive yourself for wasting time.

--Learn some history of science.

The essay rounds each of them tells why each of them were important to Weinberg and why he thought they would be useful to those at the beginning of their careers.

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