recentpopularlog in

jerryking : physicists   13

Harold Brown, Defense Secretary in Carter Administration, Dies at 91
Jan. 5, 2019 | The New York Times | By Robert D. McFadden.

Harold Brown, a brilliant scientist who helped develop America’s nuclear arsenal and negotiate its first strategic arms control treaty, and who was President Jimmy Carter’s secretary of defense in an era of rising Soviet challenges, died on Friday at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. He was 91.....As defense secretary from 1977 to 1981, Mr. Brown presided over the most formidable power in history: legions of intercontinental ballistic missiles and fleets of world-ranging bombers and nuclear submarines, with enough warheads to wipe out Soviet society many times over......In retrospect, experts say, the Carter administration and Mr. Brown maintained the strategic balance, countering Soviet aircraft and ballistic innovations by improving land-based ICBMs, by upgrading B-52 strategic bombers with low-flying cruise missiles and by deploying far more submarine-launched missiles tipped with MIRVs, or multiple warheads that split into independent trajectories to hit many targets......By the time he joined the Carter administration, Mr. Brown had played important roles in the defense establishment for two decades — in nuclear weapons research, in development of Polaris missiles, in directing the Pentagon’s multibillion-dollar weapons research program, and in helping to plot strategy for the Vietnam War as secretary of the Air Force.....He had been a protégé of Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb, and his successor as head of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California. He had been president of the California Institute of Technology; had worked for Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon; and had been a delegate to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I). As the first scientist to become defense secretary, Mr. Brown knew the technological complexities of modern warfare. He began the development of “stealth” aircraft, with low profiles on radar. He accelerated the Trident submarine program and the conversion of older Poseidon subs to carry MIRVs. And, with an eye on cost-effectiveness, he and President Carter halted the B-1 bomber as a successor to the B-52. Mr. Brown laid the groundwork for talks that produced the Camp David accords, mediated by Mr. Carter and signed in 1978 by President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel. ......In 1980, Mr. Brown helped plan a mission to rescue American hostages held by Iranians who seized the American Embassy in Tehran in November 1979.......Harold Brown was born in New York City on Sept. 19, 1927, the only son of Abraham Brown, a lawyer, and Gertrude Cohen Brown. From childhood he was considered a genius. At 15, he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science with a 99.52 average. At Columbia University, he studied physics and earned three degrees — a bachelor’s in only two years, graduating in 1945 with highest honors; a master’s in 1946; and a doctorate in 1949, when he was 21.....From 1961 to 1965, he was director of defense research and engineering, the Pentagon’s third-ranking civilian, responsible for weapons development, and one of Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara’s “whiz kids.” He was the Air Force secretary from 1965 to 1969, and over the next eight years he was president of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

After leaving the Pentagon in 1981, Mr. Brown taught at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University for several years, and from 1984 to 1992 he was chairman of the school’s foreign policy institute.

Since 1990, he had been a partner at Warburg Pincus, the New York investment firm.
'60s  '70s  Caltech  Colleges_&_Universities  Jimmy_Carter  leadership  obituaries  Pentagon  physicists  SAIS  SecDef  security_&_intelligence  the_best_and_brightest  Vietnam_War  whiz_kids  Cold_War  public_servants 
january 2019 by jerryking
How Nature Scales Up
June 23, 2017 | WSJ | By Charles C. Mann

Review of SCALE By Geoffrey West; Penguin Press, 479 pages, $30
books  book_reviews  scaling  physicists  growth  innovation  sustainability  cities  economics  business  linearity  efficiencies  economies_of_scale  sublinearity  massive_data_sets  natural_selection  powerlaw 
june 2017 by jerryking
Review: How Laws of Physics Govern Growth in Business and in Cities
MAY 26, 2017 | The New York Times | By JONATHAN A. KNEE

Book review of “Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies” (Penguin), by Geoffrey West, a theoretical physicist.....Mr. West’s core argument is that the basic mathematical laws of physics governing growth in the physical world apply equally to biological, political and corporate organisms.....The central observation of “Scale” is that a wide variety of complex systems respond similarly to increases in size. Mr. West demonstrates that these similarities reflect the structural nature of the networks that undergird these systems. The book identifies three core common characteristics of the hierarchal networks that deliver energy to these organisms — whether the diverse circulatory systems that power all forms of animal life or the water and electrical networks that power cities. First, the networks are “space filling” — that is, they service the entire organism. Second, the terminal units are largely identical, whether they are the capillaries in our bodies or the faucets and electrical outlets in our homes. Third, a kind of natural selection process operates within these networks so that they are optimized......These shared network qualities explain why when an organism doubles in size, an astonishing range of characteristics, from food consumption to general metabolic rate, grow something less than twice as fast — they scale “sublinearly.” What’s more, “Scale” shows why the precise mathematical factor by which these efficiencies manifest themselves almost always relate to “the magic No. 4.”

Mr. West also provides an elegant explanation of why living organisms have a natural limit to growth and life span following a predictable curve, as an increasing proportion of energy consumed is required for maintenance and less is available to fuel further expansion.

....Despite his reliance on the analysis of huge troves of data to develop and support his theories, in the concluding chapters, Mr. West makes a compelling argument against the “arrogance and narcissism” reflected in the growing fetishization of “big data” in itself. “Data for data’s sake,” he argues, “or the mindless gathering of big data, without any conceptual framework for organizing and understanding it, may actually be bad or even dangerous.”
books  book_reviews  business  cities  economics  efficiencies  economies_of_scale  growth  innovation  Jonathan_Knee  linearity  massive_data_sets  metabolic_rate  natural_selection  physical_world  physics  physicists  powerlaw  scaling  selection_processes  sublinearity  sustainability 
may 2017 by jerryking
Perimeter Institute's formula for a calculated physics reboot - The Globe and Mail
IVAN SEMENIUK
WATERLOO, ONT. — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2015

“We want to reboot physics – globally,” says Neil Turok, Perimeter’s director and the driving force behind Convergence, a four-day physics summit that kicked off here on Sunday. Turok wants to channel the daring originality of the likes of: (a) Albert Einstein’s radical rethinking of gravity that gave us warped space and black holes; and (b), Emmy Noether’s first theorem, a tour de force of abstract reasoning that demonstrates the relationship between forms of symmetry in mathematics and the physical laws that govern the way the universe operates-- to help spark a another revolution.

The meeting’s premise is that theoretical physics has worked itself into the tall weeds, getting more complex and less connected to experiment than it ought to be. To get back out, Dr. Turok says, the field needs ideas as rich and startling as those that came from Einstein, Noether and their peers....The challenge in working with such individuals, says James Forrest, who runs the institute’s academic programs, is “how do you teach physics to the people who are already good at it?” It’s a dilemma universities seldom worry about – but for Perimeter, which aims to optimize the randomness of human brilliance, the question is crucial.

Another way in which the institute has tried to leverage the global talent pool is to bring in more female researchers. Women are conspicuously underrepresented in physics but through a funding stream called the Emmy Noether Circle the institute has significantly boosted its share of young women theorists.
Albert_Einstein  Perimeter_Institute  physics  Colleges_&_Universities  rebuilding  revitalization  reboot  physicists  women  Kitchener-Waterloo  randomness  talent_pools 
june 2015 by jerryking
Olaf Olafsson, ‘Restoration’ Author and Time Warner Manager - NYTimes.com
March 5, 2012 | NYT | By DAVID CARR.

Profiles Olaf Olafsson, executive vice president for international and corporate strategy at Time Warner who has also written four books in the past 12 years. His work is characterized by meticulous attention to place and historical events....Born in Reykjavik and the son of a novelist, Mr. Olafsson came to the United States to study at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, graduating with a degree in physics. He eventually ended up working at Sony, where he founded Sony Interactive Entertainment in 1991 and led the rollout of the Sony PlayStation in the United States and Europe. At Time Warner he is a strategic adviser on digital and international matters and oversees a $500 million investment fund for new ventures...“Restoration” is an ambitious historical novel, “Absolution,” “The Journey Home” and “Walking into Night”
writers  David_Carr  Iceland  rollouts  executive_management  novels  books  historical_fiction  physicists 
march 2012 by jerryking
Take the Subway - NYTimes.com
March 3, 2012 | NYT | By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN.

Two recent, smart books. The first is called “The Sixth Wave: How to Succeed in a Resource Limited World,” by James Bradfield Moody and Bianca Nogrady. Moody, who works at Australia’s national research agency, and Nogrady, a science journalist, argue that, since the industrial revolution, we’ve seen five long waves of innovation — from water power to steam to electrification to mass production and right up to information and communications technologies. They argue the sixth wave will be resource efficiency — because rising populations, with growing appetites, will lead to both increasing scarcity of resources and dangerously high pollution, waste and climate change.

This will force us to decouple consumption from economic growth.

Amory Lovins, the physicist who is chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute, begins in his new book, “Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era,” which is summarized in the current Foreign Affairs. The Rocky Mountain Institute and its business collaborators show how private enterprise — motivated by profit, supported by smart policy — can lead America off both oil and coal by 2050, saving $5 trillion, through innovation emphasizing design and strategy.

“You don’t have to believe in climate change to solve it,” says Lovins. “Everything we do to raise energy efficiency will make money, improve security and health, and stabilize climate.”
Amory_Lovins  books  climate_change  constraints  economic_growth  electric_power  energy  energy_efficiency  Moscow  physicists  pollution  resource_efficiency  scarcity  steam_engine  sustainability  Tom_Friedman  waste  water_power 
march 2012 by jerryking
Physicist Makes 'Big Bang' at Citi - WSJ.com
OCTOBER 6, 2009 | WSJ | By DENNIS NISHI.

Hamid Biglari went from physics to finance. Now, he's helping lead efforts to revive Citigroup Inc...."I've always believed the best time to reinvent yourself is when you're on a high note as opposed to when in decline," he says. "Your options are larger that way."
...After a fourth-quarter 2008 loss of $8.3 billion, Citigroup moved to split into two different entities: Citicorp would handle the retail banking and investment operations while Citi Holdings would have the riskier "noncore" assets. Mr. Pandit named Dr. Biglari vice chairman in charge of strategy and resource allocation for Citicorp. Dr. Biglari had already spent the past year restructuring the securities and banking side of the business. He says he is now working with Mr. Pandit to reframe the company.The pressure has been intense, but Dr. Biglari feels he is in the job that he has been working for since leaving physics.
Citigroup  Second_Acts  Iranians  Robert_Rubin  physicists  finance  McKinsey  Managing_Your_Career  reinvention  options  reframing  resource_allocation  generating_strategic_options 
october 2011 by jerryking
It's good to be smart
Nov 30, 2010 |The Globe and Mail. pg. A.24 | editorial.

It may be 20 years, or 50, before there is a direct payoff from the BMO Sir Isaac Newton Chair in Theoretical Physics at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ont. Or from similar chairs to be named after Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Paul Dirac and James Clerk Maxwell. But the chairs are a wise investment that deserve emulating in other institutions in Canada.

It is not easy to be forward-looking in difficult times, but now is actually an excellent time to be investing in long-range projects that expand our intellectual capital. Why now? Because while other countries are hamstrung by economic problems, Canada is in decent enough shape to get a jump on attracting talent and stimulating innovation. In a borderless world economy, the value in becoming a magnet for scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs is immeasurable.

Abstract (Summary) Theoretical physics (the description of natural
phenomena in mathematical form) may seem like knowledge for knowledge's
sake. It is anything but, as Mike Lazaridis, the founder and co-chief
executive officer of the BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion Ltd., tells
it. The "next generation of value" will be intellectual capital, rather
than natural resources, he says.
Blackberry  BMO  borderless  broad-based_scientific_enquiry  editorials  endowments  forward_looking  hard_times  intellectual_capital  knowledge  Mike_Lazaridis  natural_resources  Perimeter_Institute  physics  physicists  RIM 
april 2011 by jerryking
Address by Mike Lazaridis, PI Board Chair, to the Public Policy Forum - Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
April 2, 2009 | Address by Mike Lazaridis, PI Board Chair, to the Public Policy Forum

First Principles: The Crazy Business of Doing Serious Science (Paperback)
by Howard Burton (Author) . It's an account of how the Perimeter Institute was built from scratch.

This year’s testimonial dinner was held on April 2, 2009, and honoured several Canadian leaders, including Mike Lazaridis, Founder and Board Chair of Perimeter Institute, who conveyed the importance of long-term thinking by those involved with shaping policy relating to science and technology. The following text, building on those remarks as reported by the national media, shares the messages provided to the PPF.
+++++++++++++++

So imagine this story. A granting council has been tasked with driving the economy, really building commerce and commercializing technology and doing important things for the country. And so, of course, what are they thinking? They’re thinking we need more horses, we need better ways to clean up the streets, and we need to figure out ways to build better stagecoaches and carriages. Now this physicist comes into the room and he sits down. And they ask him, "Dr. Einstein, why are you here?" He says, "Oh, I’d like to have an office and a stipend." "For what?" they want to know. So he explains, "Well, I need a desk and blackboard and maybe a shelf for my books and my papers. And I need a small stipend, so I can go to a few scientific conferences around the world and have a few postdoctoral researchers." They ask, "Why?" And he says: "Well, I have these ideas about light and it’s very complicated, but light can …" And the council members start wondering, "What’s that got to do with horses?"

So, that gentleman actually had to go and get a day job. He went to work at a patent office, where he came up with, a few years later, the four most important papers of all time. Ideas that transformed everything we knew and put mankind in a new direction. He came up with one of the basic ideas leading to quantum technology, when he predicted the quantum properties of light, explaining an observation called the photo-electric effect. He came up with special relativity, a new understanding of space and time. He also discovered that mass and energy are the same thing at a fundamental level. By thinking and calculating the way he did, he came up with E=mc2, the most famous equation of all time. These discoveries, over time, led to nuclear energy, semiconductors, computers, lasers, medical imaging, DVDs and much more. The powerful ideas happened from pure thought and research by someone who basically would have had to give up a comfortable salary at the patent office to take a research or teaching position at a university.

Now let’s fast-forward to today. We have all these issues. We’re running out of energy any way you slice it. And the energy sources that we have today are changing our climate and the environment catastrophically and irreparably. At the same time, we have this enormous need for value creation because our financial system basically ran onto a coral reef. We’re taking on debt to try to get ourselves off the reef, and there’s all this need for value creation and innovation. It’s kind of staring us in the face.

We only have to flashback to that gentleman thinking about light to realize that we need to fund our scientists and our researchers and our students. We not only need to fund them imaginatively, we need to have faith that what they are doing is going to be important in 20, 30, 40 or 50 years from now, and that we haven’t got a chance of understanding its relevance today.

And so we need to be very careful with policy, not to try to put everything in short-term context – not to try to figure out how something is only relevant today – because, if we do, we will make a mistake. We will go the wrong way. We will be investing in horses, carriages, and cleaning manure in the streets instead of fostering the research that can give rise to an idea or super technology that’s going to change the world.

Right now, there is some pandemonium in physics because we are running up against some paradoxes and some data that don’t make any sense. For example, Moore’s Law, which describes the miniaturization of computer chips, will reach its limit in 10 years. Everything we built our telecommunications industry and information age on is going to hit this limit, if we don’t find a new base. We need a new discovery. It’s going to happen, and we need to put major investments in these esoteric studies like quantum computing, quantum information science, quantum gravity, string theory and other areas, because I can guarantee you that one of the discoveries that will emerge is going to solve one of those scientific paradoxes and make sense of that weird data. And when that happens, 20 or 30 years from now, you won’t recognize things.
Albert_Einstein  Blackberry  books  broad-based_scientific_enquiry  first_principle  fundamental_discoveries  Mike_Lazaridis  miniaturization  Moore's_Law  paradoxes  Perimeter_Institute  physicists  public_policy  quantum_computing  RIM  semiconductors 
april 2009 by jerryking
The Civil Heretic - Freeman Dyson - Profile - NYTimes.com
March 25, 2009 | New York Times | By NICHOLAS DAWIDOFF. Profile of public intellectual, Freeman Dyson.
heretical  profile  physicists  critical_thinking  unconventional_thinking 
april 2009 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read