Saturday, May 29, 2010

Just for fun on a rainy day -


  1. Delightful! Bobby McFerrin is coming to Montreal to give an indoor show at the Jazz Festival. I should get off my butt and get a ticket!

    This was about expectation and that is such an issue in science. Expectations colour how one views the results of an experiment. Rutherford had no expectation that the atom would contain a nucleus, but the bizarre results of his experiment with alpha particles and gold foil left him no other conclusion. He could have just tossed out the results and told his grad students to repeat the experiment until they got it "right." As I told my students, assumptions/expectations will kill them every time. You have to be open for surprises.

  2. Thank you. Bobby McFerrin is wonderful.

    Barbara's point about expectation is right on, as is McFerrin's about the universality of "getting" the music scale. A few months ago, I went to a talk in which the head of MIT's MediaLab spoke of research there with "hyperinstruments" for patients with Alzheimer's or other neurological disorders. What's been found is that music is one of the last things the brain loses. Some patients who remember nothing else remember the music to songs heard or sung 50 or more years ago. It's fascinating science, the wiring of the brain for music.

  3. Barbara -

    Your confident professor's voice is so strong and self-assured in this little comment you've left me. Indicative of the internal strength and integrity that you possess.....I don't think you always recognize that in yourself?


  4. Maureen -

    Brain studies, as the one you mentioned in your comment to me, are fascinating. My Mother suffered from Alzheimer's and I was always surprised to hear her sing along, in a church service, with the full content of a hymn's verses when she couldn't even remember her children's names or faces. Our brains - wow - it must be fascinating as well as frustrating for scientists to study the implications of what is "there" that they cannot yet uncover!

    The MediaLab talk that you attended must have been marvelous!