What's Your Favorite Science Theory?

By siliconindia   |   Tuesday, 17 January 2012, 02:32 IST   |    5 Comments
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Professor of cosmology and astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, Martin Rees nominated the "astonishing concept" that what we consider the universe "could be hugely more extensive" than what astronomers observe. If this were to be true the known cosmos would instead "be a tiny part of the aftermath of 'our' big bang, which is itself just one bang among a perhaps-infinite ensemble," wrote Martin. What is more fascinating is that different physics might prevail in these different universes, so that "some of what we call 'laws of nature' may ... be local bylaws."

Vilayanur Ramachandran, Neuroscientist and Professor and Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, San Diego nominated ‘Genes, Claustrum, and Consciousnessas his favorite theory. He writes that the elucidation of DNA's structure is surely the most obvious. He says that the same strategy used to crack the genetic code might prove successful in cracking the "neural code" of consciousness and self. He also said “I believe there are similar correlations between brain structure and mind function, between neurons and consciousness. I am stating the obvious here only because there are some philosophers, called ‘new mysterians,’ who believe the opposite.”

Mahzarin Banaji, Psychologist, Harvard University nominates ‘Bounded Rationality as an Explanation for Many of Our Illsas her favorite theory. She explains that those of us, who attempt to understand the mind, have a unique limitation to confront: the object that is the knower is also the known. “The mind is the thing doing the explaining; the mind is also the thing to be explained.” She says that distance from one's own mind, distance from attachments to the specialness of one's species or tribe, getting away from introspection and intuition (not as hypothesis generators but as answers and explanations) are all especially hard to achieve when what we seek to do is explain our own minds and those of others of our kind. She further explains “The idea that human beings are smart by comparison to other species, but not smart enough by their own standards including behaving in line with basic axioms of rationality is a now a well-honed observation with deep empirical foundation in the form of discoveries in support.”