Registered: Mar 2004
Everyday First Time Reactions to NKS
As a junior in high school, with A New Kind of Science in my backpack almost at all times, I have found numerous opprotunities to describe the concepts and applications behind NKS to people who express no apparent prior intrest in such things as cellular automata, randomness, computational irreducibility, and the Principle of Computational Equivalence. In fact, most of the people that I speak to about NKS have had no serious interest in Mathematics in general.
However, I have found that despite this apparent lack of intuition that one may suppose is required for an affinity to mathematics in general, and more specifically the new kind of science that Wolfram describes in NKS, upon opening the book for the first time, sometimes without even prior knowledge as to what the book is about (perhaps not even the front cover as the book is open already), one is immediately interested in what they see.
I must say that I had expected a somewhat positive reaction to A New Kind of Science, as I had reacted very positively upon opening it for the first time. But I did not expect the variety of people, consisting of all types and interests that seem to be attracted to this book.
One might surmise that the consistent reactions that I have received are because of other factors other than the book itself. For example, perhaps my tone of voice, or use of words aid to inspire a person or group that I am talking to. It is my strong suspicision that this is not so. For I have observed (enough) numerous reactions (perhaps, as far as reactions go, 1 every other day or so for the past few months), and the tendency that strikes me most seems to be in relation to my use of words that describe the book versus their own interpretations. As I said above, upon no prompt, when any person looks at A New Kind of Science, they seem to be immediately interested in what they see. What I notice as so interesting is that once I start talking about the contents of the book, the first impression that had sparked their curiosity in the first place seems to fall to the wayside. The more that I speak, the more confused the listener seems to get. Knowing this, I try to avoid taxing dialogue by speaking and answering questions in very general terms, letting the reader come to their own conclusions. This may seem contradictory at first, but I am quite sure that this is a very suprising and effective way to go about explaining abstract concepts to someone with no prior interest. I am thoroughly impressed with the reactions that I have observed.
The reason for me starting this thread is to consolidate experiences of first time, and/or early reactions of NKS, either personal or observational from others. Naturally there is much information on such experiences in these forums. A centralized source of first time and/or early encounters of NKS in general should provide further insight into what non-involved bodies of people such as the general public see the world of NKS. Also, perhaps a clearer understanding of the nature of teaching NKS to an audience can be reached as well.
Last edited by Jesse Nochella on 04-03-2004 at 03:04 PM
Report this post to a moderator | IP: Logged