TITLE: On Making Things Up AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: June 12, 2005 5:06 PM DESC: A light quote for the weekend -- on the fact that we scientists live every bit as much in the world of make-believe as artists. ----- BODY: As I think I've mentioned here before, I am a big fan of Electron Blue, a blog written by a professional artist who has taken up the study of physics in middle age. Her essays offer insights into the mind of an artist as it comes into contact with the abstractions of physics and math. Sometimes, the two mindsets are quite different, and others they are surprisingly in tune. I just loved this line, taken from an essay on some of the similarities between a creator's mind and a theoretical scientists:
When I read stuff about dark energy and string theory and other theoretical explorations, I sometimes have to laugh, and then I say, "And you scientists think that we artists make things up!"
Anyone who has done graduate research in the sciences knows how much of theory making is really story telling. We in computer science, despite working with ethereal computation as our reality, are perhaps not quite so make-believe as our friends in physics, whose efforts to explain the workings of the physical world long ago escaped the range of our senses. Then again, I'm sure some people look at XP and think, "It's better to program in pairs? It's better to write code with duplication and then 'refactor'? Ri-i-i-i-ght." What a story! -----