Thursday, August 18, 2005

Fermi Questions: quantitative games of meaning

I need to update my Fermi Paradox page with this link:
Fermi Questions / Fermi Problems: '... the estimation of rough but quantitative answers to unexpected questions about many aspects of the natural world. The method was the common and frequently amusing practice of Enrico Fermi, perhaps the most widely creative physicist of our times. Fermi delighted to think up and at once to discuss and to answer questions which drew upon deep understanding of the world, upon everyday experience, and upon the ability to make rough approximations, inspired guesses, and statistical estimates from very little data.' [Philip Morrison [1]]
Incidentally, I've corresponded with Stanlislaw (Stanlislav) Lem, a brilliant author, about the Fermi Pardox. Turns out he doesn't think much of it:
I am afraid Mr. Lem does not consider the Fermi Paradox an important (and particularly serious) issue.

Sincerely yours,

Wojciech Zemek, Mr. Lem's secretary
Hmm. That does give me pause ... I wish he'd say more, but I think that may be his last words on this particular topic ...

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