\(\langle\)Lost in Latin\(^*\rangle\)

The blog of Matthew Fox 

Hello World

01 July 2023

The legendary physicist and teacher Richard Feynman passed away on 15 February 1988—the same day he left the words "What I cannot create, I do not understand" scribbled large and bold on his grimy office blackboard at Caltech. The words mean exactly what they say: if you cannot make bread, then you do not understand how bread is made. Since I first heard them, these words have resonated at high frequency inside my mind, and now they constitute the understructure of my scientific epistemology. Of course, for me (and probably Feynman too) the words come to mind less when baking bread and more when manipulating equations, but it's the same idea: if you cannot derive \(E = mc^2\), then you do not understand \(E = mc^2\). For a while now I've been searching for a place to store all these creations (derivations, discussions, etc.). After a few years of consideration, I eventually landed on this blog, Lost in Latin\(^*\), and now I'm excited to share it with you.

Lost in Latin\(^*\) is a reference to Borges and Stephen Kleene's star operator (common in regex). It is to be my personal outlet and repository for ideas I find interesting and, also, my chance to formulate new ideas in the manner most conducive to my understanding. In this way, I get to create them, which is certainly in the spirit of Feynman's last quote. Along the way, I will post about things that I get up to in life (I've read this is good for one's mental health).

Of course, my intentions with this blog extend well beyond me. I hope others, like you, will find a nonempty subset of the things I say interesting enough that you will go and learn more about them strictly because you're curious. I especially encourage you to summon the intellectual courage to go and learn about those things that you know nothing of. Dare to know, as Kant in his What is Enlightenment? would say. I promise, you will surprise yourself, and you will help enlighten our world.

I intend to post quasi-weekly, where "quasi" means "plus or minus an unquantifiable degree of uncertainty." Soon, when I have a little more time, I will add a comment feature so readers can interject on specific posts. That I don't have this right now is why I'm sometimes reluctant to call this a "blog." It's more like an echo chamber for me, myself, and I. Until then, I welcome comments and suggestions through the email on my homepage.

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