I'm looking for a thought partner

Many of my adult friends feel sad because they can't do science more. For most, it was a source of joy in college, but their current profession is related and orthogonal to it. You job requires you to know enough science to be dangerous, and keep up with the literature but original foundation thinking or exploring vastly new areas is not going to be part of your manager-oriented schedule. I relate to this, and have many areas of science I'd like to seriously explore over time.

I'm interested in finding people who feel similarly, and want to start to personally address this. In short, I'm looking to find thought partners (and offering to support you in turn, in exploring new areas). Intellectual diversity is good, and I've met an enormous number of interesting people I'd never have otherwise encountered through cold emails to my inbox, so I'm posting this publicly in the hopes that a few similar souls might see it.

Shared values are important - here's what I'd strive to bring to the table, and look for in a thought partner in turn:

  • Chain ideas together coherently
  • Researcher or a professional with academic interests (I'm the latter)
  • Consume papers avidly, and have taste on which you like
  • Intellectually humble enough not to make bold claims without caveats, but courageous enough to want to find general principles
  • You like to get your hands dirty when it comes to papers - your immediate instinct is to quickly try to run the program, call a friend in a lab to vet some info, or find an alternate way to visualize the equation. Not doing this feels a bit uncomfortable and dishonest, if you’re really interested in the question at hand
  • Interested in the history of science
  • You love explaining things to others - your eyes light up and you feel a rush of joy when able to explain something you understand deeply to an interested observer

Specific interests I have:

What is life? Does the answer to this involve entropy. (Jeremy England / finding signal in the noise from other writings on the connection between the two)

Generally, exploring any part of physics deeply (particularly stat mech + information theory, which are also useful for the above).

I'm am amateur, but the style here would be focused on finding new representations of physics concepts that we like and trying to make analogies between different fields. Getting the 'gist' of major ideas, but more technically oriented and focused on visual analogies than reading a popular science book.

Understanding evolutionary dynamics (the mathematics of the dynamic equations and game theory concepts involved), and conceptually mapping the space. I have a strong personal interest in the impact of cooperation and group dynamics here (as in, I understand that group selection can be equivalent to any other explanation for altruism if you view it as book keeping, but still think there is something interesting there that has to do with communication between individuals in groups).

My goal would be to chat once a week about intellectual topics of interest, and possibly work on some side projects together. I think starting with a low bar to build an intellectual bridge is generally a good idea.

Email me if you're interested - ldeming.www@gmail.com

17 responses
No response necessary, but I think what you've put out here is brilliant! Sadly I'm just a science fanboy with barely enough math to halve or double a recipe. I sincerely hope you find people who make your eyes shine and your heart flitter with the excitement that comes for these wonderful conversations.
Sounds cool. I'm not able to comprehend most papers or know where to access them, but I am writing to say I read this post. Seems like a cool idea. Cool blog.
this is the right website, at the end i found, thanks
Like others commenting, find what you are interested in fascinating but do not have the professional/academic background to engage. If you want the possibility for more thought partners in the future, seems like some of us commenting (cough cough, me) could use a post about how to get started engaging with academia from a more external/hobbyist/personal interest perspective.
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