Fostering a Scientific Temper:
India is perhaps the only country which has an entry in its Constitution Article 51A(h) about fundamental duties that are expected to be performed by the citizens,among which is the duty ‘to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform’.
Until the maturing of the Internet it was not easy for an ordinary citizen to fulfil this obligation, but today, especially with the 5G connectivity likely to be available soon, this should well become possible. The internet has become increasingly more relevant as a source of information about science.
I am sharing in this post, a wide range of resources for the interested citizen to develop a scientific temper by just viewing videos. And the curious would then follow Wikipedia, Medium and other relevant resources to know more.
We begin by listing a few YouTube channels to watch. YouTube is a particularly relevant platform because of its enormous reach: it is the second most accessed website worldwide, where 2 billion registered users watch videos monthly.
1: World Science Festival
2: Closer to truth
3: Royal Institution
4: Nobel Prize
5: Big Think
6: TED talks: TED, TEDx, TED-Ed
8: The European Graduate School
9: Oxford University
10: UCTV: University of California TV
11: Santa Fe Institute
12: ICTP: International Centre for Theoretical Physics
13: Talks at Google
14: Microsoft Research
15: IBM Research
For those who want to get into Physics at length, here are some :
90 Physics YouTube channels : https://blog.feedspot.com/physics_youtube_channels/
It is also a good idea to follow a few individuals that are great science communicators:
1: Carl Sagan
2: Michio Kaku
3: Brian Greene
4: Brian Cox
5: Max Tegmark
6: Richard Feynman
7: Lex Friedman
8: Niel de Grasse Tyson
9: Jim Al Khalili
10: Jeff Hawkins
11: Arvin Ash
For those who may want to pursue more rigorous academic courses, here are a few distinguished academics to follow:
Walter Levine: Physics
Gilbert Strang: Linear Algebra
Andrew Ng: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Michael Sandel: Justice, morality and ethics
While it may not be obvious, democracy is strengthened by citizens having a scientific spirit of enquiry and reforms. Active, engaged citizens strengthen the institutions of a good democracy, and build a better society.
This is not a complete or exhaustive list, but something that I could put together easily and contains many sources that I am familiar with and follow regularly. I would be happy to learn of more resources from others that helps make this a better collection, and I will include them in my later versions of this
For those who want to explore this theme a little more, I have created the following weekend course delivered through WhatsApp
FAST: First Principles and Scientific Temper
First Principles is a framework for deconstructing complex problems, applied by Elon Musk for his enterprises, and inculcating a Scientific Temper is a Constitutional duty cast upon all of us under Article 51A(h).
In the NEP2020, the phrase is mentioned at 4 places: on pages 5 and 6, on pages 16,34 and 38.
Elon Musk has said that if he hadn’t used first principles thinking to advance Tesla technology, he would have been stuck in the horse-and-carriage stage of the transportation revolution. The real power of first-principles thinking is moving away from incremental improvement and into possibility.
The two together help in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, and are essential to flourish, thrive and prosper in an unknown and uncertain future. This course is perhaps a rare effort to make these concepts accessible to a large number of interested learners, simply through WhatsApp on a mobile device. We elucidate what are and more importantly what are not ‘first principles’. We also share strategies to enhance our scientific temper.
In this era of availability of large number of digital learning resources, it is even more important to become aware of the importance of thinking from first principles and training the youth in it.
The structure of this weekend course is as follows:
Day 1 ( Saturday): What are first principles?
1.1: Philosophical Origins
1.2: Elon Musk on the importance of first principles and its applications
1.3: The step-wise approach to first principles thinking
1.4: What is not a first principle? Barriers to First principles thinking
1.5: First principles in marketing strategy, in law and in daily life
Day 2( Sunday): Developing a Scientific Temper
2.1: Origins of the phrase: mentions in the NEP
2.2: Directive principles of the Indian Constitution
2.3: The Scientific approach : Science and pseudoscience
2.4: Asking Questions : the basis of Science
2.5: Science as public knowledge
Enrolment and fee payment:
Fresh cohorts for the above weekend course begin on the 1st Saturday of every month.
- As the course is delivered through WhatsApp the enrolment process is simply that of sending a WhatsApp message to Prof MM Pant at +919810073724.
- The fee for the above course is Rs 1000/- and can be easily remitted through PayTM to MM Pant ( mobile number : +919810073724).
- For those who would rather pay into a Bank account, the relevant information is :
- Madan Mohan Pant
- HDFC Bank, Unitech Cyber Park, Sector 39, Gurgaon
- (The account number is 26451 followed by six zeroes followed by 301)
To know more, please send a WhatsApp message to Prof MM Pant at +919810073724