Monday, June 20, 2011

Hackers of Nature

Almost two years ago, my friend Antonio Juarez invited me to join him in his adventure of moving from Austin to Pittsburg. It had been so long time since I spent time with him since we were back home, and as usual, the trip was full of wierd things and crazy conversations ranging from philosophy to deeping cookies in various kinds of beverages.

About two weeks ago, I attended a conference about quantazation and I had a really nice talk with one of the participants, and part of it made me remember one of our many interesting conversations with Antonio.

As natural in a quantazation conference, discussion between mathematical and physical points of view arose everywhere, and here is when I remember what I once said to Antonio, that my appreciation of how a physicist views his job can be thought as follows:

Physicsts are like hackers. What he does is grab an already built software that does something (nature), starts playing around with the inputs and then analyzing the outputs. Then with this information, what he does is to make his own programs that emulates the original one, in other words, tries to figure out what was the original code for the original software.

Then the evolution of theories in physics is like upgrading the code, improving bugs, extending the range of the input variable, and sometimes, make it more user friendly. If God built up mathematica, physicists build sage.

No wonder lots of physicists like Linux.

And mathematicians? Probably they are like apple, they don't care about the other programmers, they only do stuff, even if no body is going to use it, but at the end, every body is got an iPhone.


  1. Very nice analogy (physicist - hackers), very nice post.
    Another similarity about mathematicians - mac guys, is their huge cockiness (which I don't quite like about my math friends), lol.
    The question now is who would be the "Windows users" ?

  2. Well, I guess that in every field there is people with huge egos (sadly). Windows users could be some pseudoscientists that believe they do something, but they don't really do