Farm Hall: the Fall into Failure

You probably know this.  In August, 1939, Einstein wrote a letter to the American government.  German scientists had announced that the energy holding an atom together could be released – in fact, 2.2 pounds-worth of uranium atoms would equal 10,000 tons of TNT.  Einstein said this implied a new kind of bomb that Hitler’s government […]

Drawing the Line Somewhere, Part 1

(This post is the first in a two-part series. I adapted it from a keynote address I delivered in the summer of 2010 at Goddard College, in Plainfield, Vermont, where I teach in the MFA Writing program. The essay is part of a collection of talks by Goddard writing faculty that have been collected in […]

Of Heisenbergs and Beethovens

The 16-year-old student has an idea, but she doesn’t have the maths to support it. She does, however, have a drawing. She submits it to her tutor. He examines it, then delivers his verdict. “This is not science,” he says. “This is story-telling.” The scene is from Tom Stoppard’s play Arcadia, currently in revival on Broadway […]