Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

What Questions Really Matter

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

What Questions Really Matter

Article excerpt

A COUPLE of weeks ago I mentioned two unbelievably smart sciencey professors who I included in my New Year's resolutions.

They were Stephen Hawking whose Brief History of Time is still on my "stop pretending you understand this" list and Brian Cox.

Prof Cox is particularly interesting. He's easier to believe you believe while he remains totally unbelievable.

My resolve has remained firm; I am still determined not to understand either of them.

I nearly lost the plot with Cox just last week when I belatedly opened my daughter's Christmas present to me.

She thought I would like to have a copy of a new book, World of Numbers, written by another maths nerd, Adam Spencer.

I'd heard of him but never tried to understand him. Cox describes Spencer's book as "Funny, yet with hidden depths - like its author".

I believed him and got stuck into it.

He's right...but, for sure, you'd better want to read quirky facts about numbers.

There's a picture of Prof Cox on page 18 where he is described as one of the hottest objects in the known universe...... There's something strange about academics.

The thing about people like Cox and Spencer is that they are far more curious than most of us.

They ask too complicated questions when most of us prefer to concentrate on the simpler facts of our everyday lives.

It's worth pausing and thinking about the questions that really matter to us, day by day.

A few come to mind; many arise from increasing age and the compulsion to become obsessive about the things it's too easy to forget.....

"Where have I put my car keys?" is high on my list.

There is no end to the number of different places I can lose my keys.

Few are related to where I was quite sure I put them down last night.

I remember I must have taken them with me when I left the car in the garage. …

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