Allan was influenced by many of the thinkers of his time…and those who came before him. Here is a little primer on James Clerk Maxwell. For all of you mathematicians and physicists out there this will be child’s play. For the rest of us Maxwell’s Equations, though inexplicable, have a profound influence on our lives. If you are reading this post, you are the benefactor of Maxwell’s work so at least give it a gander and maybe you’ll be as fascinated as I am with his findings.

A very quick introduction to James Clerk Maxwell

Such was Allan’s enthusiasm for the work of Claude Shannon that I chose to base an entire radio show on his seminal contribution to what was to become known as the Computer Age. It was conversations like the one I had with Al that I had hope to have populate the pages of this website. Thankfully I have the benefit of having spent hours talking to Al about his influencers and the way that they revolutionized the world so profoundly during the 20th century. He felt he was standing on those giants’ shoulders when doing the work that incorporated so many of their fledgling theories, changing the course of technology over the decades of his working life at Boeing.

A fascinating look at Claude Shannon

When Allan introduced me to the work and faith of James Tour I found myself wanting to go back in time and renounce my disdain for science as it was presented during my high school years. Though the disdain could possibly have been justified by the distinct lack of enthusiasm and/or understanding on the part of teachers, I now have utter sympathy for mere mortals who were tasked with explaining the most basic of concepts related to the Origin of Life. It all seemed so implausible at the time and it took a Synthetic Organic Chemist of James Tour’s intellect to suggest that those concepts are just that. Implausibility can be to scientific study as “do it because I said so” is to parenting. One doesn’t question the subject matter or task at hand if one wants to get through the course…or the day…without coming to blows. At least that was my reasoning in Grade 11 science class. Unlike Allan who was naturally gifted in math and science and thus undaunted by the caliber of teaching he received in elementary or high school, I could be thrown off track by the logic- or lack thereof – shown by the instructor. Al taught me that one’s love for a subject can be infectious and by sharing his own experiences and influences he proved that skepticism is as welcome in the realm of science as it is in my own chosen field of journalism. Our perspectives merged at the point where, when discussing the ideas of James Tour, we came to an impasse on a point and I promptly wrote to Dr. Tour for clarification. It was then that we saw the mutual benefit not only of scientific inquiry itself, but of the journalist’s habit of going to the source rather than speculating wildly or having the conversation deteriorate into worthless opinions. With Al and I it was not about proving a point, but of getting that much closer to The Truth.

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