Von Neumann's Machine

Magical & thermodynamical, non-classical & stochastical!


Look at Albert Einstein working in his Theory of General Relativity in Zurich:

Einstein’s search for general relativity spanned eight years, 1907-1915. Some periods were quiet and some were more intense. The moments when the great transition occurred, came sometime between the late summer of 1912, when Einstein moved from Prague to Zurich, and early 1913.

Source (and context): A Peek into Einstein’s Zurich Notebook, from the absolutely advisable page of Goodies by Professor John D. Norton, (Department of History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of Pittsburgh), from now in my bookmarks.


The Magic Dogwood(Cornus florida subspecies urbiniana). A rare Mexican version of the common American Dogwood tree. This variety is noted for its flower bracts, which are fused together, resulting in an amazing display of spirals and shapes.


The Magic Dogwood(Cornus florida subspecies urbiniana). A rare Mexican version of the common American Dogwood tree. This variety is noted for its flower bracts, which are fused together, resulting in an amazing display of spirals and shapes.

(via geometryofdopeness)


Actually, they all seemed to be interested in just about everything.

Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782) is best known for his work in fluid mechanics, in particular for his discovery that pressure decreases as flow speed increases – a fact that today keeps carburetors running and fixed-wing planes in the air.

Leonhard Euler (1707-1783), Swiss mathematician and physicist sometimes called “the Galileo of mathematical physics,” did ground-breaking work across many fields. He discovered Euler’s number, e, the second most important constant in physics, after pi.

He also introduced much of modern mathematical terminology and notation, for example, the notion of a mathematical function.  Thus, Euler is justifiably remembered as a mathematician. However, he is also known for his work in mechanics, fluid dynamics, optics, astronomy, and music theory.  [wp]

Joseph Fourier (1768-1830) was a pioneer in theories of heat and vibration. The technique he invented for this work – representing complex waves by adding together simpler waves – is now used everywhere in science and engineering.

Thomas Young (1773-1829) pioneered the “double-slit” experiment: shining a light through two narrow slits, he produced a pattern akin to the one produced by two overlapping water waves. This demonstration of the wave nature of light later became central to quantum mechanics.

Young made notable scientific contributions in the fields of vision, light, solid mechanics, energy, physiology, and language. He also advanced European understanding of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs (notably, those on the famous Rosetta Stone). [wp]

Carl Friedrich Gauss / Gauß (1777-1855), called “the prince of mathematicians” by his contemporaries, is now best remembered for his “normal” (or Gaussian) distributions, which plot how likely things are to vary from average.

A German mathematician and physical scientist, he contributed significantly to many fields - in mathematics: number theory, algebra, statistics, analysis, differential geometry. In physics, he did work in geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy, and optics. [wp]

William Hamilton (1805-1865) reformulated Newtonian mechanics into what is now known as Hamiltonian mechanics. In doing so, he wrote the mathematical language in which modern physics, especially quantum theory, is expressed.

Sir William Rowan Hamilton was an Irish physicist, astronomer, and mathematician, who made important contributions to classical mechanics, optics, and algebra. [wp]

THE SCIENTIFIC TYPOGRAPHIES OF Dr. Prateek Lala: artistic representations of more than 50 influential physicists, cosmologists, and mathematicians – from Anaximander up to Stephen Hawking.

Images and descriptions reprinted (with revisions) from: Perimeter Institute 

NEXT UP: Ohm, Faraday, Maxwell, Röntgen, Tesla

(via visualizingmath)


SDO: Year 4

The sun is always changing and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory is always watching. Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, SDO keeps a 24-hour eye on the entire disk of the sun, with a prime view of the graceful dance of solar material coursing through the sun’s atmosphere, the corona. SDO’s fourth year in orbit was no exception: NASA is releasing a movie of some of SDO’s best sightings of the year, including massive solar explosions and giant sunspot shows.

SDO captures images of the sun in 10 different wavelengths, each of which helps highlight a different temperature of solar material. Different temperatures can, in turn, show specific structures on the sun such as solar flares, which are giant explosions of light and x-rays, or coronal loops, which are streams of solar material traveling up and down looping magnetic field lines. The movie shows examples of both, as well as what’s called prominence eruptions, when masses of solar material leap off the sun. The movie also shows a sunspot group on the solar surface. This sunspot, a magnetically strong and complex region appearing in mid-January 2014, was one of the largest in nine years. Scientists study these images to better understand the complex electromagnetic system causing the constant movement on the sun, which can ultimately have an effect closer to Earth, too: Flares and another type of solar explosion called coronal mass ejections can sometimes disrupt technology in space. Moreover, studying our closest star is one way of learning about other stars in the galaxy. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. built, operates, and manages the SDO spacecraft for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:

via NASA explorer.


Hiroh Kikai, A performer of butoh dance


Hiroh Kikai, A performer of butoh dance