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Should I live a life of solitude like Newton and Euler?

  1. Jun 29, 2011 #1
    Yeah is there any correlation between being single for the rest of your life and very successful in Math/physics?
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
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  3. Jun 29, 2011 #2

    Ryan_m_b

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  4. Jun 29, 2011 #3
    long term solitude is neither healthy nor fun
     
  5. Jun 29, 2011 #4

    turbo

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    My wife and I have been practicing "solitude" for 35+ years. It works well for us. We associate with family, neighbors, friends, etc as we like. A few years ago, we added a dog. He likes "solitude" too, though he is eager to meet any stranger that even looks at him.

    Anyway, if I had been single and alone for the last 35 years, I'd probably not have survived it. If you have some severe ups and downs or health problems, it's best to have a significant other to anchor you.

    Being isolated from others is not going to make you smarter or more well-prepared to revolutionize any field in math or science. Try to have a comfortable, balanced family life so you can have a "safe zone" to reside in when you are not engaged in work or commerce. IMO, solitude is not going to let you flog your brain into doing more than you can do now, without risking behavioral problems or delusion.
     
  6. Jun 29, 2011 #5

    BobG

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    If you're successful in math/sciences, then you probably have enough math knowledge to optimize your chances of achieving your most successful marriage possible, so why would a successful mathematician/scientist pass that up?

    Of course, there's just one problem with possessing the knowledge necessary to optimize your chances of achieving the best marriage for you. The best you can do is achieve about a 36.8% chance making the best marriage possible for you (1/e).

    This is because you don't know how many prospective marriage partners you'll have in life to choose between and you don't know if you've already turned down the best prospect or if a better prospect will come along as soon as you marry "the best so far".

    In fact, once you make your choice, you'll have no way to really know if you made the best possible choice. You'll only know the probability of having made the best possible choice.

    As ryan noted, some mathematicians/scientists become fixated on that idea that there's 63.2% chance they didn't make the best marriage possible and change the rules of the game a little, just to find out whether they won or not.

    However unhealthy or unethical that may seem, it's still probably a healthier option that becoming so fixated on the idea that there's at least a 63.2% chance of picking the wrong marriage partner that you decide to take no marriage partners at all. That actually gives you the worst probability of picking the best marriage possible. You'd do better marrying a random woman in a bar!

    But, yeah, having an obsession with math and probabilities could sometimes be a disadvantage - especially when you scratch out "best person I could have married" on your anniversary card and hand write in "36.8% chance you're the best person I could have married".
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  7. Jun 29, 2011 #6
    What about the life as a hermit? If that is even possible...
     
  8. Jun 29, 2011 #7

    turbo

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    If you only go to town on when you need to. We have a hermit named Ted in prison who claimed to be pretty [STRIKE]smart.[/STRIKE] I have to reverse this, out of respect for an older paper-mill consultant that mentored me. He used to say "That guy (usually referring to an engineer) is very intelligent, but he ain't too smart."

    The old friend was called a field engineer by his employer, but like me, he worked his way up though the field with no degree. He was a quirky character, but I loved working with him. He gave me the lead role in some troubleshooting projects when he thought I was better-equipped to handle them. That was a big deal to me! Much better than isolation and solitude. Math, sciences and engineering concerns are evolving 'way too fast for schools to keep up, so solitude and self-study (I hope we don't have to ride out a plague, like Newton did) won't suffice.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  9. Jun 29, 2011 #8
    Have you ever heard of 'correlation does not imply causation'.
     
  10. Jun 29, 2011 #9
    There is not any pattern, I think.

    Hard work.....hard work ...... hard work....... with devotion is all that is needed
     
  11. Jun 30, 2011 #10
    Yes, but still tempting
     
  12. Jun 30, 2011 #11

    Pengwuino

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    Being great in something is not about mimicking certain traits about great people, it's about actually going out there and being great. You're falling into the same trap that, for example, Nike pulls on idiotic people. Buy this shoe that Michael Jordan wears and you'll be as good as Michael Jordan! Also, wear his headband. And eat what he eats.

    No one has successfully become Michael Jordan by buying Nike products.
     
  13. Jun 30, 2011 #12
    No, but I can neglect all human socialization and focus on Physics/math
     
  14. Jun 30, 2011 #13

    Pengwuino

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    Yah that's a recipe for a psychotic episode... or 5. What makes you think that idea is anything but ridiculous?
     
  15. Jun 30, 2011 #14
    Not only is completely neglecting socializing unhealthy, it would probably harm your academic career as well. Part of being a successful scientist/mathematician is learning how to have productive interactions with your colleagues. Only a handful of people (such as Newton and Euler) can produce breakthrough discoveries all on their own.
     
  16. Jun 30, 2011 #15
    What makes you think Newton and Euler lived lives of solitude? Newton seems highly involved in the scientific establishment of the day, and Euler married and had 13 children.
     
  17. Jun 30, 2011 #16
    If you want to be like Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory. . .
     
  18. Jul 8, 2011 #17
    Iam also contemplating on same for quite some time.I guess it works for some like grigory perelman,but I do not think a hermit life guarantees a success.The only thing that counts is hard work and self determination.
     
  19. Jul 8, 2011 #18
    No, humans need socialization to be humans. Maybe an autist could do it, I don't know.
     
  20. Jul 8, 2011 #19

    BobG

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    Is that an autist from Boston or from Melbourne? I think an autist from Boston might, but I think an Australian autist would have a hard time living without talking about someone else's secrets.
     
  21. Jul 9, 2011 #20
    What are the chances of me interacting with a girl? I am in a major that no girls really exist, with the exception of professors which I do not plan to "hit on"...
     
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