The Naturalist

She was born a Natural.

Born when it wasn’t natural.

“Mathematics are the natural bent of my mind”
— Mary Somervillemarysomervillebyswinton

It was in her nature to be a scientist — damn the culture.

In fact, she was to become the first named scientist.  William Whewell, in his 1834 review of Somerville’s Connexion, coined the word “scientist” to describe Somerville.

Her mother taught her to read the Bible and Calvinist catechisms, and when not occupied with household chores Mary roamed among the birds and flowers in the garden.  In her autobiography Somerville recollects that after returning from sea her father said to her mother “This kind of life will never do, Mary must at least know how to write and keep accounts”. Thus the 10-year-old was sent for a year of tuition at Musselburgh, an expensive boarding school. Somerville learned the first principles of writing, rudimentary French and English grammar. Upon returning home, she:

“…was no longer amused in the gardens, but wandered about the country. When the tide was out I spent hours on the sands, looking at the star-fish and sea-urchins, or watching the children digging for sand-eels, cockles, and the spouting razor-fish. I made collections of shells, such as were cast ashore, some so small that they appeared like white specks, some so small that they appeared like white specks in patches of black sand. There was a small pier on the sands for shipping limestone brought from the coal mines inland. I was astonished to see the surface of these blocks of stone covered with beautiful impressions of what seemed to be leaves; how they got there I could not imagine, but I picked up the broken bits, and even large pieces, and brought them to my repository.”

Mary Somerville, Architect Rational, (1780-1872) was an innovative and talented science communicator, with an extraordinary (and mostly self taught) grasp of mathematics in an era when most women had no access to formal education. As a direct result of her work, calculus was introduced to the English speaking scientific world, the idea of physics (as a single subject containing topics such as optics, thermodynamics and astronomy) was invented, and the term “scientist” was coined to describe people who studied the various sciences.

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He didn’t get it.

I was surprised, kinda.  But it made sense, why he didn’t think much of my suggestion.  In fact, in his seminar at UCIrvine Information and Computer Science department (as tactic to get MIT to give him a better offer as a tenured faculty member), he dismissed my “idea”, quickly, even though he had asked (obviously rhetorically, in hindsight) for suggestions as a kind of Socratic presentation tactic in his talk.

My mentioning of Kirchoff’s law as a parallel in regards into information flow, he thought irrelevant, and was rather dismissive.  But who was I, just a graduate student from a west coast Podunk U [which eventually was a key university in the development of the World Wide Web].  He was an assistant Professor from MIT, angling for tenure.


This time I understood.  Although I didn’t have a name for it at the time.  I just shut up.

Now, I call it eucaryotic hubrisWe all have it, in the area of our expertise and our vast areas of ignorance.

This time, I had had enough encounters with these kind of guys to not be in awe of them. I didn’t assume I was at fault in not understanding, and not smart enough it “get what they are promoting”.  They were just as ignorant as I was.

And, Stupid, as me.  So when I was watching one of Geoffrey Hinton’s youtube talks…


I had interacted this “professor” before, in that seminar.   And I had listened to some of his other conference talks, he is very very very smart and accomplished.  So smart, these days, he is a distinguished emeritus faculty member, at the institution he got his BS and PhD at.  He has never had to move out of Massachusetts, or MIT.  No, this guy wasn’t Marvin Minsky, but his student.  So when Hinton told his offhand story, about Professor Carl Hewitt, I had to laugh.  Deja vu, all over again.

“Indeed, in their later years (after finding out that most others are faking an understanding of the laws of nature), INTPs [Architect Rationals] are likely to think of themselves as the master organizers who must pit themselves against nature and society in an unending effort to create organization out of the raw materials of nature.” – Please Understand Me II,  Keirsey, David. Please Understand Me II (Kindle Locations 4099-4107). Prometheus Nemesis Book Company. Kindle Edition.

As scientists, we all are struggling with understanding:

Formatics: Precise Qualitative and Quantitative Comparison. Precise Analogy and Precise Metaphor: how does one do that, and what does one mean by these two phrases? This is an essay, in the form of an ebook, on the nature of reality, measure, modeling, reference, and reasoning in an effort to move towards the development of Comparative Science and Relational Complexity. In some sense, this ebook explores the involution and envolution of ideas, particularly focusing on mathematics and reality as two “opposing” and “fixed points” in that “very” abstract space. As Robert Rosen has implied there has been (and still is going on) a war in Science. Essentially you can view that war as a battle between the “formalists” and the “informalists” — but make no mistake the participants of this war are united against “nature” — both are interested in understanding the world and sometimes predicting what can and will happen, whether that be real or imagined. So… I will ask the questions, for example, of “what could one mean” precisely by the words: “in,” “out,” “large,” and “small.” The problem is both Science and Mathematics are imprecise — but this sentence contains fighting words and is impredicative, to say the least. In my father‘s terms, it is important to distinguish between order and organization, and understand the difference. Lastly, for now, the concepts and their relations, in the circle of ideas of “dimensions of time” and dimensions of energy along with the dimensions of space and dimensions of mass will be explicated, as I evolve (involute and envolute) this ebook. SO WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT? Let me try to explain.


Other Architect Rationals include:  James MadisonSrinivasa RamanujanEmmy NoetherPaul DiracRobert RosenDavid KeirseyAlbert EinsteinLonnie AthensDavid Bohm

A Turning Point

David West Keirsey: Self Portrait
David Keirsey self portrait(August 31, 1921 – July 30, 2013)

My father died on July 30th, 2013 and I intend to honor him, if I can, by writing a blog about him and his ideas every year.  First year.  Second Year.

“I regard myself as the last living Gestalt Psychologist”
— David West Keirsey

Gestalt: German word for form or shape

He wrote a short autobiography at the bequest of us, it was titled: Turning Points.  It chronicles some of the turning points of his life.  I want to write “an intellectual history” of him using some of that material plus my fading memory about the ideas we discussed in those many years, since it might be instructive to see how and why his ideas were formed and evolved.  Moreover, I think that his developed “methodology” of qualitative factor analysis and synthesis can contribute to the progress in science.

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It’s a Slow Idea


Many people have asked why is Keirsey Temperament Theory not known broadly as “it should be.”

For a long time, I couldn’t give a good answer.

The answer is: “It’s a Slow Idea.”

My father outlines “The History of Madness”  in his lectures.  And the Wholistic Theory of Madness is a slow idea, its roots going back to over a century with my father adding the idea of Temperament in the last half century.   Fast Ideas about “madness” have been around since Homo Sapens possessed language.

The roots of the Idea of Keirsey Temperament also go back to ancient times.

In addition, there is the idea of: Slow Ideas <=> Fast Ideas

The root of this idea appeared just recently, thanks to Atul Gawande.

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Of Complex Character, Revisited

Gaia is a tough bitch.

Hot Cold Passion: a passion for science.

She was a Scientist, first.

And she was a Character — a very interesting, and complex character.

Having entered the science community as a woman, when men still dominated science, and being charmed by a huge scientific ego, Carl, she luckily had to explore the backwaters of evolutionary biology at the time, bacteria, not getting much support from him or her male contemporaries.  Of course, like all good science, that estuary of knowledge contained biological riches totally ignored by well established conventional scientific community.  Like Darwin before, she was sui generis: a driven, feisty, no holds barred, idea brawler — an intellectual maverick — by necessity and choice.  Initially ignored, she generated a fair amount of hostility from the conventional scientific community when they were challenged.

And intellectual mavericks, with persistence, are the only type to challenge the major ideas of conventional science, and win — somewhat.

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With the eyes of a child
You must come out and see
That your world’s spinning ’round
Moody Blues

She wrote it in plain and clear language, so, even a child understand.

However, I doubt many adults could understand it, even now: most adults are too stupid to understand.

No, not ignorant, just stupid.  Adults:  too naturally not interestedtoo busy, too lazy, too “know it all,” too impatient to really see  — and to learn.

Danger lies not in what we don’t know,
but in what we think we know that just ain’t so
– Mark Twain


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On the Shoulder of a Giant

If I have seen a little further,
it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.
Isaac Newton

We all know the quote. But often we don’t know the name of those Giants.

And she was not concerned that we know the true story, for in science, the shoulders are many and the results are what matter.

Newton’s giants were many: Copernicus, Galileo, Bruno, Kepler, Wallis, … But others were nameless.

Her giants included Newton, Haley, but also Annie Cannon.

And she was a giant, but who few know her name, for her almost contribution, or rather, her until recently uncredited contribution. For a man took that credit by publishing four years later essentially the same idea she had told him about — and that she deserved the real credit, for she was the first person to observe it and understand it.  Moreover, she had the imagination not blinded by “conventional wisdom:” the scientific heterodoxy, which wasn’t really science at the time, anyway. Consensus science is never a science.

But she didn’t know that…

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Pi Day and oh, That Icon

Nerds, mathematicians, lovers of all things circular today celebrate Pi Day, the day that honors π, one of the world’s most mysterious inspiring infinite mathematical constants. Pi Day is celebrated on March 14 at 1:59:26 p.m., the date and time which corresponds to the first eight digits of π, or 3.1415926. π . It, March 14th is, also, the birth day of a German physicist.  Those nerds like to think that they might figure out some of those mysteries, like that guy who’s birthday is March 14th, 1879.

By the way, if you don’t remember π  can be approximated, but never represented by anything finite, by:


For it’s a transcendental number.

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