Early educational experiences that shaped Emil du Bois-Reymond’s career in science
One of the important educational milestones for Bois-Reymond had been the experimental course he did in Berlin in 1838. His interactions with Jons Jacob Berzelius and other eminent scientists of the day shaped his formative mind. The exchanges he had with Johannes Muller served as an added apprenticeship for the young Bois-Reymond. Reading Carlo Matteucci’s essay “On the Electrical Phenomena of Animals” in 1841 had a profound influence on his ever inquisitive scientific mind. In 1843 Du Bois-Reymond was fortunate to have correspondence with and be appraised by Alexander von Humboldt. This culminated in his dissertation presentation to the French Academy of Sciences. Bois-Reymond’s academic life was thus filled with numerous fortuitous interactions with the leading scientific lights of the day.
Bois-Reymond’s personality, preferences and personal . . . Read More
• How do you compare to the cultures you have contact with?
What I’ve witnessed in Canada so far are sharp cultural differences to my native Saudi Arabia. The most notable difference is how people here enjoy greater freedoms in social life. For example, I see how the handshake is a common manner of greeting among friends, acquaintances or colleagues. Even girls do not hesitate to shake hands with men. This sort of contact is totally forbidden in Saudi Arabia, where it is not only illegal but also considered immoral. Back home, we only see men shaking hands with other men, sometimes perhaps even kiss on each cheek. Likewise women greet each other through hugs or kisses. But any kind of physical contact between the two sexes is prohibited in public places. So it was refreshing to see so much freedom in interpersonal relations in Canada. Another thing I noticed is how public life in Canada is not tied to religious practice. In contrast, in Saudi Arabia, culture is . . . Read More
In the day and age we live in, air pollution is a sad fact of life. We claim to be civilized and modern, yet the environment we inhabit has declined under our watch. All elements of nature, including that of earth, water and air have suffered pollution in the last two centuries. This essay will confine itself with air pollution. The following passages expose the major sources of air pollution while also suggesting some constructive measures for alleviating the problem.
One of the main causes of air pollution is automobiles. The combustion engines of most automobiles utilize fossil fuels, which produced green-house gases upon releasing energy. These greenhouse gases accumulate at a certain zone in the higher atmosphere and trap sunlight received by the earth. This phenomenon of increased temperature is called Global Warming. There is also the attend phenomenon of Global Dimming to contend with. Hereby, the amount of light reaching the surface of the earth is also reduced . . . Read More
Conflict in human relations is as old as humanity itself. But what distinguishes humans from other creatures is how they can resolve conflict without resort to aggression. This is the central message of The Peacemaker. The book is especially addressed to the youth, as there is a lacuna in moral guidance for them.
One of the strengths of the book is how the authors showcase the utility of the Holy Bible in solving human conflict. At a time when acts of violence and anger are high among the youth, training them in Biblical principles can mitigate these negative tendencies. The book is also valuable to adults such as parents, teachers and pastors, who are in a position to cultivate Biblical principles in their wards.
Statistics point out how instances of teen violence have steadily increased over the last two decades. These troubled teenagers need love and guidance, for punishment is shown to be an ineffective deterrent of violence. It is this love and guidance that the . . . Read More
India is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country. It is also variable in terms of socio-economic and development indicators. Moreover the federal structure stipulated in the Indian constitution makes health care predominantly a state-level responsibility. As a result, depending on the economic prosperity, dominant political ideology, and even some cultural factors, access to healthcare varies across individual states. Given the breadth of diversity of Indian demographics, picking merely one group for analysis is a challenging endeavor. This is so because demographic groups in India intersect across language, caste, gender and class lines. When we apply these parameters to the Indian population we get thousands of small groups with marked differences between them in terms of privilege and quality of life. As a result no one group can be said to directly relate and represent India and its healthcare system. In order to overcome this challenge, the biggest minority group in . . . Read More
It is self-evidently true that a liberal-democratic government should protect the ‘social rights’ of its citizens. There are copious arguments from various eminent thinkers that back up this claim. Ranging across eras and philosophical schools, various intellectuals have endorsed the protection of social rights of citizens. This essay will draw upon the ideas of philosopher Socrates (through his disciple Plato), American founding father James Madison, and 20th century political scientist T.H. Marshall. In doing so, the essay will back the position that a liberal-democratic government should protect the ‘social-rights’ of its citizens.
Social rights can be loosely defined as those rights which are operant in public places. While this is not a legal definition of the term, it serves as a guideline for the essay. In a nation with diverse racial, ethnic and religious demography as the United States, it is expected that the laws reflect secularism and social equity. These . . . Read More
One of the topics that had garnered media space in recent months is the issue of global warming. Without doubt it is one of the critical issues facing humanity. If solutions are not identified and implemented urgently, irrevocable damage could occur to the prospects of the species as well as the larger habitable environment. There are different stakeholders involved, including the policymakers, media, general public, the business community and the scientific community. The direction of the future discourse on the subject would depend on persuasiveness and collective representation of each of these groups. What follows is an evaluation of their relative ‘weight’ in terms of shaping the discourse on climate change. Newspapers such as New York Times and Washington Times were perused for this exercise.
The scientific community performs the crucial role of studying the problem and accurately projecting the future implications. But they have relatively weak influence over the . . . Read More
All the authors in the title have made key contributions to American literature, culture and politics. They used their literary talent as a means to not only create art but also to transform society. The 19th century was a period of great upheavals in American history. The nation was still young and uncertain of its own identity. It is quite natural that this milieu gave rise to several undercurrents of unrest. On the political front was class struggle between the propertied and un-propertied whites. In terms of social equations, the blacks were hoping for the abolishment of slavery. Women were still thought of as ‘property’ of their fathers or husbands or sons, let alone having the right to vote. In terms of general culture, the population was highly illiterate. It is these pressing issues that writers such as Melville, Douglass and Fuller sought to address through their work. It can be claimed that their efforts were not in vain, given how much the country has progressed in . . . Read More
Recent scientific expeditions that have retraced all routes of human migration out of Africa in the last 50,000 years make for a fascinating story. In the exhibit perused for this exercise I discovered that the pivotal moment was the great Ice Age that set in 50 thousand years ago, up until when, the rich and diverse ecology of central and southern Africa began to change. With the substantial drop in temperatures, the erstwhile green and fertile regions began to dry up. And this crisis for survival is perhaps the most important event in anthropology.
The populating of the Australian continent is a tantalizing story of adventure and chance. Scientists were first confounded by the 6000 mile of ocean that separated the East African coast from the nearest shore in Australia. Later it came to light that the radically new geological conditions created by the Ice Age provided an easy passage wherever the sea had receded. Likewise the crossing of the arctic inhabiting Chikchu people . . . Read More
Although I am personally not addicted to alcohol or narcotic drugs, I participated in the Alcoholics Anonymous program in my locality. The purpose is to glean important key insights through first hand observation and direct interaction. Although most of the participants in the 12 step program were adults, there were some who were adolescents as well. It is saddening to see teenagers fall into the vicious trap of alcohol addiction. However, it is also consoling to know that they can get cured through participation in the program. I must say that, though at the beginning I was uneasy with the whole idea, by the end of the exercise I found it enriching and rewarding.
Addiction to alcohol poses serious problems for both the addict as well as his/her family. In a culture that associates drinking with festive occasions and celebrations, over-indulgence in alcohol is to be expected. In the case of teenagers, alcohol addiction is often the result of a dysfunctional relationship with . . . Read More