I spent the afternoon reading this on a spread of lawn in front of the campus library.
“The scientist’s job is to strip away the complexity we see around us and to uncover this underlying simplicity. When the process works out, and the simplicity and unity of the world are revealed, we experience the Ionian Enchantment. Imagine for a moment cradling a snowflake in the palm of your hand. It is an elegant and beautiful structure, possessed of a jagged crystalline symmetry. No two snowflakes are alike, and at first sight this chaotic state of affairs seems to defy a simple explanation. Science has taught us that the apparent complexity of snowflakes hides an exquisite underlying simplicity; each is a configuration of billions of molecules of water, H2O. There is nothing more to a snowflake than that, and yet an overwhelming complex structure and form emerges when those H2O molecules get together in the atmosphere of our planet on a cold winter’s night.”