Sunday, April 18, 2021

Bill Crawford: Mississippi Needs Quantum Leap in STEM Knowledge

 “If you understand the behavior of electrons and the behavior of photons (light) then you understand everything that matters in the everyday world, except gravity and nuclear power stations.”


“Apart from gravity, everything that is important in the home can be described in terms of the way electrons interact with one another, which determines the way that atoms interact with one another, and the way they interact with electromagnetic radiation, including light.”

The quotations come from the introduction to John Gribbin’s “Q is for Quantum: An Encyclopedia of Particle Physics.” Whether we understand it or not, quantum physics, what Gribbin called “the subatomic world of particle physics,” dominates our lives today and tomorrow’s future.

Well, it’s the ever increasing application of quantum physics that really impacts us, not the science itself. From infrared heating in toasters and microwaves in ovens and telecommunications systems to the semiconductors inside cell phones, computers, cars, and home appliances and the lasers in DVD players to the technology that makes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, atomic clocks, GPS systems, fiber-optic communications work to the processes involved in genetic engineering, to superfast quantum computers, the applications increase and become more complex every day.

Indeed, we now live in a world heavily dependent upon scientific complexity that we little understand. Even as they develop new and wonderful applications, scientists don’t yet fully understand the complexities of the theory of quantum mechanics and its interaction with Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

Nevertheless, we live in an ever more complex world dominated by science-based technology. Therein lies a problem. An article entitled “Simple thinking in a complex world is a recipe for disaster,” published by The Conversation, has a warning.

“For all our sophistication, we react to the world in simple ways. Our world is complex, but our ability to cope with it is limited. We seek simple solutions that hide or ignore the complexity.”

This inability to fathom complexity, the article continues, “leads to a belief that any worthwhile solution to a situation must be simple. This attitude perhaps explains the widespread mistrust of science today: it has become too complex and technical for the public to understand. So people often ignore or reject its messages, especially when its findings are unpalatable.”

Rather than rely on science, the article suggests, we choose to rely upon popular figures who scoff at or ignore science and offer us simplistic prescriptions that are often wrong.


What does any of this have to do with Mississippi?

We need a quantum leap (pun intended) in our understanding of science and technology to ease fears and help us take advantage of the economic opportunities they offer.

That begins with much more robust science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in our public schools with amped up resources to provide up to date textbooks, equipment, and instructors. (The computer science bill passed this year was a step in the right direction.) It continues with choosing leaders who want to harness science for its benefits rather than bedevil and fear it for their lack of understanding.  

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” – Genesis 1:31.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.



Anonymous said...

Yes, anyone can learn how to be a quantum physicist or electronics engineer. No gifts or talent required. Because we are all equal. And we have zero standards.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely genius Bill!
I never would’ve thought that the answer to Mississippi’s problems lies within the world of Quantum Physics
Quick! Someone put Bill in charge of transforming JPS into an absolute global leader of quantum physics and engineering!
Jackson Syndicated Columnist Bill Crawford has got it all figured out.

Anonymous said...

Forget learning to code, I'm gonna go out tomorrow & build me one of them subatomic particle colliders to get ready for the future - buy your tickets now to see protons & electrons bash each other's brains out

Anonymous said...

I say we start with quantum literacy and maybe a vocational program to teach some boo boo engineers

Anonymous said...

Bill Crawford, GET A LIFE!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Why do I feel like Slim Pickens riding an atomic bomb in Dr. Strangelove?

Anonymous said...

And Bill advocated for the Kemper Power Plant debacle too. Why is this guy even offered a column.

Anonymous said...

The Vibranium Institute of Vardaman, est. 1966, is right on this stuff! We are producing the future!

With our advanced materials and technology, we shall conquer all.

Equity, Vibranium, Utopia!!!

Scuze Me While I Kiss The Sky said...

I remember sitting cross-legged with a group, in a circle, eating lentils and passing the pipe...seeing, in rotational order, which of us could make up the most bizarre shit...without laughing or setting the shag carpet on fire. Then I quit doing that and got a job.

Anonymous said...

A huge set of Mississippians cannot pass high school. Let’s just try to get drinkable water and drivable roads

Anonymous said...

Quantum Leap? Ziggy says Mississippi should stick with what we know. Which is agrarianism and federal government dependence.

Anonymous said...

This thread is great

Anonymous said...

is this why the city couldnt get the water meters to work?

Anonymous said...

Yes! This would be another great reason to give the teachers a pay raise. Raise after raise and ACT scores are flatlined....

Anonymous said...

The truth hurts. People reject science except when its applications may save their life with an electromagnetic scan of their diseased bodies. Buddy they believe in science then. They don't take the time to think its complex science applied via r and d to develop their cell phone and their computerized car. But, left to their own devices, Mississippians are an anti-science know-it-all lot even whilst they consume proven, complex, data driven science every hour of their lives. Another thing you lot don't get - Irony.

Anonymous said...

Be careful on your high horse. Lest you fall and break your big ol’ Humpty dumpty sized head!

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS