For the past month or so, I've been quietly reading all your wonderful e-mail "conversations" that have been entering my mailbox. On many occasions, I've been inclined to reply but never really had a solid chance to sit down. The comments about Dr. Krauss's talk and physics, however, really motivated me to say something to the group!
Brief introduction -- I am 25 years old, native Clevelander, just graduated from Case medical school and am doing my internship in medicine at Akron City Hospital. I will start my radiology residency at Case/University Hospitals next year. I also did my undergraduate work at Case -- majoring in pre-med, biology, and -- can you guess? -- PHYSICS! I know Dr. Krauss very well. My physics years were some of the most challenging years of my life -- Maude is right that the math is NO EASY SKILL to get your mind around... but, unlike Maude, I was in love with the math in combination with the power of conceptual thinking -- for that is where the so-called "magic" and elegance happens. I didn't decide to pursue physics until my 2nd year of college, at which time I was already slaving away at my pre-med science classes. Everyone around me thought it was a bad idea, tacking on such a "hard" subject so late. But I couldn't help it. I was just too much in love. In fact, I view my admiration for physics and the objective, knowable universe in a deeply spiritual way -- it is as close to a "religion" as I think I will ever get -- making Einstein one of my many personal heroes.
Since medical school, I've been going through "physics withdrawal" -- as you can imagine there's not much math/deep thinking when you're trying to take care of 20 patients with multiple medical problems at once! But in the field of radiology, there is a lot of new technology being developed (MRI, CT-guided minimally invasive techniques) that really is the wave of the future. I hope to go back to physics someday (maybe get a masters/PhD) and combine my many interests into an academic career in radiology.
Anyways, I really have to emphasize that I can't begin to describe how wonderful I feel that I've come across such a cool group of thinkers here in Cleveland. You all have been voicing what I've always thought were my own, lone musings. It is, more than anything, a huge relief to see such a cool outlet to share and discuss. So... thank you to the organizers, and thanks to everyone who's involved!
I would absolutely love to meet you all in person. The only reason, as you can imagine, that I haven't been able to make it to the meetings, is that medicine internship is a rough year. I have been on-call a lot since starting, but my September rotation is relatively easier. I really hope to share more in the discussions, and would be delighted to lend a few of my own musings that I've collected over the years.
To start with I will say that you cannot underestimate the power of how kids are raised by their parents. I come from a family of scientists -- my father is theoretical chemist and staunch atheist, and my mother is a doctor -- and I grew up in a house where we talked about religion, history, ethics, philosophy, and science at family dinnertime. Popular topics of conversation at my house: "Can the conflict between science and religion be solved?" -- "How far can physics go towards understanding the objective universe?" -- "What can we learn from the history of religion?" -- "The nature of morality" -- "Why are people so religious in the first place?" -- etc, etc, etc. The OPENNESS of my parents to ensure that no one belief system was drilled into me, and that rather I should learn about ALL religions/beliefs/ways of life and -- above all -- come to my own critically-thought-out conclusions has made all the difference in my life. The emphasis in my household was always on the power of rationality, critical thinking, reason, and responsibility of one's own life. Not only did this help me become a staunch rationalist and deep humanist, it was also an empowering message to a young girl to tell her she can be anything she dares to be.
Our house is filled with literally hundreds of books, starting with a small collection of literature, philosophy, religion, and science books that I began collecting as a teenager. You can't beat 10 cent library book sales! It's the cheapest and fastest way to building a unique personal library that, for me has been expanding exponentially since I was 15. Now, my brother who is 15 years old, is reaping the rewards by having a neat collection of great thinkers just a bookshelf away.
Well, I think I have babbled on long enough. There is way, way, way, more I can say but I have to be at the hospital early tomorrow and this e-mail is already quite long. I will leave you all with a website of rationality, atheism, and reason that I check on a regular basis:
Also, if you haven't already heard of it, check out the Beyond Belief conference website which has complete videos of the entire 2006 conference -- an awesome gathering of the foremost thinkers in science/religion/philosophy:
I sincerely hope to make it to a meeting in the very near future. Truly I am very excited to get to know all of you! Looking forward to it.
On 8/3/07, charles pervo <[address removed]> wrote:
Thanks - we are glad you liked it!
---- Maude <[address removed]
> Hi Charles,
> I was delighted with the program. Dr. Krauss is a very entertaining speaker
> and very clear. I fell in love with physics and quantum mechanics in high
> school. I decided to go for premed so in college I thought chemistry most
> appropriate, and I didn't mind chemistry. But, there was all the math. I could and
> did do the math, but I hated the math. I wanted to be a psychiatrist and
> wasn't interested in pharmacokinetic research or anything, so I didn't see why I
> had to do all the math! So I became a journalism major instead.
> But, I continued to take physics courses for a couple years and at one point
> thought maybe I would do that. But, again, there was all that math!
> I still love physics and theoretical physics, as long as I don't have to do
> any math. So this was a perfect program for me! Apparently, however it is that
> the particles shooting around my brain align themselves, they only have an
> affinity for quarks regulating conceptual processes. LOL!
> But it was great and thank you for being so hospitable!
> ************************************** Get a sneak peek of the all-new AOL at
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