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Considered by many to be one of the leading philosophers of the 20th century, Austrian- British Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951), had a major influence on logic, logical positivism, as well as on the philosophy of mathematics, mind, and language.
John Searle is Slusser Professor of Philosophy and Mills Professor of Philosophy of Mind and Language at the University of California at Berkeley, and the author of numerous books on, among other subjects, consciousness, social reality, mind, language, and society.

Simply Charly: What were the prevailing branches and schools of thought in philosophy in the early decades of the 20th century, before Wittgenstein made his mark? John Searle: Any answer that I give to this question is bound to be superficial because I cannot, in this space, cover the complexity of the history of philosophy of that period. But in very broad outline, it was something like this: In English-speaking countries, Hegelianism remained remarkably influential right into the 20th century. It was attacked quite effectively in England by G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell. In the United States, it was replaced by the pragmatism of Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. A development that occurred in the late 19th century was decisive for the subsequent history of philosophy, especially in the English-speaking countries, but it was not widely known until well into the 20th century, and that is the work of Gottlob Frege, a German philosopher, and mathematician. Frege revolutionized the subject of logic simply by inventing the predicate calculus, a form of logic that was vastly superior to traditional Aristotelian logic, and Frege’s logic has remained the standard logic to the present time. He also invented the philosophy of language as we now understand it by giving a more profound conception of language and meaning than anyone had given before. In any case, Russell and Wittgenstein were both aware of Frege’s work and used it in their early work. Wittgenstein’s first book, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (in German: Logisch Philosophische Abhandlung), was very much part of the Russellian project of trying to analyze the essential nature of language. Because the form of the analysis was to reduce the complex phenomena to simpler phenomena, Russell’s project became known as “logical atomism.” Wittgenstein’s work was not well known until the publication of his first book the Tractatus in 1922, but I think that from that point on, it was remarkably influential. I will say more about it later. SC: Wittgenstein became interested in philosophy after studying mathematics first. How did his background in mathematics and logic influence his philosophical outlook? JS: Strictly speaking, Wittgenstein was a student of engineering, not mathematics. When he was a student at Manchester, he became interested in the nature of the mathematics that he was using as an engineer, and he asked his teachers various questions about the foundations of mathematics they were unable to answer. But they told him that there was a man in Cambridge, Bertrand Russell, who worked on these issues in the foundations of mathematics. Wittgenstein then went to Russell. They had a series of discussions that convinced Bertrand Russell that Wittgenstein was a genius, and he encouraged him to pursue a philosophical career. Wittgenstein’s philosophical researches were interrupted because he served in the Austrian army in the First World War. And according to the legend, at least, he kept working on the Tractatus while he was actually at the Front and later in a prison camp. He continued his interest in the philosophy of mathematics until the very end of his life, and according to some accounts (I am not sure if they are completely accurate), he regarded his book Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics to be his most important contribution to philosophy. Certainly, the profession has not treated it that way. It is an important work but not as important as Philosophical Investigations. SC: Tractatus is widely considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century. But the Philosophical Investigations advances notably different philosophical ideas. Which of the two works, in your view, better represents the true essence of Wittgenstein’s thoughts? JS: Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, as represented by Philosophical Investigations, is a much more influential and, in the long-run, a more important work than the Tractatus. The Tractatus is a powerful and elegant expression of a certain conception of language. Wittgenstein asked, “How is it possible for language to represent?” And his answer is that it is only possible because there is a certain isomorphism between the structure of the sentence and the structure of the fact represented by the sentence. There is a kind of matching relationship which makes language (and thought) possible at all. In the Investigations, he abandons the idea altogether that there is such a thing as the essence of language. There is just an indefinite variety of uses of language, which he called different “language games” that people play with language. So, it is not so much that he rejected the answer given by the Tractatus but that he rejected the very question. He once said in his later years that the Tractatus was like a machine that didn’t work or like a clock that didn’t keep accurate time, but, as he said, it is definitely not just a hunk of junk. wittgenstein JS: Philosophy is not a monolithic field. Is there cohesiveness or at least common ground among different branches and schools of thought, or a total divergence of ideologies among them? JS: Again, as with the first question, this does not admit of an accurate summary answer. But roughly speaking, the conception that most philosophers have today is something like the following: Internationally, there are two broad schools of thought or two broad ways of doing philosophy. These are called “Analytic Philosophy,” which is the sort of philosophy I do and which is dominant in English-speaking countries as well as some parts of Europe, and so-called “Continental Philosophy,” which is still influential and perhaps even dominant in large parts of Europe. Analytic philosophy is easier to characterize than Continental philosophy. The original idea of Analytic philosophy in its purest traditional form was that philosophy consisted primarily in the analysis of meaning. So the study of language was essential to philosophy in general, and indeed some analytic philosophers would have said that philosophy is simply a certain type of study of language. I don’t think many analytic philosophers would agree with that today but the idea that the aim of philosophy is analysis, to analyze the structure of language, thought, society, ethics, etc., is a dominant conception in Analytic philosophy. Continental philosophy is much harder to characterize, and there are many different strands. Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger are very important figures in Continental philosophy, but they are much less important in Analytic philosophy. I will not try to summarize their views because I do not understand them well enough, and I do not think they write very clearly. There is, of course, some overlap between so-called Analytic philosophy and Continental philosophy. Both are interested in language, though usually from a very different point of view. So, for example, mathematical logic is very important in Analytic philosophy, but it has very little importance in Continental philosophy, where the study of literary uses of language is by many philosophers taken as central. One of the products of Continental philosophy is something called ‘Critical Theory.’ There is, of course, a kind of category mistake in dividing schools of philosophy by using terminology that opposes the methodological to the geographical. It is as if one said there are two kinds of things that go on in the United States, business, and Kansas. But all the same, this is the terminology that people currently use. SC: Generally speaking, do different schools of philosophies reflect (and thus evolve with) the historical context in which a given philosopher lives, or do individual philosophies emerge based on the philosopher’s personal experience(s)? How does this pertain to Wittgenstein? JS: All philosophy is historically situated, and no philosopher I know seriously believes that you can totally escape from the historical context in which you are working. Having said that, of course, philosophy, whether you like it or not, is always an expression of the intelligence and sensibility of individual philosophers. Characteristic of Analytic philosophy has been its concern with developments in science, mathematics, psychology, and other disciplines, and indeed for most analytic philosophers, there is no sharp distinction between philosophy and other disciplines. Now Wittgenstein, I believe, was very much opposed to the scientism that characterized intellectual life generally, and he thought that philosophy ought to be pure; it ought not to be an extension of science by other means. He thought that philosophy had a special domain in which there should be an attempt to solve puzzles that are generated by a failure to understand the actual operations of language. “Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language,” he wrote. He thought that it was a terrible flaw in our culture that we believed science was the right model for all knowledge and understanding. So Wittgenstein was a child of his time, and was shaped by a distinctively European set of experiences, but he had an original and powerful vision of philosophy and of its importance in human life, and he opposed what he took to be the worship of the sciences he thought was part of our modern sickness. SC: A somewhat related question: In an interview with Boston Globe last year, you said that in the 17th century, the theory of knowledge was the core of philosophy. But now, the center of philosophical debate is philosophy of mind. Is there a way of predicting philosophical trends of the 21st century? JS: I honestly think there is no way to make such predictions. But one can give a statement of one’s intentions about one’s own future, and I can tell you what I do and what I intend to keep doing. I think the central question in philosophy today is how to reconcile a certain conception that we have of ourselves with what we know for a fact about how the world works independently of us. We have a pretty adequate conception of the physical features of the world from physics, chemistry, and other so-called hard sciences. But at the same time, we have a conception of ourselves as mindful, conscious, rational, free-will having, speech act performing, political, aesthetic, and ethical beings. How do these two relate? How do we get an account of the human reality which is not only consistent with but shows it to be a natural development of the basic facts as described by the hard sciences? Though I was working on this question for years without knowing that this was the question I was working on, I think it is the central question in philosophy today. Most of my important work has been dedicated to addressing different aspects of it. So, for example, for me, one aim of the philosophy of language is to show how language is a natural biological phenomenon. Similarly, the philosophy of mind that I work on advocates an overthrow of the traditional distinction between mind and body. There is just the world we all live in and among its basic physical features are neurobiological processes capable of causing and sustaining consciousness and intent. I think these questions will continue to obsess philosophers for the coming decades, but no one should pretend to predict what is going to be the dominant philosophical trend of the 21st century. SC: How do today’s philosophers like yourself determine who the “greatest” philosopher of all time had been? Is this a purely subjective call based on your own affinities, or is there a common agreement borne out of a philosopher’s contributions and advancement of knowledge? JS: I don’t think it is useful to worry about who was “the greatest philosopher of all time.” We are not, in this profession, issuing prizes. All the same, in the Western philosophical tradition, there are certain people of such towering achievement, that they cannot be ignored or neglected by anyone who cares about this subject. Three towering geniuses in this tradition are Plato, Aristotle, and Kant. What made them so important? Well, I would say it was three features: One is that they simply had stunning philosophical intelligence. The second is that they had a comprehensiveness, unusual in philosophy. That is, each of those three philosophers essentially addressed all, or nearly all, of the main areas of philosophy. A third feature that is harder to characterize exactly, is that each had a kind of profundity. Each addressed questions in a way that went beyond the surface manifestation and tried to get to the bottom of the issues. For sheer intelligence, probably the most intelligent philosopher who ever lived and perhaps the most intelligent human being who ever lived was Gottfried Leibniz. But Leibniz’s actual doctrines are extremely implausible. And though he made important contributions to a lot of fields (for example, along with Newton he invented the calculus), his purely philosophical work is today regarded as mostly of historical interest. Wittgenstein was a very great philosopher, but he is not in the same class as the people I mentioned. For example, his work is not comprehensive in the way that most of the great giants of the past were. He has very little to say about ethics and political philosophy, for example. SC: Who are some current philosophers whose thinking has been heavily influenced by Wittgenstein’s, and also, how relevant are his theories in the 21st century? JS: Wittgenstein’s influence is pervasive, but it is often indirect. People have a certain sensitivity about language which they would not have had without the work of Wittgenstein. But at the same time, they don’t practice the study of language in a way that Wittgenstein would have found congenial or would have approved of. I am an example of precisely that. I think we ought to try to get a general theory of language. Wittgenstein thought such a theory was impossible. But at the same time, the work that I do builds on the type of work that Wittgenstein did. Specifically, Wittgenstein attacked the idea that we should think of “meaning” as the name of some introspected mental process, some mental process accompanying the use of words. I think his arguments against that conception are decisive, but now, having accepted his skeptical conclusion about the introspective mental account of meaning, how do we then give a general theory of meaning? And that is something I try to do, even though I think he would not have approved of it. If we are asking for names of specific philosophers who have been influenced by Wittgenstein, there are so many, one hardly knows where to start. But let me mention three. My colleague Barry Stroud, I think, is self-consciously influenced by Wittgenstein. Stanley Cavell is also very much, in important respects, a follower of Wittgenstein. And Richard Rorty, though again he did a lot of things I think Wittgenstein would have found uncongenial, nonetheless self-consciously saw himself as engaged in the type of philosophical enterprise that Wittgenstein was engaged in. SC: It was Einstein’s longtime wish to complete a “theory of everything,” uniting the four fundamental forces of nature into one theory. Has there been a similar movement in philosophy, and if so, with what results? JS: One of the commonest urges in philosophy is to try to get a general theory that will accommodate all philosophical problems using a unified conceptual apparatus and a common philosophical method. Many of the great metaphysicians held exactly this sort of conception of philosophy. One thinks of Aristotle, Kant, Leibniz, and Hegel as examples of precisely this sort of universalizing tendency. Philosophers in the Anglo-Saxon tradition have been less prone to try to get a theory of everything, but some of them indeed had such ambition, even though it was less grand than the great Continental metaphysicians. A famous example is David Hume, who wrote on a vast number of subjects and used a common empiricist methodology on all of them. SC: Wittgenstein’s thoughts—and the field of philosophy in general—are quite complex for a layperson to grasp. You currently teach Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of Society at Berkeley. How do you make these subject matters not only easy for students to understand, but also compelling? JS. I do not try to make these subjects “easy for students to understand” nor “compelling.” On the contrary, I hope it is obvious to them that I am obsessed with these issues, and I try to explain to them as clearly as I can what the issues are and what are the possible solutions to the questions that have been posed. I think the subjects are so desperately important that it is not necessary to try to explain their importance. Questions such as the nature of the human mind and consciousness and how they relate to the rest of the world seem to me to be a natural thing for any intelligent person to care about, and I don’t have to convince my students of their importance. Similarly, the philosophy of society as I teach it, involves the basic structure, the basic ontology of the human social reality of money, property, government, marriage, universities, cocktail parties, etc. And again, I don’t think it is at all necessary to try to make these issues compelling. They simply are compelling as they are. I realize that some students are bored by the whole thing but then those people are not likely to want to take courses from me. I am struck by both the intelligence of my students and by their high level of motivation. One often hears how dreadful intellectual life is today and that the students today are supposed to have fallen away from the higher standards of the past, but that has not been my experience. The students I teach today are as good as any I have ever taught, and in many respects, they are even better. Just about the worst thing we can do as teachers of philosophy—and I think Wittgenstein would have agreed with this—is to give our students the impression that they understand something when they really do not understand it. I would much rather my students went away thinking that there was a lot they did not understand than thinking they understood everything. Having said that, I wish to add that clarity is essential to good philosophy. My aim is not to make difficult problems seem easy, but to express difficult ideas clearly.

Considered by many to be one of the leading philosophers of the 20th century, Austrian- British Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951), had a major influence on logic, logical positivism, as well as on ...

Considered to be the most influential physicist of the 20th century, Albert Einstein (1879–1955) developed the theory of relativity and laid foundations for modern quantum mechanics.
Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Frank Wilczek is a theoretical physicist who won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics for a discovery in the world of quarks, the building blocks of the atomic nucleus. His latest book is A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature's Deep Design.

Simply Charly: In 2004 you won the Nobel Prize for a discovery in the world of quarks, the building blocks of the atomic nucleus. Was this a concept known to Albert Einstein and, if so, what was his contribution to it? Frank Wilczek: Einstein's direct contribution to nuclear physics was basically zero. He spent the last thirty years of his life trying to find a “unified field theory,” but he seems to have hoped that gravitational and electromagnetic forces would supply all the clues he needed to build such a theory. The strong force that holds together an atomic nucleus is the most powerful force in nature, but it was the last to be understood. The quark concept didn't emerge until a few years after Einstein's death. The breakthrough in my Nobel Prize work, which provided the basic equations governing quarks and predicted the properties of the gluons that connect them, came in 1973 (when I was 21-years-old). It established the theory known as quantum chromodynamics or QCD. SC: Which of Einstein’s theories or works do you consider the most groundbreaking in relation to your own work? FW: The concepts of special relativity, and especially the non-conservation of mass, really come into their own in QCD. Perhaps the most dramatic result is that we fulfill the promise of Einstein's “second law” m = E/c2 (his first law being E = mc2). That is, we explain how most of the mass of matter arises from energy. The quarks inside protons and neutrons practically have zero mass, and the gluons have strictly zero mass. The mass of protons and neutrons, which is most of the mass of normal matter, arises almost entirely from the energy (motion) of what's inside. Einstein would have enjoyed that, I think. Less tangible, but even more profound, is the triumph of a style of thinking Einstein pioneered. His work in special relativity, and even more his work in general relativity, emphasized the power of symmetry as a guide to guessing new laws of physics. QCD, like general relativity, is based on equations that have enormous mathematical symmetry. Otherwise, we could not have found them. SC: Physicists today use very sophisticated instruments to study and measure the universe. What instruments, if any, did Einstein use in his work? FW: The most sophisticated instrument we have: a human brain. Also a pencil, paper, and trash can. I'm sure that if computers had been available, Einstein would have used them to help with calculations. SC: At the end of his life, Einstein became isolated from the scientific community. Why? FW: Einstein went into a kind of self-imposed intellectual exile, starting long before the end of his life. In his early middle age he developed some very strong intuitions—or, you could say, prejudices—about the sorts of things he should work on, and the sort of approach he should take, that were out of touch with the way physics was developing. He hoped to achieve a comprehensive unified field theory, something like a "Theory of Everything" in today's idiom, by building up from the classical field theories of gravity (i.e., general relativity) and electromagnetism. Einstein didn't like the way quantum theory developed after 1925, and he didn't pay much attention to nuclear physics, as I already mentioned. But precisely those subjects dominated research in fundamental physics in the decades following 1925, and there was spectacular progress in them. So basically Einstein continued doing 1924-style physics for thirty years after 1924, and the frontier passed him by. [caption id="attachment_28800" align="aligncenter" width="770"]Albert Einstein Albert Einstein[/caption] SC: Why did Einstein loathe the implications of quantum mechanics? FW: This question belongs to psychology more than physics. There was certainly no empirical reason for his distaste—on the contrary, quantum mechanics went from success to brilliant success. Einstein apparently just didn't like the way probability enters into the laws of quantum theory, and he may have sensed difficulties in reconciling quantum theory with his baby, relativity. A normal scientific reaction would have been to respect the overwhelming success of what people were doing in quantum theory, assimilate that work, and try to tinker with it (maybe hoping to remove the probabilities) or build on it (to include relativity). In fact, we know that great results were there to be had along those directions, such as the Bell inequalities and the Dirac equation. But instead of trying to tinker or build, Einstein went into denial. SC: It seems we reached a point where we can’t use theories to explain the physics, so instead we modify reality to fit the theory. Case in point: the current string theories and membrane theories that seem to fall apart if we don’t include particles and forms of energy which we have not yet been able to detect. To a layperson, it looks as if the prevailing attitude of modern physicists is that if a given theory doesn’t work, create a particle, dimension, or force that will. What is your take on this? FW: There's a glorious history of physicists introducing new entities for theoretical reasons, which only later are confirmed to be features of reality. New forms of “light”—radio, microwave, infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays, and y-rays—appeared in Maxwell's equations long before they appeared in laboratories, homes, or hospitals. Similarly, antimatter first appeared in Dirac's equation; neutrinos in Pauli's imagination and Fermi's equations; gluons in the equations of QCD; and I could cite many more examples. I hope—and expect!—that particles that appear in our equations for cosmic superconductivity (the so-called Higgs particles) and in our equations for supersymmetry will materialize at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) within the next few years. But this history does not give us a license to modify reality, or to turn up our nose at it. The job of physics is to describe reality. So if the Higgs particles don't show up, or the supersymmetric particles don't show up, or (another of my favorites) axions don't show up—well, then the corresponding theories are wrong, or at least useless as physics. The same applies to string theory, where people perhaps have got carried away. SC: A theory that Einstein spent the last 30 years of his life trying to find was the one that would unify electromagnetism with gravity. To this day, the search is still on for a unifying theory of gravitational force and the location of the graviton—a hypothetical elementary particle that transmits the force of gravity. Why is the search for the graviton so important, and how will the graviton unite the seemingly incompatible theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics? FW: First, it's just not true that general relativity and quantum mechanics are incompatible. It's perfectly straightforward to use them both together, and practicing astrophysicists do that every day, quite successfully. Our equations run into problems—they develop singularities—in certain ultra-extreme conditions (black hole centers, the initial nano-nanosecond of the big bang), and more generally they are incomplete in many ways, some connected with gravity, most not; but simply to say that general relativity and quantum mechanics are incompatible gives a very wrong impression. In particular, it's also easy to write down the equations for gravitons, the quanta of the gravitational field, using the same procedures we use to write down the equations for photons as the quanta of the electromagnetic field or gluons as the quanta of QCD fields. The theory of gravitons tells you what it takes to detect them, and it's just very hard to do, as a practical matter. The same was once true for radio waves and neutrinos, which experimentalists eventually got a grip on, and unfortunately, it's true for my beloved axions too. I actually think it would be more important and interesting to detect axions than gravitons, because there's less certainty about them. SC: Einstein once said: “I want to know God's thoughts—the rest are mere details.” Yet, in a letter only recently made public, which he had written in 1954 to philosopher Eric Gutkind, Einstein said: “The word ‘God’ is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses.” Is it possible for a physicist to reconcile science and religion? FW: If what you understand by “God” is flexible enough, and what you mean by “reconcile” is loose enough, of course, it's possible to reconcile God with physics. My own attitude is that the best, and really the only reliable information we have about “God” is the nature of the world She (or He or They or It) created—if you think about it that way at all. SC: It was Einstein’s longtime wish to complete a “theory of everything,” (TOE), which would extend general relativity and unite the known forces in the universe. This idea still fascinates the brightest minds in physics, and some believe that string theory is the closest we have come to TOE. Assuming that the still-elusive TOE is the ultimate explanation of the universe at its most microscopic level and that physicists would one day discover it, where would physicists go from there? FW: I very much dislike the phrase “Theory of Everything.” I'm not sure exactly what physicists who use that phrase mean by it, but it certainly isn't the plain meaning of the words. For example, understanding how minds work is obviously a very important part of understanding Everything, and I don't believe extending general relativity or uniting the forces will help with that problem at all. So physicists who talk about a "Theory of Everything" are talking in a deliberately misleading way whose arrogance rightly offends many people, and I wish they would stop it. There's also an intellectual danger involved. As we've discussed, the later part of Einstein's career—more than half, chronologically, covering thirty years—was devoted to (let's call it) Theory of Everything physics, and it was essentially fruitless. During Einstein's great creative period he dealt with much more specific, less grandiose problems. His special theory of relativity came out of worrying about technical difficulties in the electrodynamics of moving bodies. His general theory of relativity came out of worrying about how to make a theory of gravity consistent with special relativity. His pioneering work on Brownian motion and Bose-Einstein statistics came out of worrying about the relationship between fundamental physics and thermodynamics; specifically, about fluctuations. His seminal work on photons came out of thinking about specific, puzzling experimental results, notably the observed spectrum of blackbody radiation. It's tempting, but deeply wrong, to fall into the syllogism: “Einstein tried to find a Theory of Everything, and failed; I've tried to find a Theory of Everything, and failed; therefore I am like Einstein.” A much better phrase is the one Steven Weinberg uses, “Final Theory.” At least, it's pretty clear what that means. It's possible that at some point theoretical physicists will reach a consensus that they've got equations for basic physical processes that are both correct and as complete as scientific investigation will ever achieve. That would mean the end of a certain kind of physics, namely the kind that seeks new equations for basic processes. I don't think we're at that point yet, by a long shot. There are many reasons we should be looking for better equations, a few of which I've touched on above. In any case, even if physicists achieved a final theory in Weinberg's sense, most of science, including most of physics, would continue to thrive, little if at all affected. The problem of understanding minds would still be there, the problems of understanding particular materials and particular astrophysical objects, the problems of designing better ways to capture and store energy, of building quantum computers, and many, many, many others. SC: What projects are you working on currently? FW: I've recently put out papers on some cosmological consequences of axions that might be observed; on some qualitatively new kinds of particles (tetraquarks) whose existence I think QCD suggests; and on some new possibilities for the basic properties of excitations in matter at low temperature ("anyon" quantum statistics). I'm continuing to work hard on that third subject, partly because it might be important for making quantum computers, but to be honest mostly because it's interesting mathematically and gives scope for creativity. Because I've been traveling, giving a lot of lectures, and writing a popular book recently—winning a Nobel Prize is very disruptive!—I've developed a backlog of new ideas that I haven't had time to convince myself are worthless, so I'm working on that list. I'm also writing a mystery novel, which involves physics, but I'm not going to give away the story here. SUGGESTED READING [table id=24 /]

Considered to be the most influential physicist of the 20th century, Albert Einstein (1879–1955) developed the theory of relativity and laid foundations for modern quantum mechanics.

Carlini Media, a fast-growing multimedia company spearheaded by musician and entrepreneur Charles Carlini, has launched a new online educational division that will focus on the art, science, music, literature, philosophy, architectural, political and economic world's leading historical figures. Currently covering such legends as Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, W.B. Yeats, Pablo Picasso, Le Corbusier, Igor Stravinsky and Salvador Dali—and with dozens more planned for the near future, including Elvis, Napoleon, Kafka, and Darwin. Simply Charly's mission is to become a one-stop source for everything one desires to know about the groundbreaking individuals it covers. Inquiring minds seeking to learn more about the historical world's most notable movers and shakers can do so online at When the Council for Basic Education—a nonprofit organization that advocates for liberal arts subjects—conducted a study a few years back, 33 percent of school principals predicted that they would witness decreases in the time their districts devote to the arts over the next two years. This trend was even more highly anticipated in schools with large percentages of minority students, where 42 percent of principals made the same dire prediction. Since that survey, those prognostications have, sadly, been becoming a reality in public schools across the nation. In the years since, liberal art subjects like foreign languages, music and art history have taken major hits, but even other non-essential electives like political science and economics have experienced cutbacks. As a musician himself, Simply Charly's founder, Charles Carlini, is personally pained by this arts-related educational decline…so much so that he decided to do something about it. Says Carlini of his latest entrepreneurial endeavor, "I developed the Simply Charly suite of sites to be a fun, accessible, interactive and engaging learning experience. Designed for all ages, they aim to buck the current educational trend that emphasizes reading, writing, and math at the expense of art, music and other personally enriching electives." The Simply Charly portals more than live up to their fun and engaging mission. The first thing that visitors to the sites will notice greeting them is a lively caricature version of the historical figure they've come to learn about. From there, a clean layout with "About," "News," "Multimedia," "Works" and "Links" tabs points browsers to accurate and thorough coverage of the featured historical individual. In this way, Simply Charly hopes to supplement the liberal arts education that so many of today's public schoolchildren are missing out on. To further accomplish this aim, the company has employed experts from the world's top universities to answer user-submitted questions. Answers to "Ask The Expert" requests will be supplied within 48 hours of receipt.

Carlini Media, a fast-growing multimedia company spearheaded by musician and entrepreneur Charles Carlini, has launched a new online educational division that will focus on the art, science, music, li...

A pioneer in the world of cinema, the work of Charlie Chaplin defined the silent film era: while he was not the only master of physical comedy of the day, his Little Tramp character has become the best-known and most-beloved. He helped to stretch the bounds of filmmaking even before synchronized dialogue was added, doing more with the limited technology of the day than many would have done with twice as much. In addition to his work on-screen, he co-founded United Artists with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. Griffith, among the earliest filmmakers to seek creative control over their work in an industry that—then and now—has been dominated by financial types.
For more than 45 years, Richard Schickel has been a film critic, documentary filmmaker, and movie historian. He has written 37 books, has held a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has been recognized with numerous awards for his contributions to film history. A critic for Life and Time magazines for 43 years, he now reviews movies at
Among his many books, Schickel has written The Essential Chaplin: Perspectives on the Life and Art of the Great Comedian. He also produced a documentary about Chaplin, entitled Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin.

Simply Charly: In your book, The Essential Chaplin: Perspectives on the Life and Art of the Great Comedian, you call Charlie Chaplin "the most famous man in the world" in his time. What do you think made him so universally popular, and what set him apart from other actors of his day? Richard Schickel: Chaplin was present at the creation of the movies. He began appearing in them as they made the transition from short films to feature-length, which made him, along with Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., one of the movies' first superstars. Film was, in those days, central to the creation of the modern celebrity system. The instant replication of star imagery in hundreds of prints circulated simultaneously all over the world made the famous more famous than ever much more quickly. And the ancillary celebrity media—newspapers, magazines, even merchandising—were also ready and waiting, at this moment, to amplify that imagery. Beyond that, Chaplin's screen character had a universal appeal. He was an everyman with whom everyone could identify. Finally, the intellectual community took him up. He seemed to be an artist, which the movies had never had before, and he gave this new medium respectability and credibility it had not had before. The movies needed him almost as much as he needed the movies. Competitors would emerge in the 1920s, but he had been there first, and there was a richness and purity in his screen character that the merely beautiful, the merely sexy, could not match. Later, when his production pace slackened, and he was threatened by the arrival of sound, people remained as fascinated by his fame and by his struggles to assert himself in what was essentially a new medium. SC: How did Chaplin "invent" the Little Tramp character, and his signature outfit of baggy pants, a cutaway coat and vest, large, worn-out shoes, and a battered derby hat? RS: He always said he more or less instinctively grabbed the costume and props from what was around Mack Sennett's studio. Maybe so. But in a lot of his early films, he experimented with different personae—a swell, a dandy, a drunk. It took him a few years to settle definitively on The Little Fellow. People liked him well enough when he was not playing The Tramp—he would have been some sort of (silent) movie star without that character. But that figure was lovable in ways that transcended mere stardom. SC: Why did Chaplin refuse to make a talkie featuring the Little Tramp, even though the technological innovations made the transition from silent to talking films possible? RS: The Little Fellow was a creature of silence. Chaplin's genius—and he was assuredly a genius—was largely a kinetic one. He could say anything he needed to say through pantomime; he did not need words to get what he wanted to say across. So talking was superfluous to him. And given that his voice—rather thin and prissy—was antithetical to The Tramp's character, sound was an option that justifiably frightened him. So though the mass public was enamored of sound, it was willing to cut him a break. The first films he made during the sound era were every bit as successful as his silent films had been. SC: Why did he decide to "retire" the Tramp in Modern Times? Did he or the public have enough of the character? RS: I don't think it was a conscious decision. But The Tramp's essentially Edwardian world was disappearing, replaced by industrialism, modernism, evil political forces—the very forces he satirized in Modern Times. It became increasingly difficult for him to escape down the open roads that had been available to him in his younger years. Also, by the late thirties and forties, he was a portly, middle-aged man, lacking the quickness and insouciance of his youth. He toyed with various ideas that would have brought back The Tramp. The Great Dictator was surely a close variant on The Tramp—but by this time he wanted to make grand philosophical statements, which required words. He was not good with them. He was verbose, repetitive, and unfunny. So I don't think he was tired of The Tramp (and the public surely was not). He just seemed irrelevant to Chaplin's changing body and priorities. SC: How did Chaplin get along with other comedic film stars of his time, for example, Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy? RS: He respected Keaton without being particularly close to him, as he was with other movie star peers. But aside from Doug Fairbanks, who was his best friend, he was not wildly interested in Hollywood celebrities. He was after much grander figures—Einstein, Churchill, et al.—people whose fame was not, as he saw it, merely frivolous. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Charlie Chaplin Charlie Chaplin[/caption] SC: Is it true that Chaplin often inserted elements of his own life into his films and if so, which ones were the most biographical? RS: In the largest sense, all of his work drew on his life. He had been living on the streets, on his wits, since his childhood as a virtual orphan in London and I'm sure that incidents from that life were incorporated, in embroidered form, in his films. For example, he perfectly reproduced the fence where he had courted his first serious girlfriend, for his meetings with the blind flower girl in City Lights. But it was the emotions he had felt, more than the places he had been, that informed The Tramp. It seems that The Kid is the film that most perfectly captures the child he had been. Jackie Coogan was the projection of Chaplin as a child, and the character Chaplin plays represents the loving parents—taken from him by death and madness—that he only briefly knew and all his life yearned for. SC: By the same token, many critics say that the messages of Chaplin's films were inseparable from his own convictions, which were openly liberal. Which of his films express Chaplin's personal beliefs the best? RS: Chaplin was no mere liberal. He was in his later years, a Stalinist, that is to say, he embraced totalitarian leftism. He sometimes spoke guiltily about having become a rich man by playing a desperately poor man. Most of his audience—with the exception of the lunatic right—forgave him his politics out of affection for his genius and the apolitical gifts that had endeared him to the world. SC: Do we know what was Hitler's reaction to being mocked by Chaplin in The Great Dictator? RS: Hitler, of course, hated Chaplin and his films were banned in Germany from the earliest days of the Nazi regime. I doubt that Hitler saw The Great Dictator. The Nazi leader was convinced that Chaplin was a Jew (almost certainly not so) and Chaplin gave a great answer to that opinion. "I do not have that honor," he said. There are people like David Thomson, the film historian, who insist that they were in some perverse sense kindred spirits—given their ability to manipulate the feelings of the mass audience. I'm dubious about that, given that Chaplin's appeal was non-verbal, while Hitler's was purely verbal, and given that their political views were diametrically opposite. They did share the historical accident of being born in the same week in the same year (1889) and, of course, there were those mustaches. SC: What sparked your own interest in Charlie Chaplin? RS: As a film critic and historian, I naturally knew much of Chaplin's work, but in a rather casual way. He was not a passion of mine, probably because he achieved the height of his fame before I was born and because I am always dubious about sentiment in movies—indeed, in any kind of fiction. But in 2001, Warner Brothers acquired the rights to distribute Chaplin's films and invited me to make a documentary film—a biography intended to reintroduce Chaplin to an audience that had, like me, rather lost touch with him in recent years. As I studied his work and talked to people who had known and worked with him, my admiration for his achievements rose radically. He was a difficult and not entirely agreeable man—I don't think I would particularly have liked knowing him—but he was a great artist whose successes far outweighed his latter-day failures, and I now count myself among his more devoted admirers. SC: Which of his movies are your favorites? RS: The Kid, The Circus, and City Lights.

A pioneer in the world of cinema, the work of Charlie Chaplin defined the silent film era: while he was not the only master of physical comedy of the day, his Little Tramp character has become the ...

Although inspired by Renaissance masters, Spanish painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and designer Salvador Dali (1904-1989) is known to the general public for his bizarre and eccentric surrealist images. To this day, his versatile style and imagery exert considerable influence on artists the world over. Founder and president of the Salvador Dali Society, Joe Nuzzolo is one of the foremost Dali experts. He is solely responsible for building the largest known private collection of Dalí works in the world, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, and graphics.
Simply Charly: Before he became drawn to Surrealism, did Salvador Dali experiment with any other styles? Joseph Nuzzolo: “I’m an Impressionist” once claimed a young Salvador Dali. Impressionism was the first art form he embraced. In keeping with his philosophy that “first one must learn to paint like the masters,” he sought to paint in the manner of Renoir, Monet, and Cezanne. Much in the Impressionist spirit, his first paintings were landscapes inspired by the port in Cadaques and the area surrounding Figueres. As he grew, his artistic brush began to follow some of the contemporary styles that were emerging, such as Dadaism and Cubism. This is evident in the works he produced during his late teens and early 20s. It is apparent that Dali’s experimentation never ceased in the continuing evolution of his life. In 1914, Dali drew Le sous-marin translated from French as “The Submarine.” In it, a jovial character with disproportionately long legs grasps a fish in one hand and a periscope in the other, as he blithely streams along above the crude vessel, though it—and everything else in this cartoon-like composition – is adroitly executed by the hand of the future Master of Surrealism. The basic, whimsical style of Le sous-marin can be legitimately compared with a series of inks on paper that a 13-year-old Dali did for his sister, Ana Maria, which likewise demonstrated his remarkable precociousness (see Salvador Dali: the early years, South Bank Centre, 1994). Early drawings such as Le sous-marin give us an instructive glimpse into the mind and technique of a young Dali, just beginning to blossom into the young man who would soon become all the rage of Cadaques, the rest of Spain, Europe, America, and the world. Even this far back in his career, we see the respect for careful draftsmanship he would never abandon as the preeminent artistic influence of the 20th century. SC: Did he admire, or was inspired by, any other art forms? If so, which ones? JN: Entire exhibitions have been dedicated to Dali and his connection to cinema. In 2007 and 2008, the exhibit Dali and Film went on from the Tate Gallery in London to tour the United States at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He made contributions early on in film with this work with Luis Bunuel in Un Chien Andalou (1929) and L’Age d’Or (1930). His love of cinema can be traced back to his childhood. When his mother was alive, she worked at the local cinema and Dali spent countless hours in the dark watching films. He would go on to work with Hitchcock, Disney, and others. In 1976, he created his own film, Impressions de la haute Mongolie. In 1985, he again participated in cinema by allowing himself to be filmed during a symposium at the Dali Museum in Figueres, which explored the connection between Dali’s paintings and the scientific discoveries of his time. If one considers science to be art form than this too was an extraordinary influence on Dali. It would take 20 years for this footage to be released to the public in the daring documentary film, The Dali Dimension.One very apparent influence is the film The Fantastic Voyage. In the mid-1960s, Dali went to see this film, where a submarine and its crew are shrunk to enter the bloodstream of a diplomat to save him from an assassination attempt. The film starred Raquel Welch and Donald Pleasance. Dali was so taken with the movie that he painted The Fantastic Voyage. Using the monochromatic colors of a dream, Dali created a pathway through a world loaded with giant Dalian icons, like a massive phone hanging in a tree and a fountain flowing from a piano. Today, The Fantastic Voyage hand signed lithograph (1965), stands as of one of Dali’s most esteemed graphic works. Dali was also influenced by Americana. He held great admiration for Currier and Ives and their highly successful series of prints depicting life in America. He was so inspired by these works that in 1971 he painted his interpretations of Currier and Ives prints. The same year these were published as seven hand-signed lithographs on paper, titled simply, Currier and Ives. In these works, Dali affixes an image by Currier and Ives on the lower part of the work and then brings it to a Dalinian life in his interpretation, which takes up nearly the entire sheet. SC: Before he developed his own style, who, aside from Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro, influenced Dali? JN: Picasso and Miro were undoubtedly Dali’s contemporary influences. But, Dali’s biggest artistic influences were the great masters; Velasquez, Raphael, Vermeer, Rembrandt. In fact, in 1974 he chose to rework paintings by Rembrandt, Velasquez, Vermeer, and Raphael in a series called The Changes in Great Masterpieces. Dali paid homage to these great artists by “Dalinizing” their most famous works. He painted a door over the head of Rembrandt to indicate Dali’s entrée into the mind of the master. He brought subtle but poignant changes to each of the works in the series. What was the 70-year-old Dali trying to say? True, he was imagining himself in the studio with these masters working as a collaborator. But by recreating HIS most famous work, The Persistence of Memory, and adding a fourth melting clock, the message becomes evident. The fourth melting clock, called the clock of immortality, disappears gloriously over the horizon. Dali was saying that when he crossed to the other side, his art would bridge his life and his death. At the age of 70, Dali was confident that he had achieved immortality in the annals of art history and was worthy of walking with the masters. To add an exclamation point to his message, he authorized limited edition lithographs of these works, which were published by Phyllis Lucas in 1974. The Changes in Great Masterpieces are six distinguished hand-signed lithographs by Salvador Dali. One cannot talk about the influences of Dali without speaking of his contemporary influences, particularly science. He said the explosion of the atom bomb “shook him seismically.” It was not the destructive force of the bomb, but rather the fact that man could build something so utterly devastating to the human race. This began Dali’s immersion into the fields of science. A little known but compelling painting, The Atomic Champagne Glass, epitomizes the influence of the atomic bomb. In it, he juxtaposes two contradictory symbols, the champagne glass, and the atomic bomb. Dali studied the writings of Einstein and Freud and expressed his enlightenment on canvas. His obsession with DNA influenced one of his famous paintings, Galacidalacidesoxyribonucleicacid. He had occasion to sit with JD Watson, who with Francis Crick founded the structure of DNA. Upon introducing himself to Dali, Watson said, “The second smartest man in the world is here to see the smartest man in the world.” A broad range of scientific discoveries and principles can be seen in the works of Dali. For a greater insight into the influence of science in Dali’s work, one must see, The Dali Dimension. Q: Dali once said: “Compared to Velázquez, I am nothing but compared to contemporary painters, I am the biggest genius of modern time.” Do you agree with this self-assessment, and what, in your view, was so unique about Dali and his genius? A: This is an interesting and enlightening quote, and it really reveals a lot about what Dali thought about modern art. When he said this, he was really commenting about two things: one, the technical aspect of art, and two, how modern artists lacked technical training and proficiency. He thought the world of Velasquez, and an argument can be made that Velasquez was Dali’s favorite painter. Dali felt that Velasquez’s technique and vision were beyond comparison. You have to realize that Dali was trained as a classical painter, and he was one of the very few successful modern artists whose technique was flawless. As for technique, Dali was the preeminent draughtsman among his contemporaries. In terms of vision, Dali was really one of the first pop artists. I believe he paved the way for Andy Warhol, who incorporated pop icons into his works. In 1965, Dali created a magnificent work titled, The Lucky Number of Dali. While technically sophisticated, the work also exhibits the splash of a Jackson Pollack. He inscribes the work throughout with the number “85” a seemingly meaningless number until one realizes that Dali died when he was 85. For this reason, many today consider this work to be prophetic. This masterly work, which he produced as a limited edition lithograph, is an indication that with his flawless technique, Dali could cross any boundaries. SC: In what way was Dali’s style different from other Surrealists of his era? JN: As we look back today and talk about the Surrealist movement, we can say that “surrealism” was more of an umbrella term that covered many different things, as opposed to a term that clearly defined an art form. We can look at a Miró and call him a surrealist, but clearly, his style differed greatly from Magritte and Dali. All surrealists took their inspiration from the sub-conscious mind and tried to extract some expression of art from it. A cross-section of artwork defined as “surrealism” reveals that the journey into the subconscious manifested itself differently for each artist. Dali’s particular brand of surrealism, or Dalinian art, is difficult to categorize. One thing that amazes me about his paintings, and something that I think sets him apart from the other surrealists, is amount of information in each image. For example, a painting like the Metamorphosis of Narcissus is a delicately balanced symphony of different imagery. The messages one can draw from this painting are so abundant and diverse; it could be said that the painting changes with the viewer. SC: Is Surrealism still a force in the 21st-century art world, and, if so, who among the modern Surrealists have been influenced by Dali? JN: Few artists today would label themselves as strictly “Surrealists.” Still, you would be hard-pressed to find an artist alive today who has not been influenced by Salvador Dali. Jeff Koons has publicly proclaimed that Salvador Dali had influenced his body of work. Dali’s sculpture, The Bust of Kennedy (1971), which is a bust of JFK, with the paper clips of bureaucracy stuck to his head, has striking similarities to works by Koons. The art movements like the Lowbrow movement and the Comic movement all owe some debt to Dali. I find the ghost of Dali when thumbing through the pages Juxtapoz and Art News. But his presence can also be felt in mainstream publications like Time and Newsweek. Film Directors like Spike Jones, Michel Gondry, and David Lynch are making “Surrealist” films. The influence of Dali can be seen in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and The Fisher King. Had Gilliam finished his film, Don Quixote, his homage to Dali would have been immortalized, as Dali depicted Don Quixote on numerous occasions, most poignantly in his 1965 lithograph, The Face in the Windmill. While the official “Surrealist” movement may have ended a long ago, its spirit is very much alive, and it remains the most influential art movement today. Pay attention, and you will see Dali in both print and television advertising. Dali is everywhere! SC: Some critics say that the work Dali did from 1929 to 1939 was brilliant and durable, but after that came decades of kitsch and commercialism. What is your view of this assessment, and, if it’s true, why did Dali transit from “brilliance” to mediocrity? JN: My opinion has always differed. In addition, the opinion of most of those critics has changed as well. Dali painted some wonderful works after this period and his, graphic work began to have a distinct voice. Keep in mind that many critics snubbed graphics for a long time. Dali placed a great deal of effort into his creation of limited edition graphics in the 1960s and 70s. But at this time graphics flew under the radar of the “art elite,” so the critics were ambivalent. However, Andy Warhol, whose entire career centered on limited edition graphics, changed all that. Dali’s meteoric growth in popularity made graphics a necessity in order to satisfy the demand of a Dali-hungry public. It was a positive evolution for the artist. This is expressed in his black and white, 1965 lithograph, The Drawers of Memory, with a woman who, after desperately rifling the drawers of her life, lifts a tuning fork to the sky, seeking a message of inspiration. The colorful Bullfighter, completed in 1980, is one of Dali’s last limited edition works, where Dali glorifies the bull, not the matador, by encrusting the beast with jewels. Dali was constantly reinventing himself, therefore redefining Surrealism, and the critics had a hard time keeping up. After all, how do categorize the work of an artist who is always ahead of his time? But opinions changed in 2005 with a Dali exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Put on by the Gala-Dali Foundation and involving such prestigious names as Dawn Ades and Michael Taylor, it rocked the art world and made many critics do an about-face. Since then, most critics have become champions of Salvador Dali, seeing him as a major impact on the art of the 20th century. SC: By all accounts—including his own—Dali was an eccentric, and his antics were legendary. Was he really an oddball, or was this eccentricity just a façade? Do we know what kind of person he really was in private? JN: There were two Salvador Dalis. The one who friends and associates like Alex Rosenberg, Peter Lucas, Frank Hunter, and the Dali Archives knew: a disciplined and focused worker who spent hours in the studio. Then there was the public persona, and this is what most people remember about his personality. Dali behaved eccentrically when the cameras were rolling, wearing a diving suit to an interview, sitting on a throne with his pet ocelot, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling these eccentric episodes a façade. They were just another side of Dali. One must realize Dali was attempting to make his public image a work of art. Like his works on canvas, it would require the viewer to look beyond the surface and into the hidden imagery of his life. Andy Warhol and many artists since have followed Dali’s example. That is why you hear people say, “If it weren’t for Dali, there would be no Warhol.” To see both sides of Dali, check out the DVD The Doorway to Dali. In it, you can see Dali in an interview by Mike Wallace. While the answers to Mr. Wallace’s questions are a bit unusual, his manner and tone suggest nothing but authenticity. This is in stark contrast with accompanying footage of Dali explaining his painting, The Hallucinogenic Toreador. While synthesizers blare, Dali makes outrageous gestures and confounds the viewer with the explanations of his imagery." SC: Like other Surrealists of his era—René Magritte, Jean Arp, and Max Ernst among them—who were trying to apply Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theories to painting, Dali too was fascinated by Freud. How is this fascination reflected in Dali’s works? JN: It’s reflected everywhere. Dali’s works are inspired by his own Paranoaic—Critical Method, a method directly inspired by Sigmund Freud. He used this method to tap into his sub-conscience and see the ordinary world through a psychological lens. Dali took his interest in Freud seriously and counted his meeting of Freud as one of the greatest moments in his life. No other artist was more directly influenced by Sigmund Freud. This is evident by the number of personal subjects in his paintings. His images are filled with memories of childhood, personal struggles, dreams, and aspirations. They incorporate highly personal visions of his mother, dead brother, and father. His paintings are a lifetime photo album depicting the inside of his mind. SC: You are a renowned Dali expert, and you have examined and sold thousands of authentic works by Salvador Dali. How did you get interested in Dali, and what do you consider your field of expertise. JN: I have worked with literally thousands of Dali collectors in the last two decades, and my expertise in the area of prints is difficult to challenge. It is not just authenticity, but the potential value a work of art may hold. Having been on the front line of the market for so many years and having dealt with thousands of collectors, I have developed an expertise at picking the right work at the right time. I was the first Dali dealer to recommend the Drawers of Memory to my clients strongly. Today it is the most valuable limited edition Dali graphic. Many of my clients are holding highly prized Dali works based on my recommendations. I began to be interested in Dali in my late teens. It was early1980s, and I had occasion to meet Andy Warhol. I soon became aware of his admiration for Salvador Dali. This motivated me to look deeper into the works of Dali. The more I studied, the more my passion for the artist grew. I officially entered the art business in 1987. The first works I ever sold were Dali works. I soon learned the best way to build a business of selling art is to become a tenacious advocate for the collector. As part of my advocacy, I have used my expertise to assist collectors who have been wronged in the market. I have issued reports that have enabled collectors to get their money back for works that were not correct. This has gone as far as calling the dealers who ripped them off and procuring a refund. I have worked with law enforcement on cases involving the works of Dali. And I never charge for this service. I do not think people who have been cheated should have to pay to make themselves whole. I am a staunch supporter of civil code 1740-1741, which states that every artwork sold in California should come with a Certificate of Authenticity. I was recently interviewed for the Los Angeles Times about this, here is the excerpt: "A dealer would have to be a darn fool not to provide something in writing as the law requires,” said Joseph Nuzzolo, a Redondo Beach art dealer specializing in Salvador Dali prints. However, Nuzzolo said, the Law on art prints goes only so far in protecting buyers, “Every fake I’ve ever seen has a certificate of authenticity that was also a phony." The Los Angeles Times Thursday, July 3, 2008 That is why I have developed and trademarked, The Bulletproof Authentication, which provides authenticity, not just from me, but from third party recognized experts as well. When you receive a Bulletproof Authentication on your Dali, you not only get our seal and letter of authenticity, but also you get 100 years of expertise. Frank Hunter of the Dali Archives and Peter Lucas of the Appraisers Association of America, both knew and worked with Dali, and each has over 40 years of experience in the Dali market. I have over 20. Every collector should insist on a Bulletproof Authentication. If your dealer refuses to give it to you, I suggest you offer to pay for it yourself and make it a condition of your purchase. If he still refuses, run the other way and call me at 1-888-888-DALI, or visit my website at I would much rather work with you as a collector than a victim.

Although inspired by Renaissance masters, Spanish painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and designer Salvador Dali (1904-1989) is known to the general public for his bizarre and eccentric surrealist im...

The undisputed "master of suspense," Alfred Hitchcock (1899–1980) was an iconic film director and producer of over 50 movies, including Dial M for MurderVertigoNorth by NorthwestPsycho, and The Birds. The techniques he pioneered inspired a new generation of filmmakers and revolutionized the "thriller" genre.
A renowned film critic, David Sterritt is currently Chair of National Society of Film Critics, as well as Adjunct Professor at the School of the Arts at Columbia University. He is also the author and editor of many books, including The Films of Alfred Hitchcock.

Simply Charly: What's the origin of Hitchcock's fascination with suspense and fear? David Sterritt: These were closely interconnected for Hitchcock, and he often said his fascination with them started when he was a little boy, and his father had the local police lock him in a jail cell for a few minutes, as a punishment for something he'd done. But sometimes he came up with other stories to explain this interest—in an article he wrote called "Why I Am Afraid of the Dark," for instance, he traced it to the age of four or five when his parents left him alone while they went for an evening stroll. Another turning point came when he discovered Edgar Allan Poe as a teenager and realized that the scariness of a story like "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" was enjoyable since it's fun to be frightened when you know you're actually safe. In his movies, he wanted to give people the thrill of make-believe danger in an unthreatening environment—although he was quite a trickster, and a couple of his pictures had mayhem breaking out in a movie theater! SC: Aside from his well-documented fear of eggs and policemen, did he have any other phobias? If so, were they reflected in his films? DS: Those were his best-known fears, although the egg thing was more of an idiosyncrasy than a full-blown phobia. He also had a thing about birds, which symbolize danger and chaos in movies like Blackmail, Psycho, and, of course, The Birds, where our feathered friends are anything but friendly. Alongside these fears, Hitchcock had a generalized anxiety that accounts for the cautious, conservative life he led—he always dressed like a proper gentleman, had one marriage that lasted more than fifty years, pre-planned his movies to the smallest detail, and so on. He also displaced his own phobic tendencies onto his characters, who have all kinds of exaggerated fears: Lina in Suspicion is terrified of her husband, Uncle Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt won't have his picture taken, Scotty in Vertigo has acrophobia, Marnie in Marnie is frightened by the color red. Hitchcock also loved to play practical jokes, and some of them were nasty—another way he allowed his private demons to let off steam in public. SC: What are some of the techniques he pioneered in his films? DS: Hitchcock was literally a pioneer of modern cinema since 1929 when he directed Blackmail, the first British movie with synchronized sound. And he never lost his taste for technical challenges, which often blazed a trail for later filmmakers—for example, Lifeboat is set entirely on a small boat, Rope takes place in a single apartment and has almost no visible cuts between shots, Dial M for Murder was made in 3-D, Rear Window views most of the action scenes through distant windows, and Psycho kills the main character halfway through the story. He also had a genius for subjective camerawork, showing a person or object the way it would look through a character's eyes—when he does a zoom shot with a moving camera in Vertigo, for instance, to make you feel Scottie's terror in high places. And he developed a no-frills, almost minimalist acting style, telling his stars to tone everything down so the camerawork and editing would do the work. According to some people, Hitchcock thought actors were cattle, but he denied that—what he actually thought was that actors should be treated like cattle! SC: Why did he always briefly appear in his own movies? DS: Hitchcock was a first-rate promoter and marketer, and one of his best tools was to make himself a celebrity by showing up in all sorts of ways—he introduced his weekly TV shows, he was always on the cover of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and he made those famous walk-on appearances, which started in The Lodger, one of his earliest movies, because he didn't have enough extras to fill out a crowd scene. Sometimes his cameos have a specific meaning; in Rear Window, for instance, you see him through an apartment window winding up a clock, literally tightening the spring of the suspense he's setting up. And sometimes they're just funny—in Lifeboat, you see him in a weight-reduction ad on a newspaper page floating in the ocean, and in Strangers on a Train, he's carrying a bass violin which is shaped almost the same as him! [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Alfred Hitchcock Alfred Hitchcock[/caption] SC: Hitchcock is often credited with "inventing" the thriller genre. Did he really, or have other filmmakers before him (or concurrently) made successful suspense movies? DS: Hitchcock didn't invent the thriller, but his innovations brought it into the modern age. He was strongly influenced by German expressionist films, including dark and frightening ones like Destiny and Nosferatu: a Symphony of Horror, and almost every American filmmaker who has directed a suspense movie since the middle 1940s has been influenced by him, directly or indirectly. SC: By the same token, in what way were his movies different from others of the same genre? DS: He took crime and violence out of the shadows and into the light of day, showing that mayhem doesn't break out only in dark alleys and dens of iniquity but also in ordinary places like a bathroom (Psycho) or a church (Vertigo) or a concert hall (The Man Who Knew Too Much) or a cornfield (North by Northwest). He also drew a distinction between suspense and surprise, which he explained by saying that if a bomb goes off in a restaurant, it's a big surprise for the audience, but it's over in a few seconds; whereas if you let us know there's a bomb under one of the tables, you can keep us twisting in suspense as long as you want. Zillions of filmmakers have learned that lesson by now. SC: Hitchcock has topped a poll of directors who most deserved to win an Oscar but never did. Despite six nominations for films including Psycho and Rear Window, Hitchcock was denied an Academy Award. Do we know why, and also, what was his reaction to being rejected six times? DS: The reason is that the Academy Awards are silly—a self-congratulation exercise by Hollywood where publicity matters more than artistry. In any case, Hitch is in great company since giants like Orson Welles and Stanley Kubrick never received Oscars either. But nobody likes being passed over, so his reaction was definitely not cheerful. SC: Hitchcock praised Luis Buñuel as the best director ever. Did he admire any other filmmakers? DS: Hitchcock told me he admired Buñuel for the simplicity and straightforwardness of his style, and many of Hitch's best scenes have the same virtues; he was also fascinated by surrealism—the dream sequence in Spellbound is Exhibit A—and Buñuel was the all-time greatest surrealist filmmaker. Others he admired were the German expressionists Fritz Lang and F. W. Murnau, and Soviet silent-film directors like Sergei Eisenstein made him realize the enormous power of film editing. SC: Which contemporary directors have been influenced by Hitchcock's vision and techniques? DS: The world champion of Hitchcock imitators is Brian De Palma, who regards Hitch's work as a sourcebook of excellent ideas and feels that stealing from the masters is nothing to be ashamed of. David Lynch was obviously influenced by Hitch in pictures like Mulholland Dr. and Blue Velvet, and Gus Van Sant paid Psycho a compliment by directing a faithful (and pointless) shot-for-shot remake. Outside the American film industry, all the great French New Wave directors worshipped Hitchcock—François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette—and you can find Hitchcockian touches in movies by everyone from Mario Bava and Dario Argento in Italy to Ye Lou in China and Takashi Miike in Japan, plus many others. Hitch's influence has gone global in a big way. SC: Which of his movies are your favorite and why? DS: Vertigo and Psycho are his most profound films, and North by Northwest probably has the most cinematic virtuosity. The period from Strangers on a Train in 1951 through Psycho in 1960 is unsurpassed for sheer creative brilliance—in addition to those titles, he made Rear Window and The Wrong Man, which are masterpieces; To Catch a Thief and The Trouble with Harry, which are delightful; Dial M for Murder and the 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, which are always worth revisiting; and several less-successful films that also have intriguing points. Many others are also brilliant, from The Lodger and Shadow of a Doubt to Notorious and The Birds. He made bad pictures now and then—there's hardly anything good about Jamaica Inn, for instance—but there's no other director whose movies so consistently surprise and captivate me.

The undisputed "master of suspense," Alfred Hitchcock (1899–1980) was an iconic film director and producer of over 50 movies, including Dial M for Murder, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, ...

Pulitzer and Nobel-winning writer, Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, whose simple, clear, and distinctive style revolutionized literature. American author Gay Talese is the bestselling author of eleven books. He was a reporter for the New York Times from 1956 to 1965, and since then he has written for the Times, Esquire, The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, and other national publications.
Simply Charly: Ernest Hemingway did away with the florid prose of the 19th century and pioneered a new style of writing—simple, clear, direct, and unadorned. Which contemporary writers of note have been influenced the most by Hemingway? Gay Talese: (Norman) Mailer was an obvious example, as are other novelists, for example, Irwin Shaw, author of "Young Lions," "The Troubled Air," "Girls in their Summer Dresses," "The 80-Yard Run," etc. Hemingway introduced a new style of writing, one that I don't think preceded him in earlier writers. He seemed to carve, chisel each word, each paragraph. It suggested simplicity, when in fact it was anything but simple to do. I read somewhere that Hemingway wrote and re-wrote each sentence numerous times in an effort to get it in a form acceptable to him. He was a great craftsman, but he was cutting through the territory as a pioneer. There were no maps to guide him, though he did acknowledge the influence of great people before him. "Mr. Tolstoy" was how he referred to one of them, with deference and respect for the Russian master. Still, nobody could do it like Hemingway. SC: When you started out as a writer yourself, was Hemingway an inspiration to you? If so, how? If not, what was it about his writing that did not impact an aspiring writer? GT: He was a writer that I, as well as the entire generation of post-war writers, respected greatly, but I always thought that it would have been ridiculous to write like him because it would not come across as anything but imitation, fake, a poor "copy" of the real thing. SC: "A writer's style," Hemingway once said, "should be direct and personal, his imagery rich and earthy, and his words simple and vigorous." Does this kind of style resonate with you personally? GT: Hemingway's style never resonated with me personally. My style was (and remains) the opposite of Hemingway's. I write long sentences, try to under-write, never over-state. Some of my contemporaries (Tom Wolfe, Hunter Thompson) over-state, for effect, but they have unique styles. Neither is easy to imitate, but that has not stopped lots of young writers from looking foolish trying to write like Wolfe and Thompson. SC: By the same token, what is your opinion about Hemingway's Iceberg Theory ("If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-ninth of it being above water.") Does that approach translate into compelling and gripping writing? GT: Yes, I subscribe to the Hemingway iceberg theory. It does translate into compelling writing. SC: Hemingway had four rules for writing: use short sentences, use short paragraphs, use vigorous English, and be positive, not negative. What do you think of this kind of writing style? GT: The four rules apply, most particularly to Hemingway, who proposed those rules. They certainly worked well for him. But me? Other people? I don't think so. I don't think any rules apply, really. Great writers, good writers, worthy writers make their own rules and effectively communicate with readers. Some of the noteworthy stylists are (Truman) Capote, (J. D.) Salinger, Philip Roth, and William Styron, to name a few. None of them was out of Hemingway's school of rule-making. SC: Hemingway drew heavily on his experiences in much of his writing. Is it important for a writer to rely on his or her personal experiences? Does a reader relate more to this kind of reality-based approach than to pure fiction? GT: Yes, experience is essential. So many books of the younger writers (1960s through the 21st century) are, as Tom Wolfe pointed out in a criticism of modern fiction, the work of people who had no experience, and who wrote essentially about nothing important. Wolfe said these writers stayed on campuses for too long, and never got outside of their interior world or their privileged private circles. Hemingway was "out there," always. SC: How much of your own work is based on personal experience? GT: Almost all of it. SC: The Old Man and the Sea, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1952, is the ultimate example of Hemingway's sparse and subtle writing. The Sun Also Rises (1926) and A Farewell to Arms (1929) were included on a 1998 list of the top one hundred novels of the twentieth century. Do you have your own favorite Hemingway work? GT: I certainly salute these three works, along with dozens of his short stories and his early journalism. He wrote non-fiction very, very well. SC: Another of Hemingway's famous quotes is "It's none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way." So here's a question: are writers born or made? GT: Writers are made by themselves, through writing and re-writing. SC: How does a young aspiring writer "discover" his or her own style and voice? GT: By writing and re-writing, and sooner or later—if you keep at it—your own style will emerge. Young impressionable writers tend to be swayed by their elders, especially famous writers, but this will not take any aspiring writer far. One must lay claim to one's own style, and there's no shortcut. It comes after much work, much patience, and persistence.

Pulitzer and Nobel-winning writer, Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961) was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, whose simple, clear, and distinctive style revolutionized literature...

One of the most creative and idiosyncratic filmmakers of the 20th century, Italian director Federico Fellini (1920-1993) has been widely acclaimed for his imagery and artistry. His distinctive and personal style propelled him to fame with classics such as La Dolce Vita (1960). Four of Fellini's films won Oscars as best foreign film: La StradaThe Nights of Cabiria (1957), 8 1/2, and Amarcord (1973). A renowned Fellini expert, Peter Bondanella is a Distinguished Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at Indiana University in Bloomington IN. He is the author of several books, including The Cinema of Federico Fellini (1992), and Pulitzer Prize-nominated The Eternal City: Roman Images in the Modern World (1987).
Simply Charly: How did you become interested in Italian cinema in general, and in Federico Fellini, in particular? Peter Bondanella: I received a master's degree in Political Science from Stanford and a doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of Oregon with a Renaissance and Italian concentration. Unfortunately, I was never able to take a course on film in general or on Italian film, in particular since those courses just did not exist where I studied. While working on Italian Renaissance literature (Machiavelli, in particular), I felt that I needed something contemporary to keep me informed of what was going on in Italy. I was fortunate enough to have a research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1974 that took me to Paris, where I managed to see about 50 Italian films in six weeks. Believe it or not, I met Fellini through a course I offered on his films at Indiana University. Seated in the audience at a screening was an acquaintance of Mario Longardi, Fellini's longtime publicity agent. After my first book on Fellini, a collection of essays for Oxford University Press released in 1977, Mario arranged for me to meet Fellini. I went out and splurged on a new Italian linen outfit, and Mario sent a Mercedes limo to my hotel to take my wife and me out to Cinecittà, where Fellini took us up into the hills outside Rome for a wonderful meal. Of course, he was absolutely charming, and I still have a photograph of the meal in my office. After that time, I began extensive work on his cinema and eventually managed to convince Fellini and his scriptwriter Tullio Pinelli to give Indiana University a group of very important manuscript materials. Housed at the Lilly Library of Rare Books in Bloomington, they now constitute the largest collection of such material outside Italy. That material enabled me to write a major intellectual biography of Fellini's life and works for Princeton University Press, a book that Fellini graciously prefaced. SC: What aspect of Fellini's work, personality, and vision did you (and still do) find the most intriguing and fascinating? PB: Another adjective employed to describe Fellini's style is "baroque." Baroque or Felliniesque both point to a richness of Fellini's imagery, a willingness to give us ten great visual ideas when one would be sufficient just to narrate a story. Fellini tells stories with images, not with words. And these images, when successful, connect to our subconscious in a way that transcends barriers of culture or language. SC: It is said that Fellini's childhood exposure to carnivalesque characters such as clowns and vaudevillians has shaped his imagination and films, and that he was among the most intensely autobiographical film directors. However, he was once quoted saying: "I have invented myself entirely. A childhood, a personality, longings, dreams, and memories, all in order to enable me to tell them." So the question is, are Fellini's films purely autobiographical or tinted with fiction? PB: No artist can escape his or her autobiography. But Fellini always hated the reductive arguments employed by critics who try to identify some biographical cause for his works. For example, Fellini himself did not attend the kind of Catholic school that causes Guido, the film director-protagonist of , so much difficulty. Nor were the adventures of a young adolescent boy in Amarcord his experiences (Most of them came from the life of one of his childhood friends, a lawyer who is still living in Rimini). He was first and foremost a storyteller, and what he narrates comes from a combination of his own experiences, his imagination or fantasy, and what he has gleaned from others. Other films are important to him but much less so than for such postmodern directors as Quentin Tarantino, whose work often represents a collection of citations from all sorts of films he has enjoyed during his lifetime. There is no question, however, that both the circus and the variety hall theater were of enormous importance to Fellini's artistic vision. The old story about Fellini as a young boy running off to join a circus is most certainly false (just another of the stories Fellini liked to tell journalists looking for material that would spice up an interview), but both the circus and variety hall entertainment share an important trait: variety. You generally have three rings in a circus, with acts frequently changing, and in vaudeville, you have constant change and a shift from one kind of entertainment to another in rapid succession. Fellini, I believe, felt that a good film should do the same thing: keep the audience on its toes with lots of different sequences, not necessarily arranged in a logical order, so that the ultimate result would be entertainment, not ideological arguments. As Fellini often said, he did not want to demonstrate anything; he wanted to show it through images. Unlike most directors, whose films are primarily inspired by other films, Fellini's films were primarily inspired by his active dream life. SC: Was there anyone Fellini drew inspiration from, or did he blaze his own trails entirely? PB: Fellini certainly learned a great deal from Roberto Rossellini, but not film style. What he learned from Rossellini was that the crucial thing in filmmaking was a vision, to see one's story in images rather than words. Moreover, he learned from Rossellini that an artist should not be intimidated by technology. Actually, Fellini was probably more influenced by early American cartoon artists Winsor McCay's Little Nemo cartoon series and Frederick Burr Opper's Happy Hooligan cartoon series than by any single film director, except for Rossellini. The character Happy Hooligan was a precursor of Chaplin's Little Tramp character, and both Opper and Chaplin formed Fellini's idea of what would eventually become Gelsomina in La Strada and Cabiria in The Nights of Cabiria, both played by his wife, Giulietta Masina. McCay was important because his cartoon figure Little Nemo began each new and fantastic adventure by dreaming, and dreams were always the source of Fellini's inspiration. From the time he was a small child, he drew cartoons and caricatures. He was a precocious cartoonist and used his sketches to construct every film he shot. SC: Fellini was friendly with Roberto Rossellini, another great Italian director. What was his relationship with and view of other idiosyncratic filmmakers of his era, for example, Ingmar Bergman? PB: Fellini generally never said a bad word about other directors, although the same cannot be said about his colleagues in his regard. About the closest he came to a negative remark was in response to Rossellini's critique of La Dolce Vita. Obviously jealous over the attention lavished on his former pupil, Rossellini allegedly said that it was the work of a provincial, a dismissive remark that Luchino Visconti must have agreed with since he apparently said the film was something that might have been made by an aristocrat's servants peering through a keyhole. Fellini's response, I think, was most revealing: before a metaphysical reality, he noted, we are all provincials. Generally, he admired anyone-Bergman, Buñuel, Antonioni, and, of course, Rossellini-who had a personal vision and knew how to express it in film. SC: Fellini was quite influenced by the teachings of Carl Jung. In what way did Jung's philosophy impact Fellini's work? PB: Fellini's encounter with Jung's work and Jungian analysis in the late 1950s encouraged him to have confidence in his own dreams. Unlike Freudian psychology, which according to Fellini tended to see dreams as a form of neurosis, Jung's view of dreams was more conducive to the work of an artist, since it tended to underscore the creative potential of dreams. Under the advice of a Jungian analyst, Ernst Bernhard (1896-1965), Fellini began to sketch his dream life and eventually compiled at least two huge notebooks, copiously illustrated with commentary that has just been published in a facsimile edition. Many of Fellini's films from this period to the end of his life were directly linked to his attempt to use his dream life as an inspirational source for his films. Perhaps , Juliet of the Spirits, and The City of Women are the three films that most completely represent Fellini's debt to Jungian psychoanalytic ideas. SC: Is anyone today making movies in a style similar to Fellini's? PB: Fellini's impact upon filmmakers has been enormous (he has always been more popular among directors than film critics). Martin Scorsese based the protagonist on the brutish Zampanò of La Strada; his breakthrough film Mean Streets owes a huge debt to I Vitelloni, and he even did a version of the conclusion of in one of his early student films. Without Fellini, we would not have Bob Fosse's Sweet Charity (an adaptation of The Nights of Cabiria) and All That Jazz (a version of 8½), Woody Allen's Stardust Memories, Peter Greenaway's 8½ Women, or Spike Jonze's Adaptation—all indebted to . Nor would we have the musical Nine. Any time a film director decides to speak of the art of cinematic creation, he or she will inevitably have to come to terms with Fellini. SC: Can American audiences truly appreciate Fellini's artistry? PB: I can only say that American audiences have always supported Fellini's work very generously. I have taught Italian cinema courses for three decades, and Fellini's films were always the most popular among college students, even those who hated subtitles and were not at all interested in foreign films in general. Fellini spoke to audiences across language and cultural barriers because he connected with a spectator's subconscious. SC: What is your own favorite Fellini film? PB: I love three of them equally: ; La Strada; and Amarcord. Each film employs a different style and represents a different stage of Fellini's career, but they are all unforgettable and deeply moving in ways that are difficult to analyze in solely logical terms.

One of the most creative and idiosyncratic filmmakers of the 20th century, Italian director Federico Fellini (1920-1993) has been widely acclaimed for his imagery and artistry. His distinctive and p...

His formula for the relationship of mass and energy, E=mc[2], revolutionized the world of science. Undoubtedly one of the most influential physicists of all time, Albert Einstein (1879-1955) radically transformed our understanding of the universe. Perhaps best known for his theory of relativity, his contributions to physics are varied, unique, and still very relevant. He furthered our understanding of time, space, energy, and matter and contributed to the development of quantum physics. Practically all the modern physicists and astrophysicists are drawing from Einstein’s groundbreaking work, a never-ending testimony to this quintessential scientific genius.
Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist and co-founder of string field theory, continues Einstein's goal of a “theory of everything,” uniting the four fundamental forces of nature into one theory.
He hosts two weekly radio programs, “Science Fantastic” and “Explorations.” He also frequently appears on television, has written for popular science publications such as Discover, Wired, and New Scientist, has been featured in documentaries (“Me & Isaac Newton”), and hosted many of his own, including BBC's series on Time.
Currently Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City University of New York, he is also the author of best-selling books, Parallel Worlds andHyperspace. His newest book, Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 was published in February 2012.

Simply Charly: What were Einstein’s major contributions to physics besides the theory of relativity? Michio Kaku: In 1905, in addition to publishing relativity theory, Einstein made several other worthy breakthroughs. First, he experimentally proved the existence of atoms. We forget that in 1905, there were still scientists who scoffed at the theory of atoms. (In fact, the great physicist Ludwig Boltzmann was, in part, driven to suicide by the ridicule he faced from students of Ernst Mach, who believed that atoms did not exist and would never be seen experimentally. Sadly, Boltzmann died a year after the young Einstein proved the existence of atoms, showing that tiny molecular collisions called Brownian motion could explain why dust particles in water seemed to vibrate. Einstein could even calculate the size of the atom from this effect.) Also in 1905, Einstein's miracle year, he explained the photoelectric effect, how a light beam falling on metal would eject electrons and create a tiny current. Einstein introduced a particle of light, later called the photon, which forms the basis of the quantum theory of matter and light. Einstein is thus the godfather of the quantum theory, the other great theory of the 20th century. (The photoelectric effect and the photon are used today in solar cells, TV cameras, lasers, and modern electronics.) SC: What is the difference between the special theory of relativity and the general theory? MK: In 1905, Einstein proposed special relativity to explain the strange properties of light (e.g., that light travels at the same velocity no matter how fast you move, and that time slows down the faster you move.) This alone would have guaranteed him fame as one of the great physicists of all time. But Einstein was not satisfied. Special relativity could not explain gravitation or acceleration. From 1905 to 1915, he sought a general theory of relativity that would be more powerful than special relativity. In 1915, he created general relativity, based on the idea that empty space could be curved. Anyone passing through curved space would have the illusion that a force was acting on them. In this way, Einstein explained the true nature of gravity. (For example, imagine ants walking on a crumpled sheet of paper. They are mysteriously tugged to the right and left, they claim, by an unseen force. But we know that there is no force acting on the ants. They are tugged in different directions because they are walking on curved space.) Unlike special relativity, general relativity can explain large-scale astronomical phenomena, such as black holes, bending starlight, and the big bang theory. SC: How does a physicist (or an astrophysicist) like yourself apply Einstein’s theory of relativity (and his other findings) to modern science? MK: We apply Einstein's theories every day to modern science. For example, Einstein predicted that when light passes by a star, the light beam bends (as if it were moving in glass). But if a light beam passes around distant galaxies, then we see a galaxy's image distorted into the shape of a ring, called Einstein's rings. Today, we see Einstein's rings via our telescopes and use them to explore the universe. Also, astronomers have cataloged thousands of black holes in outer space. One lies at the very center of our Milky Way galaxy, weighing about 2 million suns. We can now show experimentally that these black holes obey the predictions made by Einstein decades ago. For example, Einstein said that space-time was like thick molasses that swirled around a black hole, dragging space along with it. We can now confirm this prediction by Einstein. Lastly, Einstein also introduced the concept of Bose-Einstein condensates. He showed that, when matter is cooled down to near absolute zero, atomic motion almost disappears, and atoms seem to coalesce into one gigantic superatom that vibrates in unison. Thus, tiny and strange quantum effects, which are usually too small to be seen in the lab, can be seen in a BE condensate. About 70 years or so after Einstein and Bose predicted the existence of this strange form of matter, it was finally found in the lab. In the future, perhaps laser beams made of atoms (and not light) and also quantum computers (and perhaps even invisibility) may be a byproduct of BE condensates. SC: How do Einstein’s theories relate to your own work (string field theory, et al.) MK: Einstein spent the last 30 years of his life (from 1925) searching for an even greater theory, which he called the unified field theory. It was to be his crowning achievement. He wanted a theory of everything, i.e., a theory which could unite all the fundamental forces of the universe into a single theory, which would allow him to "read the mind of God." Einstein failed in this mission, but perhaps he was onto something. Today, there are scores of physicists (myself included) who are trying to complete his dream of unifying all of physics into a single equation. The leading candidate is called string theory, which can unite Einstein’s relativity theory with the quantum theory. Remarkably, these two theories contain the sum total of all physics at the fundamental level. For decades, anyone trying to unify relativity with the quantum theory was met with serious mathematical problems. Any naïve union of the two blows up in your face. Today, string theory is the only theory that can combine Einstein’s theory of gravity with the quantum theory and still yield finite, meaningful results. SC: During one of your tv appearances you spoke about “dark energy,” a mysterious force that is causing the universe to fly apart faster and faster. You mentioned that Einstein was onto something called “cosmological constant,” but he thought he had made a mistake. Today this “mistake” has become an integral part of astrophysics. Can you elaborate on that? MK: Just in the last five years, physicists have realized that there is a strange energy permeating all of space, called dark energy, which is causing the galaxies to accelerate away from each other. The universe, instead of slowing down (as was universally thought) is actually in a run-away mode, accelerating until perhaps we hit the Big Freeze. Temperatures will drop to near absolute zero, and the entire night sky will be totally black. (Dark energy or the energy hidden in empty space, was introduced by Einstein in 1916, but he later called it his greatest blunder. Strangely, Einstein’s blunder is perhaps the most important factor in determining the ultimate fate of the universe.) At present, no one knows where this dark energy comes from. If one naively tries to calculate dark energy, one finds a huge mismatch. The theory is off by a factor of 10 raised to the 120 power! This is the largest mismatch in the history of science. Obviously, there are still huge gaps in our understanding of the universe if we cannot calculate dark energy (which makes up 73% of the matter and energy of universe. By contrast, the higher elements, which make our bodies, only make up .03% of the universe.) [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Albert Einstein Albert Einstein[/caption] SC: Which, if any, of his theories, have been refuted since his death and which are still being debated? MK: Einstein’s most controversial belief was his criticism of the quantum theory. The quantum theory is the most successful theory of all time, but it is based on probabilities and chance. He did not believe that God played dice with the world. Even today, physicists debate the philosophical questions raised by Einstein. For example, according to the quantum theory, a cat placed in a box is neither dead nor alive until you look at it. To describe it, you have to add the wave function describing a dead cat, with the wave function of a live cat. (Only when you open the box and make a measurement does the cat suddenly spring into existence as we know it.) So before you look at a cat in a box, it is neither dead nor alive, but exists in a netherworld as the sum of the two. Philosophers used to ask, does a tree fall in a forest if there is no one there to listen to it? For centuries after Newton, scientists firmly believed that the universe existed independent of humans, and hence the tree either did or did not fall. But the quantum theory says otherwise. It says that until you actually see the tree, the tree exists in all possible quantum states (burnt, firewood, splinters, toothpicks, sawdust, a sapling, and an ordinary tree). Only when you look at it does the tree suddenly spring into existence. Remarkably, Nobel Laureates have split on this question. Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner believed that observations determine existence, and observations require a conscious mind, and hence the existence of the universe meant that there was a cosmic consciousness permeating it. In some sense, he was offering this as a proof of the existence of God. According to Niels Bohr, a founder of the quantum theory, “anyone who is not shocked by the quantum theory does not understand it.” For example, the quantum theory says that electrons can be two places at the same time (which sounds ridiculous, but actually stands at the foundation of all of chemistry.) When high school students learn chemistry, they draw “orbitals” or football-shaped clouds surrounding the atom, which binds two atoms together into a molecule. But the teacher rarely explains what this football is (because it might upset the students). The football-shaped cloud is actually the wave function of the electron being many places at the same time. The electron can bind two atoms into a molecule because the electron is many places at the same time surrounding both atoms, thereby connecting the two atoms. Hence, the fact that electrons can be two places at the same time is the reason why molecules hold together. Without the quantum theory, our atoms would dissolve immediately, and reality as we know it would disintegrate. Einstein thought that this was silly, and he said so. Although the quantum theory is accurate to one part in 10 billion and makes possible all the miracles of lasers and modern electronics, it is based on a philosophical foundation of sand. Einstein once said that the more successful the quantum theory becomes, the sillier it looks. Today, there is still no universal consensus on the questions raised by Einstein back in the 1920s concerning the quantum theory’s outrageous paradoxes. But one idea is gradually catching on, and this is “decoherence.” For example, perhaps the cat splits into two cats or two universes. In one universe, the cat is dead. In the other universe, the cat is alive. So, at each juncture in the history of the universe, it constantly splits into two. The key is that we have “decohered” from these other universes, and hence can no longer communicate with these parallel universes. Nobel Laureate Steve Weinberg compares this to listening to a radio in your living room. You can hear many, many stations on your radio, so you know that there are many invisible radio waves permeating your living room. But your radio is tuned to only one frequency, and it has decohered from all the others. The radio frequency you are hearing no longer interacts with all the other radio frequencies, and you hear only one sound. Likewise, in your living are the wave functions of alternate universes. There are the wave functions of dinosaurs, pirates, aliens, exploding stars, etc. in your living room. But you cannot interact with these parallel universes. Your universe no longer vibrates in unison with them, and hence has decoupled from them. (So, perhaps in one universe Elvis is still alive, but you can no longer interact with that universe.) SC: While Einstein is best known for his theory of relativity, he was also a humanist and a philosopher. What are some of the lesser-known facts about him that might shed light on the kind of person he was outside of the science lab? MK: I wrote a biography of Einstein, called Einstein’s Cosmos, and was amazed that he was able to keep his sanity and composure when constantly surrounded by the bitterness of chaos, hatred, and war. On the one hand, he had the adulation of millions of people (yet somehow never let it go to his head). Without a team of spin-doctors and press agents issuing press releases, Einstein almost single-handedly managed his public appearances and statements. On the other hand, the Nazis constantly denounced him in print, burned his books publicly, organized meetings to ridicule him, called relativity "Jewish physics," hounded his friends into exile, and finally put a price on his head. (The Nazis put Einstein's face on one of their magazines, with the subtitle "Not Yet Hanged.") There was one failed assassination attempt on his life (by a deranged fan) and constant rumors that Nazi followers were eager to collect on the price on his head. A weaker man would have buckled under this constant barrage of hate from the Nazis. But for Einstein, it only made him more determined to criticize the Nazis publicly, even though this was quite dangerous. Einstein, in fact, became the face of the anti-Nazi opposition within the scientific community. SC: In your opinion, if he were alive today, what inventions/discoveries that have occurred since his death would he likely find the most amazing? MK: Perhaps quantum teleportation, which is based on his work, would be the most amazing. As any fan of Star Trek knows, teleportation is the ability to disappear and have your atoms instantly appear somewhere else. In the lab, physicists have actually carried out the teleportation of individual photons and cesium atoms. (But it may take a decade to teleport the first molecule, and decades after that to teleport the first organic molecule, perhaps even a virus. Teleporting a human is way beyond our capabilities at present.) Quantum teleportation actually uses a thought experiment that Einstein devised to try to destroy the quantum theory. It's called the EPR experiment (after Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen). Imagine two electrons or photons shooting out in opposite directions. Originally, they were vibrating in phase with each other. Even after they are separated, their wave functions are still vibrating in phase, so there is an invisible "umbilical cord" that still connects them. We say that these two electrons are in quantum coherence. For example, if one electron is vibrating in the up direction, then the other electron should be in the down direction (so the sum is zero, as before). Now let these two electrons travel for many light years. Then take a measurement of one electron. Let's say that it spins down. You now know, FASTER THAN LIGHT, that the other electron is spinning up. Because nothing can travel faster than light, Einstein reasoned, all this is nonsense, and hence quantum coherence was ridiculous. Actually, this experiment has now been done many times, and each time Einstein is wrong, and the quantum theory is correct. (But this does not violate relativity, since it is only random information that is traveling faster than light. You cannot send Morse code or a meaningful message using the EPR experiment. No useful information can be sent this way, so relativity is still not violated). Today, physicists re-adapt the EPR experiment to create quantum teleportation. Objects that are vibrating in phase with each other are connected by quantum coherence, and we use this to teleport information about one atom into another, distant atom. (This means, however, that the original atom must be destroyed, so if Capt. Kirk teleports across space; his original body is destroyed in the process). SC: What, in your view and based on your own work, still lies ahead in the way of amazing discoveries that are directly derived from Einstein’s theories? MK: Recently, scientists have been building a series of fantastic instruments that may further our understanding of Einstein's pioneering work. First of all, in 2008, the Large Hadron Collider will be turned on outside Geneva, Switzerland, the most powerful instrument of science ever built. It is 27 kilometers in circumference and will create beams of protons with trillions of electron volts in energy. These are energies not seen since the instant of the big bang itself. In fact, we call it a window on creation. We hope to find entirely new particles with this powerful atom smasher, including mini-black holes that are the size of sub-atomic particles. (They are so small that these black holes do not pose a danger. In fact, cosmic rays from outer space hit the earth all the time with more energy than the LHC, and nothing happens.) We also hope to find new particles with the LHC, called sparticles, or super particles. These are higher vibrations of the string, which are so heavy that they have not been seen so far. Some of these sparticles have no charge and are, in fact, totally invisible. (These sparticles are the leading candidate for dark matter, an invisible form of matter which surrounds the galaxies, making up 23% of the matter-energy content of the universe. With dark matter and dark energy, we now realize that most of the universe is, in fact, dark, i.e., invisible, and that atoms like hydrogen and helium in the stars make up only 4% of the universe.) Then, perhaps around 2015, NASA will send a new type of satellite into space to probe the heart of the big bang itself. LISA (Laser Interferometry Space Antenna) will detect gravity waves in space, i.e., shock waves of gravity caused by colliding black holes and even the instant of creation. (Gravity waves were predicted by Einstein decades ago.) It consists of three satellites, connected by laser beams, separated by 3 million miles. If a gravity wave still circulating the universe from the big bang hits LISA, it will jiggle the laser detectors, and we will measure its intensity and frequency. LISA (or its successors such as the Big Bang Observer) might be sensitive enough to shed light on the pre-big bang universe. At present, no one knows where the big bang came from, or what happened before it. But string theory makes predictions as to what might have preceded the big bang, and can predict the radiation emitted from these pre-big bang scenarios. Therefore, scientists hope that by analyzing gravity waves from the big bang, we will be able to compare this radiation with the predictions made by these pre-big-bang theories. In this way, we might be able to determine which model is correct, and therefore what most likely happened before the big bang. (One serious possibility is that our universe is a bubble floating among billions of other bubble/universes in 11-dimensional hyperspace. Occasionally, these bubble/universes collide, split in half, sprout baby bubbles, or pop into existence. Einstein gave us the fourth dimension. Now, physicists are going beyond four dimensions and investigating 11-dimensional space-time.) SC: For students (and people in general) who are not Einsteins, how can his concepts be made easier to understand? MK: One of my favorite Einstein quotes is that unless a theory can be explained to a child, the theory is probably useless. By this, he meant that the essence of a theory has to be a simple, elegant physical picture or principle that even children can grasp. All too often, physicists get lost in a thicket of mathematics that eventually leads to nowhere. The guiding principle must always be pictorial and simple. For example, the essence of special relativity can be summarized in one picture. When he was 16-years-old, he visualized racing alongside a light beam. Since light is a wave, the light beam should appear frozen as you moved neck-and-neck with the beam. But no one had ever seen a frozen wave before, and hence Einstein as a boy was led to believe that it was impossible to outrace a light beam. In fact, he came to a radical conclusion that light always travels at the same speed, no matter how fast you moved. Similarly, general relativity can be explained by pictures that children can understand. Imagine a large funnel, and then throw a marble along the surface. The marble will circulate around the center of the funnel, because the surface is curved. Now replace the marble with the earth, replace the center of the funnel with the sun, and we see that the earth orbits around the sun not because gravity pulls on the earth, but because the space around the sun pushes the earth. In other words, "gravity does not pull, space pushes." This, in one phrase, is the essence of general relativity. SUGGESTED READING [table id=23 /]

His formula for the relationship of mass and energy, E=mc[2], revolutionized the world of science. Undoubtedly one of the most influential physicists of all time, Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 - A...

British biologist Charles Darwin (1809–1882) laid the foundations of the theory of evolution and transformed the way we think about the natural world. Few books have influenced the human thought more than his On the Origin of Species. Published in 1859, it expounded his theory of natural selection, shocking society, and revolutionizing science.
A professor at Florida State University, Michael Ruse specializes in the Philosophy of Biology, with particular attention on Darwin. He is the author of numerous works, including Darwinism and its Discontents (2006), The Evolution-Creation Struggle (2005), and many others.

Simply Charly: How did Darwin first come to accept evolution and which kinds of evidence most influenced his views? Michael Ruse: He accepted evolution around March 1837. Clearly, a number of things were important, but the geographical distributions of the organisms he had seen in the Galapagos were very important. Empirical evidence was not the only thing, however. By this time he had become a deist—God works through unbroken law—and he knew about evolution from his grandfather, from Lyell who discussed Lamarck, and from Robert Grant when he was a student at Edinburgh. So it was as much a metaphysical shift as a scientific one. SC: One of the unanswered questions remains whether Darwin believed in evolution during the Beagle voyage. Darwin said that as far as he could remember he still believed in the fixity of species—derived from the ideas of Plato, Aristotle, and Carolus Linnaeus—but that vague doubts occasionally flitted across his mind. What is your view? MR: Almost certainly Darwin did not become an evolutionist on the Beagle voyage. It was six months after returning home, especially when the ornithologist John Gould had looked at his bird specimens and declared them different species. Then Darwin knew he had to embrace evolution. SC: Darwin is commonly considered to be the father of evolution, but in reality, others preempted him, including his own grandfather Erasmus, French scientist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, and Scottish geologist, Dr. James Hutton. Were Darwin’s views in any way influenced by the others before him, or did they differ? MR: I am sure that these people I would add Robert Grant as important—influenced Darwin. I would not in any sense speak of Darwin as a follower of any of these people—apart from anything else he had a much more tree-based view of evolution than earlier people (thanks to the Galapagos being a big inspiration). He did always accept so-called Lamarckism, the inheritance of acquired characteristics. But this was not unique to Lamarck—it is in his grandfather’s thinking—and only played a minor role for Lamarck. SC: Darwin’s contemporary, Alfred Wallace, presented his theory of evolution by natural selection at the same time, in July 1858. Was there any divergence of views between the two theories, and why did Darwin become known as the “father of evolution” but not Wallace? MR: The two men had the same idea—although perhaps Wallace was a little more inclined to see the struggle at the group level and Darwin at the individual level. In his essay, Wallace argued against an analogy with the domestic world (because we never change a pig into a horse) whereas Darwin argued for it. Darwin deserves the major credit because he was first by twenty years, he backed up his thinking with a full-blown theory about the fossil record, biogeography, embryology, and more, and because it was he who built a band of supporters like Thomas Henry Huxley. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Charles Darwin Charles Darwin[/caption] SC: Darwinists claim that genetic engineering and many medical advances have been made possible by the evolutionary hypothesis. Others argue that no application of evolutionary science led to these discoveries and that Darwin’s theory, while widely accepted by the scientific community, remains unprovable. What is your view? MR: There are two questions here. I would say that the basics of Darwin’s theory have been proven—that argument is over. Whether Darwinism plays into genetic engineering and medicine seems to be another question, and frankly, I am not sure how much it has to say that is relevant to these issues. SC: Is it totally inconceivable to find common ground between evolutionists and creationists? MR: Yes. It is not just a theological issue but also a social one as evolution represents modernism, sex ed, abortion on demand, and so forth (when I say represents, I mean acts as a marker for people who have these sorts of beliefs). Creationism stands for anti-modernism (anti-abortion and so forth). I don’t see much hope for a meeting of the extremes; whether people more in the center can be influenced is, of course, another matter. I very much hope so. SC: Darwin’s wife Emma was deeply religious. Did this create any conflict between them, and do we know for sure what, if any, was Darwin’s personal faith? He once defined himself as an agnostic, but some published reports claim he accepted Christ on his deathbed. Is this truth or fiction? MR: Towards the end of her life, Emma’s religious beliefs started to fade, as they did for so many Victorians. Darwin was first a Christian, then about halfway through the voyage became a deist believing in a God but not one of miracles, and denying the divinity of Christ (as well as all the stuff about hellfire and so forth), and then in the last ten to fifteen years of his life, perhaps because of the influence of Huxley, this faded into agnosticism. Darwin never became an atheist, and he certainly did not convert on his deathbed. There was a bit of tension between husband and wife, but they kept it to a minimum. His daughters were more eager to downplay his lack of belief than was his wife. SC: If it’s true that all theories of science are fallible, and new data often negates and overturns previously held theories, are there any flaws in Darwin’s theory? Are any mainstream scientists today disputing or at least re-thinking the theory of evolution? MR: No mainstream scientist denies evolution or that natural selection is very important. There are debates about how important it is. I suspect that some people think macro changes might be significant while others think genetic drift important, but by and large, it is important to see these as debates within limits. SC: Some historians believe that, by suggesting that some races had evolved further than others, Darwin fuelled the development of racism, and, later, Nazism. What is your view? MR: Total bullshit. Of course, the Nazis used quasi-social Darwinian terms but, by and large, they did not like evolution because it showed that we are all Jew and Gentile of one race. The difference between The Descent of Man and Mein Kampf is simply huge. Hitler owed more to Austen Chamberlain and others like him than to Darwin. SC: What does your research into the philosophy of biology entail, and how does it relate to Darwin? MR: I am interested in the foundations of morality and if ethics is an adaptation, like hands and teeth (I think it is), then in some respects my work is very Darwinian, but I am not interested in building models of cultural evolution. I am inclined to think that meme-talk is nonsense. I am also interested in the science-religion relationship and trying to show how one can be religious in an age of science. (I am not a believer, but I think finding some middle way is vital to making a place for evolution in our society today). And I am really interested in Darwin and his contemporaries—I am just about to write an essay for a new edition of Huxley’s Evolution and Ethics. SUGGESTED READING [table id=19 /]

British biologist Charles Darwin (1809–1882) laid the foundations of the theory of evolution and transformed the way we think about the natural world. Few books have influenced the human thought m...

SYLVIA PLATH (October 27, 1932 - February 11, 1963) A poet and author, Plath’s brief life yielded deep poetry that earned her a place among the greatest American poets. Main Accomplishments:
  • Studied at Newnham College, Cambridge, on a Fulbright Scholarship (1955).
  • Wrote The Bell Jar (1963).
  • The first recipient of a posthumous Pulitzer Prize (1982).
      Best known for her semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar and her two collections of poems “The Colossus” and “Ariel,” American poet, short-story writer, and novelist Sylvia Plath was one of the most talented and beloved American poets. She advanced the genre of confessional poetry. EARLY LIFE Once described as a "raving avenger of womanhood and innocence," Sylvia Plath, the poet, and novelist, was born on October 27, 1932, in Boston, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Otto Plath and Aurelia Schober. Her parents met at Boston University, where Aurelia was a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in teaching, and Otto was a professor. Otto taught various biology and German courses at the university. The couple wed in January of 1932, and they had Sylvia in the fall of that same year.  Plath grew up writing and loving the craft of literature. She published her first poem in 1940 at the young age of eight years old. That year, her father passed away from complications with diabetes. Her father’s austere, authoritarian method of child-rearing left lifelong marks upon Plath, as observed in her poem, Daddy. “Daddy, I have had to kill you,” Plath wrote, “You died before I had time …”  At the age of eleven, Plath took on the hobby of journaling and continued to harness her poetic prowess. Local newspapers even published some of her earliest works. She first stepped onto the national stage in 1950 when she had a poem published in the Christian Science Monitor shortly after graduating from high school. COLLEGE YEARS AND CAREER After graduation, Plath attended Smith College, a private liberal arts college in Northampton, Massachusetts. While studying, she earned an internship at Mademoiselle Magazine, which inspired her novel, The Bell Jar, published in 1963.  During her time at Smith College, Plath attempted to commit suicide by taking sleeping pills while hiding underneath her house. She was immediately moved into a mental health institution and soon recovered. After graduating from Smith College summa cum laude in 1955, Plath moved to Cambridge, England, on a Fulbright Scholarship. While studying at Newnham College, she met poet Ted Hughes at a party. The pair quickly married in 1956. In 1957, she moved back to Boston for a short time to study with American poet Robert Lowell, who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1947 and 1974. While in Boston, Plath also taught English at her alma mater, Smith College.  Upon returning to Cambridge in 1959, she continued writing poetry. Her first published collection was released in 1960, titled “The Colossus.” During that year, she gave birth to her first daughter, Freida. In 1962, she and her husband bore a second child, their son Nicholas. Following the birth of her son, Plath discovered her husband was having an extramarital affair. Hughes left her for another woman, which left Plath in a state of despair.  END OF LIFE After suffering through her marriage’s tumultuous end, Plath wrote The Bell Jar, published in 1963. Plath’s only novel tells the tale of a young woman named Esther Greenwood, who takes a summer internship at a magazine in New York City. While interning at the magazine, Greenwood finds herself in a state of pure boredom. She did not like her work nor the glamorous culture of the city.  After attending a banquet, she has a romantic stint with a man who nearly rapes her, and Greenwood breaks his nose in self-defense. She returns to Boston, where she expects to attend a writing course taught by a world-renowned writer. After being rejected from the program, Greenwood finds herself in a state of sorrow. She placed all of her self-worth in her academic performance and failed in that regard. Like Edna Pontellier of Kate Chopin's, The Awakening, Greenwood did not believe being a domestic mother or a career woman to be satisfying.  Now in a state of depression and constant insomnia, her mother takes her to a doctor who prescribes electroconvulsive therapy. Her state continually descends into hopelessness despite treatments, and Greenwood makes several ineffective attempts at committing suicide.  After trying to kill herself by swallowing fifty sleeping pills, an event which harkens back to Plath’s own experiences, Greenwood is sent to a mental hospital where she receives better treatment. The "bell jar" she was stuck with is lifted because she enters an improved mental state and into a state of freedom. After feeling frustrated that she cannot live as freely as a male, she asks for a diaphragm which allows her to have sex without the perpetual fear of getting pregnant. This sexual liberty, along with other events, alleviates her issues and provides her with a newfound state of sanity.  This novel was autobiographical for Plath. She resonated with her protagonist, who often searched for emancipation amid mental health issues and societal stigmas.  Along with The Bell Jar, Plath also wrote a poetry collection, “Ariel,” published posthumously in 1965 and regarded as her most brilliant work.  Plath took her own life on February 11, 1963. She was only thirty years old at her time of death.  Following her death, Hughes became her literary executor, much to the dissatisfaction of Plath’s fans. He edited “Ariel” and continued to release collections of Plath’s poetry. To this day, people remember her as one of the greatest poetic talents of the twentieth century. 

    Best known for her semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar and her two collections of poems “The Colossus” and “Ariel,” American poet, short-story writer, and novelist Sylvia Plath (1932–19...

    MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) American Baptist minister and civil rights activist who played a key role in the American civil rights movement. Main accomplishments: 1955: Led the Montgomery Bus Boycott 1963: Delivered the "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom 1964: Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize King's most well-known published works include "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (1963) and "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?" (1967). Considered one of the most influential figures in American history, Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister and civil rights activist who played a key role in the American civil rights movement. EARLY LIFE King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to a middle-class family. His father was a Baptist minister and his mother was a schoolteacher. King excelled academically and was heavily involved in his church as a teenager. King attended Morehouse College, where he studied theology and philosophy. After completing his undergraduate degree, he enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, where he received his Bachelor of Divinity degree. ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS King's passion for social justice grew during his time at seminary and he became increasingly involved in the civil rights movement. After completing his studies, he accepted a position as minister of a Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama. It was in Montgomery that King became a leader in the civil rights movement. In 1955, he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a year-long protest against segregation on public buses. The boycott was successful and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation on public buses was unconstitutional. PROFESSIONAL MILESTONES King's role in the civil rights movement continued to grow, and he became one of the movement's most visible leaders. In 1963, he delivered the iconic "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The speech, which called for an end to racial segregation and discrimination, was a turning point in the civil rights movement and is considered one of the greatest speeches in American history. In 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in the civil rights movement. He was the youngest person to ever receive the award. King's activism and leadership were not without controversy, and he faced many challenges and threats as he fought for civil rights. In 1968, he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, while supporting a sanitation workers' strike. LEGACY King's impact on the civil rights movement and on American society as a whole cannot be overstated. His non-violent approach to activism and his powerful message of equality and justice continue to inspire people around the world. In recognition of his contributions, King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, and he has a national holiday in his honor.

    MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) American Baptist minister and civil rights activist who played a key role in the American civil rights movement. Main accomplishments: 1955:...

    Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 - February 22, 1987)
    A trailblazer in the pop art movement, Andy Warhol is recognized for his banal depictions of mass-produced products and his unusually long underground films.  Best known for:
    • Exhibiting his appropriated Campbell soup can paintings which are now housed in The Museum of Modern Art (1962). 
    • Painting the “Eight Elvises,” which is among the most expensive artworks ever auctioned (1963). 
    • Producing over 60 films such as Eat (1963), in which a man is observed eating mushrooms for 45-minutes straight, and Chelsea Girls (1966), a 3 ½ hour-long film characterized by out-of-focus shots and intentionally poor editing. 
      A trailblazer in the pop art movement, Andy Warhol is recognized for his banal depictions of mass-produced products and unusually long underground films. His claim to fame was his Campbell’s soup paintings exhibition in the 1960s, adding items such as Brillo Pads and Coke bottles to the series later on. A virtuosic filmmaker, Warhol created incredibly complex films, such as the controversial Chelsea Girls, as well as unusually simple films, such as Sleep, which featured his partner sleeping naked on a bed. Though he died prematurely, his influence still rings today.
    Andy Warhol, born Andrew Warhola, was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His parents immigrated to the United States from modern-day Slovakia. Warhol's father, Andrej Warhola, worked as a construction worker, and his mother, Julia Warhola, worked as an embroiderer.  Warhol suffered from Sydenham chorea, also known as St. Vitus’ Dance, throughout his childhood years—a condition affecting the nervous system that results in uncontrollable movements. He contracted the disease at the age of eight years old, which left him bedridden for a number of months.  Eventually, Warhol’s health was restored to the extent that he could return to school at Holmes Elementary. It was during these early years that his mother fostered a love for art in her young son, teaching him how to draw and gifting him a camera.  When Andy was 14-years-old, his father was diagnosed with a jaundiced liver. Although he soon passed away, he did not leave his son without hope for a future. Having recognized Andy’s unique artistic abilities, the senior Warhol noted in his will that the inheritance he would leave behind should be put toward Andy’s college education.  Upon graduating from Schenley High School in 1945, Warhol enrolled at the prestigious Carnegie Institute for Technology—now Carnegie Mellon University—to study pictorial design. He completed his undergraduate coursework in 1949 and then moved to New York City.
    Warhol scored a job in New York as a commercial illustrator for Glamour magazine. The recent college graduate was learning the way around his new hometown and attempting to nail down his own perception of self-identity. Embodying this experience was Warhol’s ever-changing monikers. His birth name, Andrew Warhola, would not do for the young artist. André Warhola, A. Warhola, and Andy Morningstar were all names that he conceived of, yet did not satisfy him. So, instead of opting for a fanciful name, he simply adopted his nickname, dropped the “a” off his last name, and went by Andy Warhol.  Throughout the 1950s, Warhol won numerous awards for his illustrated designs; however, it wasn’t until the 1960s that his name would truly rise to prominence. In 1962, Warhol showcased his now-iconic paintings of Campbell’s soup cans. He later exhibited paintings of other ordinary items such as Brillo pads, Coca-Cola bottles, and even celebrities like Marilyn Monroe. Such exhibitions solidified Warhol’s notability as an artist and engendered the movement known as pop art.  Not only was Warhol a noted painter, but he was also a filmmaker. Warhol, who spent hours in a makeshift darkroom tinkering with photographs as an adolescent, now utilized his passion for the lens as an adult.  His first motion pictures were short films featuring subjects performing ordinary acts in grotesque ways. John Washing (1963) was the first in Warhol’s “Unseen” series of films and featured the poet John Giorno—who many believe was Warhol’s lover—standing in the nude washing dishes for nearly five minutes.  Warhol’s first feature-length film, Sleep (1964), also featured Giorno in the nude; yet, in this film, Giorno is simply seen sleeping for 45-minutes straight.  Another notable film in Warhol’s repertoire was Chelsea Girls (1966). With a duration of three-and-a-half hours, the movie attracted avant-garde audiences who were not strangers to leaving the theatre puzzled and perplexed. In his review of the film, Roger Ebert, the famed film critic, asserted, “‘Chelsea Girls’ must be believed to be seen … For what we have here is 3 1/2 hours of split-screen improvisation poorly photographed, hardly edited at all, employing perversion and sensation like chili sauce to disguise the aroma of the meal. Warhol has nothing to say and no technique to say it with. He simply wants to make movies, and he does: hours and hours of them.”
    In 1968, just two years after the release of Chelsea Girls, Warhol opened “The Factory,” an art studio that he could call his own.  A central meeting point for high society artists, Warhol found himself participating in the lifestyle he so frequently critiqued, a lifestyle that beheld deep consequences. In the same year “The Factory” opened, Valerie Solanas, a fringe women’s activist who frequented the studio shot and nearly murdered Warhol. The authorities arrested Solanas, who founded the Society for Cutting Up Men, after her crime. Warhol sustained critical injuries to multiple internal organs, leading the doctors to declare him deceased soon after the incident; however, the medical personnel were able to revive him. Warhol never fully recovered from Solanas’ attempted murder and needed to wear a medical corset for the rest of his life.
    Warhol was not only a famed painter and filmmaker, but also a writer. He published art-based works such as Exposures (1979) as well as philosophical works such as the aptly named, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (1975).  In the 1980s, Warhol dove into the world of television, starring in his own MTV shows Andy Warhol’s TV (1983-1984) and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes (1985-1987).  Four years into his new television endeavors, Warhol was admitted to the hospital for gallbladder issues. His medical team performed a routine surgery to remove his gallbladder and were successful in the operation. However, on February 22, 1987, only two days following the procedure, Warhol succumbed to cardiac arrest. He was 58-years-old.  His memorial service was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and his body was interned at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania.  Today, Warhol is remembered for his critiques of industrialization and celebrity culture, and for being a trailblazer in the pop art movement.

    A trailblazer in the pop art movement, Andy Warhol is recognized for his banal depictions of mass-produced products and unusually long underground films. His claim to fame was his Campbell’s soup pa...

    JOHN COLTRANE (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) American jazz saxophonist and composer who was a pioneer in the development of modal jazz and hard bop. Main accomplishments: 1957: Album "Blue Train" released 1960: Album "Giant Steps" released 1964: Album "A Love Supreme" released Considered one of the greatest saxophonists in the history of jazz, John Coltrane was a pioneer in the development of modal jazz and hard bop. His innovative and virtuosic playing style, as well as his groundbreaking compositions, have had a profound influence on jazz and music as a whole. EARLY LIFE Born in Hamlet, North Carolina, Coltrane grew up in a musical family and started playing the saxophone at an early age. He attended William Penn High School, where he played in the school's marching band, and later studied music at the Granoff Studios in Philadelphia. Coltrane's professional career began in the late 1940s, when he played with various bands and artists, including Dizzy Gillespie and Earl Bostic. In 1955, he joined the Miles Davis Quintet, where he played alongside some of the most talented and influential musicians of the time, including pianist Red Garland and drummer Philly Joe Jones. ACHIEVEMENTS Coltrane's time with the Miles Davis Quintet was crucial to his development as a musician. He honed his skills as a soloist and composer, and began to develop his own distinctive style. In 1957, he released his first album as a leader, "Blue Train," which was a critical and commercial success. Coltrane's career continued to thrive in the following years, and he released several more influential albums, including "Giant Steps" (1960) and "My Favorite Things" (1961). He also played with a number of notable musicians, including Thelonious Monk, Eric Dolphy, and McCoy Tyner. PROFESSIONAL MILESTONES In 1964, Coltrane released his most famous and critically acclaimed album, "A Love Supreme," which is considered a masterpiece of jazz. The album, which was recorded in a single session, features Coltrane's innovative and expressive playing, as well as his deeply spiritual and introspective compositions. Coltrane's later years were marked by his increasing interest in spirituality and his experimentation with free jazz and other avant-garde styles. He continued to tour and record until his death in 1967 at the age of 40. LEGACY John Coltrane's innovative playing and composing style, as well as his contributions to the development of modal jazz and hard bop, have had a profound influence on jazz and music as a whole. He is considered one of the greatest saxophonists in the history of jazz, and his music continues to inspire and influence musicians and listeners around the world.

    JOHN COLTRANE (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) American jazz saxophonist and composer who was a pioneer in the development of modal jazz and hard bop. Main accomplishments: 1957: Album “Bl...

    MILES DAVIS (May 26, 1926 - September 28, 1991) Acclaimed jazz musician who revolutionized the genre and recorded its most celebrated album, Kind of Blue. MAIN ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
    • In 1959 he released the album, Kind of Blue, which has now sold over four million copies.
    • Contributed to the development of jazz fusion throughout the late 1960s.
    • Won several Grammy awards for monumental works such as We Want Miles (1982).
      Widely considered one of the top musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was a major force in jazz. He was not only a gifted trumpeter and composer but an innovator who created a nine-member band called the "nonet," in which unconventional (in jazz) instruments like the French horn and tuba were used. He also invented a style known as “cool jazz,” characterized by softer and more subdued tempos than traditional jazz rhythms.  EARLY LIFE Miles Dewey Davis III was born in Alton, Illinois, in 1926. His mother was a music teacher, and his father was a successful dental surgeon. He had two siblings: an elder sister named Dorothy and a younger brother named Vernon. The three of them spent much of their childhood summers riding on horseback and hunting around their parents’ farm near Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Davis started learning the trumpet in his adolescent years and quickly began playing in local shows around St. Louis. After graduating from East St. Louis Lincoln High School in the spring of 1944, he enrolled at the Institute of Musical Arts in New York City, now known as Julliard. After being quickly sucked into the nightlife, he began playing shows with fellow jazz great Charlie "Bird" Parker. After a mere three semesters of study, Davis dropped out of college and became a full-time musician. CAREER He recorded with Parker for three years, from 1945 to 1948. In late 1948, Davis left Parker’s group following internal tensions and claims of not being fairly compensated. He then formed a band with names such as Gerry Mulligan, Kenny Clarke, and others. The group recorded twelve singles, which changed the course of jazz history. They blended instruments such as the french horn and tuba to create an orchestral sound and combined these textures with the smooth flows of improvisational trumpet solos.  Following a brief bout with drug addiction, Davis entered the glory days of his career in 1954. He worked with legends such as John Coltrane, “Philly” Joe Jones, and Cannonball Adderley. With the help of these greats, Davis recorded albums such as ‘Round About Midnight, released by Columbia Records in March 1957, as well as Kind of Blue in 1959. It was Kind of Blue’s focus on sparse chords, melodic solos, and maintenance of a relaxed mood that drove its success among jazz enthusiasts. During the late fifties and early sixties, Davis recorded three albums with the arranger, Gil Evans: Miles Ahead (1957), Porgy and Bess (1958), and Sketches of Spain (1960). Similar in style to his work with Mulligan and Clarke, these albums featured a grander feel with various instruments and complex solos. During this era, Davis formed a signature sound using a trumpet mute called a Harmon mute or casually named the wah-wah mute. He repeatedly used this mute throughout the rest of his career. People can hear the unique sound on the album Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants (1959).  Throughout the 60s and into the 70s, Davis’ renown only grew. With the release of the controversial Bitches Brew in 1970, Davis became popular among an entirely new generation. The influence of this album was largely due to his wife, the twenty-three-year-old model, Betty Mabry. She introduced him to the revolutionary pop-artists of the day, and soon enough, Davis' music began reflecting the electric-funk of the era.  From 1975 to 1980, Davis was on hiatus. After suffering from addiction to alcohol and cocaine, he left the public eye in hopes of recovery. In 1981 he returned and released an album titled The Man with the Horn and set his career back on track.  He continued to release songs that reflected his adoration for the sound of the times and even recorded covers of top-chart songs such as Michael Jackson’s, Human Nature. His continued insistence on creating funky music led Columbia Records to drop him from the label. Davis then moved on to Warner Bros. Records and produced more legendary albums such as the lush and electronic Tutu, which turned into a huge commercial success.  His contributions to the progression of music led him to receive an honorary doctorate from the New England Conservatory. When asked about his desire to move forward in music and not return to his Kind of Blue roots, he commented, “I have no feel for it anymore,” that style “is more like warmed-over turkey.” His following recordings and performances would not stray from that statement because he never looked back to his old ways of playing, but always searching for new methods to employ and new audiences to entertain.   DEATH AND LEGACY Davis passed away on September 28, 1991, at the age of sixty-five. The cause of death was pneumonia and respiratory failure. After spending a few days on life support, he died in the arms of his then partner, Jo Gelbard.  People remember him as one of the greatest musicians ever to live. Regarding the life and work of Davis, the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll commented, “Miles Davis was the most widely recognized jazz musician of his era, an outspoken social critic and an arbiter of style—in attitude and fashion—as well as music.”

    Widely considered as one of the top musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis (1926–1991) was a major force in jazz. He was not only a gifted trumpeter and composer, but also an innovator who creat...