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Tyler Cowen engages today’s deepest thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between.

New conversations every other Wednesday. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

May 29, 2024

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Michael Nielsen is a scientist who helped pioneer quantum computing and the modern open science movement. He's worked at Y Combinator, co-authored on scientific progress with Patrick Collison, and is a prolific writer, reader, commentator, and mentor. 

He joined Tyler to discuss why the universe is so beautiful to human eyes (but not ears), how to find good collaborators, the influence of Simone Weil, where Olaf Stapledon's understand of the social word went wrong, potential applications of quantum computing, the (rising) status of linear algebra, what makes for physicists who age well, finding young mentors, why some scientific fields have pre-print platforms and others don't, how so many crummy journals survive, the threat of cheap nukes, the many unknowns of Mars colonization, techniques for paying closer attention, what you learn when visiting the USS Midway, why he changed his mind about Emergent Ventures, why he didn't join OpenAI in 2015, what he'll learn next, and more. 

Read a full transcript enhanced with helpful links, or watch the full video.

Recorded March 24th, 2024.

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