List of Awesomeness #3

List of Awesomeness #3

Shifting gears a bit, I have decided to add in a few papers,books, articles that I found quite riveting last few weeks.


Starting at the beginning – with the greatest minds of our century – A. Einstein. He published 5 papers in a single year, 1905 a.k.a Annus Mirabilis – the quality of theory in each paper was so high that they say it might easily have taken a whole year for a normal scientist to write just one.

Concerning an Heuristic Point of View Toward the Emission and Transformation of Light – Paper on Photoelectric effect winning him the Nobel prize.

On the Movement of Small Particles Suspended in Stationary Liquids Required by the Molecular-Kinetic Theory of Heat–  This is effectively just Brownian Motion. But Einstein’s unique insight into classical hydrodynamics and kinetic theory helped arrive at equations to find mean free path between collisions (Jean Perrin confirmed this using experiments and got a Nobel Prize for that)

A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions – This is his PhD dissertation. Remember that there was no electron microscope at that time so even though people knew atoms existed, there was no conclusive proof of its existence and size. His paper showed how to calculate the size of molecules and atoms.

On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies – Paper on Special Relativity (he preferred to call it Principle of Invariance) – 2 outcomes: laws of physics do not change for any non-accelerating a.k.a inertial frame of reference + speed of light is constant upper limit of speed in the universe.

Does the Inertia of a Body Depend upon its Energy Content? – Proposed E=mc^2 .Really a supplement to the paper on special relativity

If you have time to read one paper only, I would suggest the LAST one above – E=mc2 has been the defining equation of our generation. It gave birth to the atomic bomb which ended WWII. It has implications in Quantum mechanics. It runs CERN and other particle accelerators. It is what drives Solar energy – our energy saviour for the present and the future. It’s also a very short paper 🙂


Zero to One (Peter Thiel) – Recommended by a lot of people, I am halfway through but already tons of great insight and advice on starting/building “innovative monopolies”

The Code of Hammurabi – Law book of the 6th king of Babylon – funny to read at times but the simplicity of morality in that age is interesting at the very least – considering how laws and their interpretation is often twisted by the lawyers of today to facilitate their agenda.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (Carlo Rovelli) – Relativity and Quantum Physics have changed physics for more than 100 years and yet we teach Newtonian physics to young adults. This book explains, using plain english, all the aspects of modern science – covering some recent topics such as Quantum gravity, not-so-black Black Holes,etc. (Website is amazing!)

Articles – It’s an interview of Andrew Ng – one of the most respected minds in AI and deep learning. He built the system at Google which recognized cats, founded Coursera and is now running Baidu’s AI branch. Love 3 things that he mentions in this interview:

  1. “Follow your passion” is the worst advice adults give
  2. Habits contribute more to success than will power (read more to find details)
  3. Read a research paper more regularly & don’t watch too much TV – I have seen a lot of articles on insider view of Facebook, but this one really captures the real essence of dev and design at Facebook + how they take care of their employees (its ironic how every company tries to whatever they can to retain employees for long term and how someone with a history of staying at a company for long is frowned upon during job interviews) – When Paul Graham first met Sam Altman, he said “This is how Bill Gates must have been when he was young”. Great pieces of life and career advice coming from the guy who runs Y Combinator.