emoment with carl
What could Galileo and Steve Jobs both teach us? Intelligence comes in many forms—logical, mathematical, linguistic, inter-personal, or artistic. Creativity often involves having more than one kind of intelligence to help solve a problem.

Galileo was one of the great heroes of the Scientific Revolution through his demonstration of how to reduce complex problems to mathematical formulae. By applying mathematics to the motion of bodies in space or along inclined planes, he helped solidfy the Copernican model of the solar system and laid the foundations for a science of mechanics on Earth as well. One mystery is why he never got close to what Newton finally discovered: the laws of gravity. Galileo never developed the concept of conservation of momentum, one of the building blocks for the theory of gravity. Why? When Galileo used diagrams to solve problems in explaining the motion of bodies, he made fundamental discoveries in physics. When it came to explaining continuous motion, which could have led him to the concept of conservation of momentum, Galileo did not use diagrams. As a result, he had difficulty in perceiving the role of mass in developing motion. His mathematics remained the same. But it was his diagrams and pictures that helped him make breakthroughs. With continuous motion, he did not go as far as his mathematics would have allowed him to go: he did not utilize his spatial intelligence to its full capacity. Spatial intelligence, the ability to portray things pictorially in powerful ways, is its own kind of intelligence.

As Walter Isaacson shows in his fascinating biography, while Steve Jobs knew little about engineering, he understood the relationship between our bodies and machines. Instead of instructing us on what do with our hands in order to operate a computer, Jobs gave us a device that attracted our hands and he filled a screen with icons of many uses, connecting our eye's perception with our hands' movements. With these functions now available to us, Jobs wanted us to carry them out in our everyday lives. At Elizabethtown College, we help our students learn creativity in art, science, and every field that we can in order to help them become innovative leaders for society in the future. All kinds of intelligence are precious, and more precious when they speak to each other.

As E-town physicist Mark Stuckey teaches his students, utilizing spatial intelligence is not only an essential part of learning, but gives us the ability to think through problems critically and find creative solutions.

Enjoy the moment,

Carl J. Strikwerda,

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