Scientist (physics). MS in EE, PhD in atomic/plasma physics, plenty of professional papers and presentations. Educated in Russia, but currently works in US (mostly doing research and some sporadic teaching). Research interests span from thermonuclear plasma physics, x-ray lasers and shock waves to neutron stars, gravitation, and origin of everything. Knows: mechanics, e/m, quantum mechanics, SR, some GR and some QED. Does not know yet: nukes (strong interaction). Where does strong force come from? Anyone who has consistent mathematical enlightment on the origin of nuclear force, welcome to drop a line or two.
Likes: clear definitions, logic, reference to verifiable facts, analytical thinking, seeking common roots for different phenomena.
Deeply respects mathematics. Mathematics is not a language (nor a description, nor a human invention - these are common superstitions about mathematics). Mathematics is our lucky discovery of an advanced form of logic (that is exactly what mathematics is).
Why does universe obey mathematics? The answer is surprisingly plain and simple: because mathematics being logic is just a system of non-contradicting rules (and nothing else). Obviously universe can not contradict itself. Therefore - the enormous predicting power of math (and science). Science is where there is math.
So, pour a glass of good vine (or beer), and side with the math (=logic). And, please, forget about pathetic "common sense", or nearsighted "intuition", or murky "feelings" (or whatever other superstitions you were educated by). Mathematics (being just a logic) is always right. You "feelings" are likely not. (Thus, there is no one to blame but yourself).
Definitions are most important. A word (or a subject) without a definition is meaningless (is not that obvious?). If you can't define something - then you simply don't know what you are talking about. Simple, plain and clear.
Therefore dislikes: lack of definitions, lack of logic, and lack of facts.
Often two sides in discussion lack (or even worse - don't care about) clear definition of the subject they think they "discuss". To only find themselves to endlessly argue about something they don't even know what in the first place (examples: evolution, time, truth, laws of nature, god(s), angels, holy ghosts, etc - fill in the blank).
Also dislikes ignorance. Some make bold statements about what they PERSONALLY don't know - to only embarrass themselves wrong when they just open a textbook, encyclopedia, or learn facts.
Surprised: about very low quality of education in the US (compared to Russia and Europe in general). Hey, does not this country deserve a little better? Is it just me, or it is all about sacred "freedom of enterprise"? (=the more of ignorants walk around, the more money smarts can make on them - therefore the more benefits will return to the society via high bracket taxes and charitation of one)? Or am I missing something else here?
Hobby: real estate. Research in this country is paid so well that I can not spend it all (even for charities) - and have to invest surplus into buildings, land, projects. Another surprise here: the return (from just a hobby) is even better than the pay from main job. Why bother learning deep secrets of nature via long hours of hard labor - when one can play a little with sand/buildings (and quickly make a fortune?
Life is so surprisingly cool in its unpredictability !!!
- A mathematician, a physicist and a philosopher ride a train and see a black sheep in the field outside.
- "All sheep are black" - immediately says the philosopher.
- "There are sheep and some of them are black" - says the physicist.
- "There is at least one sheep and at least half of it is black" - says the mathematician.
Here is another good one:
- A physics professor comes to his dean and says: "We need another million dollars to upgrade our particle accelerator". Dean moans: "Why can't you guys be like folks from math department? - they only need a pen, a paper, and a waste basket". The professor replies: "Did you mean folks from philosophy department? - they only need a pen and a paper."