[Video Link] My friend Gary Wolf wrote a nice obit for our mutual friend Seth Roberts, who very sadly died this weekend. Gary described Seth as a "pioneering self-experimenter and personal scientist" and described some things he learned from Seth about self-experiments.
A few things Seth taught me:
• Doing lots of experiments keeps you supplied with new ideas.
With sensitive and reliable measurements, tiny experimental effects can yield surprising clues.
• The people who care about a problem most have the best chance of solving it, if they have access to tools.
• Seth's contributions as a colleague and teacher had many dimensions, but in thinking about him nonstop this morning what I find myself marveling at most is the unusual style he had in nearly every conversation. Seth became interested when he saw somebody thinking independently and, like the best teachers, he wanted to understand the process by which students and collaborators developed their conjectures and gained confidence in their truth, or lost it. Countless times, I heard Seth ask somebody "Why do you think that?"