Zen of Zero : About

Love Letters from Grampa



Zen of Zero










author at
zen of zero dot net


This site hosts some draft chapters for my developing book, tentatively entitled Love Letters from Grampa - about Life, Liberty, and the Zen of Zero. My plans are to post additional chapters at a rate of about one per week, which is the rate at which I sent the first 30 chapters (also posted here) to my sixteen-year-old granddaughter.

One of my purposes in establishing this site is to share what I've learned — about choosing goals for one's life, about desirable and undesirable constraints on one's liberty (to promote one's goals), and about how this universe seems to have created itself out of totally nothing, i.e., out of the original "zero" (which leads to the phrase "the Zen of Zero"). Another purpose is to solicit suggestions for the book's improvement.

About the book...

As I try to explain in the book's Preface, my purpose in writing the book was to respond to my four-year-old granddaughter's question: "Grampa, how come you don't believe in God?" For a variety of reasons (not least of which was my not wanting to undermine her parents' authority), I responded: "I'll tell you when you're older." When I retired, I set myself the task of keeping my promise to her — with the hope of thereby helping her, my other grandchildren, any children, and maybe even some adults.

About me...

Although I don't want this site to be about me (witness my efforts to be anonymous), perhaps some readers may want some background information; therefore, the following. During 1938, my neurons were activated, so that I could temporarily host another version of the multi-billion-year-old, still living, DNA molecule. After earning a bachelor's in engineering physics, a master's in nuclear physics, and a doctorate in aerospace engineering (with minors in plasma physics and applied math), I taught at four universities and at a graduate center in the western U.S. Earlier, in the 1960s, I had hoped to participate in space physics, but by the time I was trained, the political goal of reaching the Moon was achieved, NASA's funding was cut, and as a result, most of my quarter-century of research was in environmental sciences (resulting in at least 100 scientific reports, ~50 open-literature publications, 5-or-so book chapters, and my "editing" several books). After another round of politically expedient funding cuts, I took an early-retirement offer (when I was 56), and subsequently, during "retirement", I've been working harder than I ever did before, trying to answer a four-year-old's question!

About my request for help...

To improve the book's value (and note that I intend to leave it on the web, so that the only cost to readers will be time invested), I would be grateful for suggestions for its improvement. To recommend corrections or other suggestions, please send your e-mail to author at zen of zero dot net. I'll forward any inappropriate comments appropriately.

If you propose an important suggestion that's subsequently used in the book, I'd be glad to include your name in the book's Acknowledgements or in some other manner acknowledge your contribution, but if you don't desire that — or if you desire to remain anonymous — then please so indicate in your e-mail. Otherwise I'll assume that you wouldn't mind if your name were included. I want to add that I'd especially appreciate comments and suggestions from young adults about how they think the book could be (or should be!) improved to benefit their cohorts. What was confusing? What was too repetitious? What seemed unjustified? Etc.

I should also add my requests for both your understanding and patience. For example, if you've made a suggestion and subsequently don't see appropriate change, there's the possibility that I disagree with you — but please also consider the likely possibility that I haven't yet studied your suggestion, since I'm still busy trying to finish first-drafts of later chapters. To get hints about my response to your suggestion, you might want to check Acknowledgements, and also, compare the date of your original e-mail with the date of the latest version of the relevant chapter (given in its "header").

About Copyrights...

Finally for this "about page", I should address some sticky questions dealing with copyrights — for the book, for your contributions, and for those copyrights that you might think I've violated. For the book, I hold the copyright (a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License); thus, beyond the "fair-use clause" of the U.S. copyright law, I certainly don't mind if substantial portions of chapters are quoted (with reference to this website) for noncommercial promotion of "scientific humanism" (or similar). As for any copyrighted contributions that you suggest for possible inclusion in the book (under the fair-use clause), please provide appropriate references. And in the third case, relative to something for which you hold the copyright, if you conclude that I've violated the fair-use clause, then please inform me (via author at zen of zero dot net), suggest a remedy or remedies, and I'll quickly try to correct any inadvertent violation.