By MortazaviBlog on Apr 19, 2005
Many years ago, right after I finished my dissertation in computational fluid dynamics, I went to live and work in China for a year, and while I was there in Manchuria, and in the cold of the winter, I read a book on computational linguistics by a professor in Indiana University and a book on history of philosophy by a professor at UC Berkeley, with both of whom I corresponded from Anda, Heilongjiang Province, P.R.C. (I don't remember any e-mail accounts being issued to visitors at the institute where I worked as a "foreign scholar.")
I came very close to quitting my studies in philosophy/logic (and journalism) at Berkeley and moving to Indiana University to do work in computational linguistics/logic. My wife even got accepted to the law program there a few years later but being a Californian with a new-born child and my industry career just starting, she decided it was better for us to remain in California.
Indiana University, even as I've never been to Bloomington, always fascinated me with its breadth of programs. I remember receiving their catalog of courses during that year of life and work in P.R. China. In it, I could see not only advanced courses in logic and philosophy but also in Azeri and Central Asian dialects of Turkish, not to mention many other equally fascinating courses of study. Indiana University, like Berkeley, represents the ideal university, where all those lines of research, study and inquiry that others (particularly in the corporate world) are unwilling or unable to pursue are pursued, not simply as an intellectual curiosity but as a necessary ingredient on the meaningful margins of more conventional courses of "normal" study pre-packaged towards degrees for the outside world.
What would we do without such institutions that preserve and propagate human learning in its classical and new forms, with a motivation beyond immediate utilitarian purpose and a broad, open scope found in no other place except the university itself?
In closing, let me share this little link on human intelligence and psychology, hosted by IU.