Tim wrote:

> Academic scientists are trained to reserve the spare time they have to spent on their research and avoid any diversion.

Hmm, I must have missed that training session. I went into academia precisely so I could think about whatever I want. And now you're telling me I was supposed to be avoiding diversions?

Seriously, lots of academic scientists I know spend lots of time engaged in diversions of all sorts. But perhaps anything related to "saving the planet" sounds more like "hard work, but without an ensuing publication".

> I think we can get more people interested by helping them with their research.

I agree. I also think that posing solvable problems with publishable answers is a good idea.

I'm getting pretty close to being able to explain lots of fun problems relating category theory, quantum field theory, control theory, "systems biology", and "systems ecology". This won't save the planet, but it may pull some mathematicians and physicists towards thinking about biological systems. I think that could be somewhat helpful.

But it's just one of many things I should be doing...