On following the work of Helen Rhoda Quinn…


Helen R. Quinn, Stanford Linear Accelerator, Stanford, CA

Articles: A Wormhole Between Physics and Education, 2016
• Helen Quinn on Doing and Teaching Science, APA, 2020
ArXiv: Summary and Outlook for 9th International Symposium on Heavy Flavor Physics, Sept 11, 2001
Awards: National Academy of Sciences, 2003, AIP 2016 – Compton Medal
Homepage(s): NAS
Twitter: Routledge “Framework for K-12 Science Education”, 2021 Also see: NGSSStandards
Wikipedia: Chair, Board on Science Education (BOSE), National Academy of Sciences

Most recent: Wednesday, 27 July 2022 @ 11:18 AM

Dear Prof. Dr. Helen Quinn:

Yes, being one of the 1222 people who have watched your video and discussion about your BOSE-NAS initiative, I feel empowered to write to you. Before too much more time goes by, I would greatly appreciate your comments on our STEM tool (https://81018.com/stem/). We placed it on hold because it was so out of step with big bang cosmology. Yet, the logic and simplicity of a mathematical-predictive model is difficult to drop!

Are there one, two or three pieces of logic that we are overlooking? Thank you.

Most warmly,


PS. I recently turned 75 so I am not too far behind you especially given mortality rates of men! Also, I have noticed my page about your work (https://81018.com/quinn/) has gotten a fair amount of traffic! -BEC

Third email: Wednesday, 27 March 2019 at 2 PM

Dear Prof. Dr. Helen Quinn:

Back about a year ago you said that you could not see how geometric shapes would add to the idea of the power of re-scaling multiple times by a factor of 2, i.e. our chart of the universe in 202 base-2 notations from Planck Time to this very day and instant.

My rhetorical question, “Can there be a geometry like automorphic forms that give rise to particles and waves?”  Of course, that debate is now within loop quantum gravity, Langlands programs and string theory.

All well and good, is there yet an even more basic geometry? What about John Wheeler’s quantum foam? That is now postulated to be planckspheres.  What might be some the characteristics within such simple and basic shape?

Now, I continue to update my profile page about you and your work (this page). Because our work began in 2011 was in a high school and was even tested in one of our AP sixth-grade classes, I know this model can be worked into K-12 education, but, wouldn’t it be irresponsible to teach something that is not mainstream?  It certainly could become quite confusing for the students.

On another note: quantum fluctuations: What if that all starts with a geometric problem? Were you aware that Aristotle thought one could tile/tessellate the universe with just the tetrahedron? He missed the gap within just five tetrahedrons.  He also missed the “squishy geometry“– the kids just love it — with the icosahedron and the Pentakis dodecahedron. The kids had great fun making all those models, plus these:
•  https://81018.com/tot/
•   https://81018.com/tiling/

As a result of our exchange, I have written several articles, the most recent being: https://81018.com/uni-verse

I apologize for the length of this note. Thank you.

Most sincerely,


Second email: Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Dear Prof. Dr. Helen Quinn:

I say to the kids, “Everything starts simple before it becomes complex.”
“There’s always a chain of command even if you can’t discern it.”

You’ll probably find this a bit hard to believe, but
when we started, I had no cosmology.
My dislike for it was rather visceral. It’s a story that
goes back to one of those clear summer nights (no moon);
I was a kid deep in the heart of the State of Maine,
looking up from a grassy knoll out into the Milky Way,
empathizing, stretching, and reaching for those stars,
when suddenly it started filling me and I felt like
I was suffocating within that infinity. Rather strange, I’ll admit.
Probably I should go get some therapy at 72 years old!
So, I avoided cosmology… anything beyond our solar system.

Also, I will be the first to admit that I am not satisfied
with our current understanding of the Planck scale.
Those are “real” numbers for mass, charge, length and time
and there hasn’t been enough ideation about it.
I do not think the string theorists have taken that data at
all seriously. Is there anybody else thinking at that scale?
It would be nice if the Langlands program people would
think about it, but they have their own starting points…

So, I take those four base units and ask, “What might those units
look like?” John Wheeler suggested quantum foam. More recently,
there are many who are now instantiating a “plancksphere.”

So, we ignored all cosmological models to look
for some new ontological model that works on up to cosmology…

Well, may I keep you abreast of our progress? Thanks.


First email:  Wednesday, Aug 2, 2018, 5:18 PM

Dear Prof. Dr. Helen Quinn:

I send this note in light of your work on the “Framework for K-12 Science Education.”

I have been puzzling a STEM tool that we fell into back in December 2011 within a high school geometry class.

The kids seemed to enjoy it when I took over my nephew’s geometry classes, so each time I was encouraged to think more creatively. This time instead of building models, we would do Zeno’s paradox by going inside the tetrahedron and by dividing the edges by 2, going deeper and deeper inside the four half-sized tetrahedrons and its one octahedron. Then we went within the eight tetrahedrons and six half-sized octahedrons with it. It got very busy very quickly. In just 45 steps within we were in the range of the fermion. Within another 67 steps within we were in the range of the Planck base units.

That was fascinating. 112 steps from the desk-sized object down to the Planck objects where we hit the “Planck wall.”

It didn’t take too long before we doubled that classroom tetrahedron). In just 90 steps, we were out to the Observable Universe.  It was too simple. We looked around for help to confirm our fascinating project. Even Frank Wilczek encouraged us!

But, interest dropped off quickly. People didn’t know what to do with it. I put it on the web and asked for comments. It was a curious thing, yet still nobody knew what to do with it. So, I continued to push its simple logic to try to determine where that logic fell apart:

Might you be able to help?

Most sincerely,
Bruce Camber

PS. On quite another project, I will be on a tour of SLAC next Monday. Will you be in the area? -B

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