Part of what I’m doing is selectively looking for questions that I already know something interesting about. Or I’ve stumbled across a paper recently that was really cool, and now I’ll keep an eye out for a question that will let me bring it up — something I can use as a springboard.
What I like doing is finding the places in those questions where normal people — or, people who have less spare time than I do — think, “This is stupid,” and stop. I think the really cool and compelling thing about math and physics is that it opens up entry to all these hypotheticals — or at least, it gives you the language to talk about them. But at the same time, if a scenario is completely disconnected from reality, it’s not all that interesting. So I like the questions that come back around to something in real life.
And the great thing with this is that once someone asks me something good, I can’t not figure out the answer, you know? I get really serious, and I’ll drop whatever I’m doing and work on that.
A statistical reality check on the soul mate myth from XKCD.