I see a set of constraints facing us in the future, and they’re all going to be very expensive. First is funding retirements for the Baby Boom generation. Second is continuing increases in the costs of healthcare. The third is replacing decaying infrastructure. The fourth is adapting to climate change and repairing environmental damage. The fifth is developing new sources of energy. The sixth is what I see as in all likelihood continuing high military costs. The seventh is the costs of innovation.
The scientific method was perfected in the crucible of natural science, and physics in particular. And an old professor of mine once told me that a good theoretical physicist is intrinsically a lazy person. And so these heuristics of ignoring superfluous detail, simplifying the problem to its barest essentials, maybe even making a caricature out of it, solving that simpler problem. If you can’t solve that simpler problem, solve an even simpler problem. This actually works in physics. Because the universe is intrinsically a lazy place.