2005-02-03

Einstein restored faith in the unintelligibility of science

The title is a quote from "Einstein as icon" by John D Barrow in the 20th Jan edition of Nature. I really like it. It follows on, in the article, from a discussion of other major figures - Newton, Darwin - and the comment that Darwins work was too well known. People thought they could understand what Darwin saw saying. But almost everyone agrees they don't understand Einsteins work.

And it reminds me, irresistibly, of the wise words of Gavin Schmidt on the launch of RealClimate:

Climate science is one of those fields where anyone, regardless of their lack of expertise or understanding, feels qualified to comment on new papers and ongoing controversies. This can be frustrating for scientists like ourselves who see agenda-driven 'commentary' on the Internet and in the opinion columns of newspapers crowding out careful analysis.

And Gavin is correct. Any old fool - politician or physicist - with almost no knowledge of the issues seems to feel free to comment. Where is our Einstein?

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've forgotten, of course, that physicists are smarter than the rest of us and are entitled to comment on anything, by virtue of the fact that in the end it's all physics.

- John Fleck

7:14 pm  

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