Wednesday, July 1, 2009



Fat boy's neighbor with red hair: "Inventing is out, science is number one now!"

"So, scientists -- they discover new phenomena and challenge old knowledge. They were prosecuted for that in Medieval times -- Giordano Bruno was burned alive, Galileo Galilei was forced by the Inquisition to deny his theory. Avicenna was always on the run. Every new discovery provokes. Copernicus had been working on his fundamental theory for twenty years, but he dared publish it only at the moment of his death. Kepler made a living by casting horoscopes: his great astronomic discoveries would not have nourished him. Science needs governmental financing for demanding projects, and governments in exchange for that want to dominate science. It went so far that Pavlov, the famous physiologist, recommended an idiot, a government protégée, for membership in the Academy of Sciences with the words: 'Why are you so stubborn, you know that in Ancient Rome they had a horse as a senator, and the man here is definitely better educated....' There is an eternal conflict between knowledge and government. Lavoisier, who discovered the principle of matter and energy conservation, could not conserve his own head. He went to the guillotine during the French Revolution. And when at last things turned out right, when science attracted the interest of governments, disappointment followed. After the Hiroshima bomb, the physicist Otto Hahn spent the rest of his lifetime fighting against the devastating use of this discovery. Doubts agonized him until his death: ´If it really was an uranium bomb, then too.... Oh God? Why did it have to end like this?!´ Oppenheimer, often referred to as ´the father of the A-bomb´ was later accused of treason by the FBI and barred from all access to nuclear research. His comment was: ´What we had been doing was the work of Satan. Now we are returning to our own tasks.´ But regardless of all their protests, they never rid us of the A-bomb."

Red-haired boy reply: "Not everyone ended badly, there have been others!"

"Well, I have no data about that ....I can not remember, maybe there have been others.... Does anyone wish to enter some other profession?"

Tall, smiling, inconspicuous: "I am going to be an athlete."

"So, exertion, doping, injuries. And when perhaps you are the first in the world to complete a quadruple jump in figure skating, you may possibly never jump again because of exhaustion. It is not simple to tune your form for the Olympic year, and when you happen to succeed in doing so, two governments begin to argue, and yours might not let you go. It lets you instead compete at a domestic stadium, just to show how fantastic we are, forget the Olympic medal. And when you are thirty, you are either disabled or forgotten, or both; what next?"

Red-haired boy suddenly, indignantly: "That's not true! Stanley Matthews played in the British Premier League until he was fifty. And at the age of 39 he played at the World Cup, and made two passes for two goals in the final match."

"Sorry, I did not know that .....There are no references to that in my database..... Another profession, please."

Prudent, slowly-speaking boy: "I want to be an astronaut."
"That means you want to the best, outstanding?"
Slow answer: "Well... Yeah."

"To tell the truth, the first astronaut Gagarin in the world was chosen just because he was not exceptional in any significant way. He did not score by best in a single one of the tests all the candidates had to pass. He had been chosen because he was reliable, always giving a standard performance. His reactions were predictable. A credo of astronauts is solid performance. If you want to be exceptional, go somewhere else."

Red-haired boy with triumph in his voice: "But most of those who were in space had to cope with exceptional situations. During the first launch, Stanford's rocket threatened to explode. When he was a member of the crew that was training for the Lunar landing, the module that separated from the carrier rocket had a failure on the landing radar, and a return could have been impossible. Turning a switch on and off when your life is at stake requires very good nerves. Russian astronaut Rjumin proved to be exceptionally persistent and showed great talent at repairing unexpected malfunctions during space flights. When John Young was on the Moon, at one moment he suddenly stepped in front of the camera and said: ´Now you will witness the first Winter Olympic Games on the Moon. The only competition is high jump!´. But he miscalculated his jump and landed on his back, the equipment he carried on his back outbalanced him. The first high jump on the Moon, and already a flop! Who could have foreseen it?"

"Well... I do not want to argue, but do not you think that you are biased in quoting those examples? Think, if they really represent the topic! I do not thinks so ....Next one please."

(to be continued)

No comments: