Thursday, July 5, 2012

From a Huff Post report:

-- In an interview with the BBC, the world's most famous physicist, Stephen Hawking, said Higgs deserved the Nobel Prize. Hawking said he had placed a wager with another scientist that the Higgs boson would never be found.

"It seems I have just lost $100," he said.--

If this unnamed other scientist is Kip Thorne, I suggest Hawking stop making bets with him. It seems Thorne always wins.

My point is that while I am delighted to see our sports/celebrity obsessed culture paying attention to scientists, I fear we are tending to impose celebrity upon those scientists. Dr. Hawking is brilliant, but he is not Einstein, and even Einstein was often wrong. Science is the most successful branch of philosophy because it allows practitioners to utilize a set of procedures and methodologies which correct for the human failings of said practitioners. In other words, science works because it allows for and overrides the human failings of scientists.

We should respect and admire researchers, but let's be careful to remember they are not to idolized.

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