me, thinking out loud…

Busy without Business…

Yes, that’s what my PS’s been like.. It hasn’t turned out to be as great a learning experience as one would imagine it to be.. [or atleast I hoped, it would be…] On the contrary, its turning out to be bad…

Nowadays, there’s a certain danger of the same thing happening, even in the famous field of physics. I was shocked to hear of an experiment being done at the big accelerator at the National Accelerator Laboratory, where a person used deuterium. In order to compare his heavy hydrogen results to what might happen with light hydrogen, he had to use data from someone else’s experiment on light hydrogen, which was done on a different apparatus. When asked why, he said it was because he couldn’t get time on the program (because there’s so little time and it’s such expensive apparatus) to do the experiment with light hydrogen on this apparatus because there wouldn’t be any new result. And so the men in charge of programs at NAL are so anxious for new results, in order to get more money to keep the thing going for public relations purposes, they are destroying — possibly — the value of the experiments themselves, which is the whole purpose of the thing. It is often hard for the experimenters there to complete their work as their scientific integrity demands.

When I first read this {from Feynman’s Cargo Cult Science [Adapted from a Caltech commencement address in 1974]}, I couldn’t quite figure out what or how exactly things are happening and what exactly Feynman meant by “losing the value of experiments”. But, now I know.. thanks to my PS. A lot of stuff that goes on here..[at least from what I can see..] is quite similar to (in fact worse than) this. PS’s been absolutely disappointing.. I don’t think I’ve learnt anything here that’s worth the effort of spending my hols (too), away from home… [except for Awe-TEM] I don’t think I will be taking back anything with me.. other than may be, a knowledge of stuff that I shouldn’t learn, stuff that I should keep away for the rest of my life…

Feynman is saying this to *me*, Right now!

… I have just one wish for you — the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom.


Comments on: "Busy without Business…" (1)

  1. Read Cargo Cult Science again, thanks for the link.

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