Sunday, 11 April 2010

Beautiful Minds

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell was talking about science not being about truth because you can't be sure that one person's truth is the same as another person's truth. Truth  has perspective and so opinionated. Science is an investigation which improves or increases understanding. I liked this. It made sense.

She was remarkably unembittered by the controversial awarding of the 1974 nobel prize to Dr Hewish, her Phd supervisor, (along with Dr Ryle), for his discovery of pulsars, which should have at least been equally hers. His bullshit explanation that the research set up was there already and so the discovery to them rather than to the research student who saw it, raised their conscious to it and then proved the theory by finding more. He could have told the prize givers of the part she played. Dr Bell Burnell didn't seem to mind. She was truely remarkable.

Astrophysicists have a fascinating story to tell - of the creation of the universe, big picture understanding. She made the science understandable. Like Prof Brian Cox on Wonders of the Solar System, she made the big wow stuff make sense. Perhaps its because it relates to us and our world and how it came to be. Perhaps its because they are excited by their subject (always a very attractive quality in a person).

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