1 July 2015

Goes Boink

Scientific progress...is often triggered by rather innocuous discoveries or simple realisations. There is a terrible cliché about scientists exhibiting a ‘childlike’ fascination with nature, but I can’t think of a better way of putting it. The sense in which the cliché rings true is that children are occasionally in the habit of focusing on a very small thing and continuing to ask the question ‘Why?’ until they get an answer that satisfies their curiosity. Adults don’t seem to do this as much. Good scientists do, however, and if I have a thesis...it is as follows: by focusing on tiny but interesting things with honesty and clarity, great and profound discoveries are made, often by flawed human beings who don’t initially realise the consequences of their investigations.
The Human Universe by Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen (2014)

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