科学的玩笑

纽约伊萨卡——在自然科学家中间有时会听到一则杜撰的故事,讲的是剑桥大学同事在举杯祝贺1897年J. J.汤姆生发现电子时说:“为电子干杯:预祝它永远不会对任何人有用!”据说纯数学家也经常对自己的职业开同样的玩笑。

为什么人们会把庆祝知识无用看作一种诙谐的态度?几年前,我在参与一档广播节目时曾亲眼目睹一位宇宙学家抱有同样的态度:当主持人说他的研究“几乎没有任何实际用处”时,他很快回答说,“是这样,我感到非常骄傲。”

这些玩笑似乎有赖于同样一种假设:所有人都认为知识,特别是科学知识,应该有某种用处。因此不管是实验物理学、数学或宇宙学,吹嘘自己的知识无用显得非常好笑。

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To access our archive, please log in or register now and read two articles from our archive every month for free. For unlimited access to our archive, as well as to the unrivaled analysis of PS On Point, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/BRVVSCg/zh;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.