Шутки о науке

ИТАКА, НЬЮ-ЙОРК – В среде физиков иногда можно услышать сомнительную историю о тосте, провозглашенном в честь открытия электрона Д.Д. Томсоном в 1897 году его коллегами из Кембриджского Университета: “За электрон: пусть он никогда никому не пригодится!” Математики-теоретики предположительно рассказывают похожую шутку о своей профессии.

Почему празднование бесполезности знаний принято считать остроумным? Я стал свидетелем подобного отношения космолога, когда несколько лет назад принял участие в радио-шоу: ведущий отметил, что у его исследования “фактически нет никакого практического применения”, на что тот быстро ответил: “Да, и я этим горжусь”.

Все эти шутки, кажется, опираются на одно и то же предположение: каждый думает, что знания, особенно научные знания, должны быть полезными. Поэтому смешно хвастаться, что твой собственный разряд знаний, будь это экспериментальная физика, математика или космология, является бесполезным.

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