Quotation of the Day

An English English professor — I mean an Englishman who is also a professor of English — mocks the hard sciences to a mathematician:

A great poet is always timely. A great philosopher is an urgent need. There’s no rush for Isaac Newton. We were quite happy with Aristotle’s cosmos. Personally, I preferred it. Fifty-five crystal spheres geared to God’s crankshaft is my idea of a satisfying universe. I can’t think of anything more trivial than the speed of light. Quarks, quasars — big bangs, black holes — who gives a shit? How did you people con us out of all that status? All that money? And why are you so pleased with yourselves?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I’d push the lot of you over a cliff myself. Except the one in the wheelchair, I think I’d lose the sympathy vote before people had time to think it through.

(Tom Stoppard, Arcadia, Scene 5)

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One Response to Quotation of the Day

  1. Al Kriman says:

    “Physicists themselves are partly to blame for this sad situation.  Their shop talk sounds like advanced Greek, unless you are Greek or a physicist.  When they are not talking to other physicists, physicists speak English.  Ask them what they do, however, and they sound like the natives of Corfu again.”

    [From Gary Zukav's The Dancing Wu Li Masters, of which this comment does not necessarily constitute a recommendation.]

    (Actually, since Zukav was writing from an English-speaker’s POV, he got the “speak English” claim almost precisely backwards. Physicists currently use English (or possibly a Greek-lexified, English-based jargon) to speak among physicists, except in those circumstances in which all of the physicists present are fluent in something else. In the latter case, they speak somethingelse-glish/glais.)

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