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Science

Book Review: Another Wandering "Intellectual"


"Science, Liberty and Peace" by Aldous Huxley, publishers Chatto and Windus, price 3/6d. net.

Editorial: The Commercialisation of Science

Another Annual Conference of the British Association has come and gone. The topic of most importance appears to have been the alleged parlous plight of British industry.
 
Britain used to be “the workshop of the world." Now it is not. Its industrial capitalists no longer receive what they consider to be their fair share of the plunder of the world’s toilers. For some years past the capitalists of other countries have shown a callous disregard for the sensitive Britishers' feelings and betrayed their utter lack of a sense of decency by developing their productive capacity on modern lines, to the detriment of the erstwhile champion thieves of Europe.
 
Hence our masters are concerned to discover ways and means of intensifying the exploitation of the British workers, and the scientists are the boys they entrust with the job.

Theatre Review: 'Blinded By The Sun'

Publish and be damned

'Blinded By The Sun', by Stephen Poliakoff (National Theatre)

Many people have very strange ideas about the nature of science and the behaviour of scientists. Television adverts, for example, tend to perpetuate the myth of scientists as seekers after “the truth”; dressed in spankingly-clean white coats, wearing regulation horn-rimmed glasses they stride the floors of massive laboratories piled to the roof with complex pieces of glass apparatus from which emerge ominous gurgling noises. More generally scientists are still seen as essentially impartial, rational, dispassionate individuals, engaged in uncertain laboratory experiments. The reality, however, is very different.

Pathfinders: (Pr x Media) = Funding2

Last month the world woke up to the strange headline that a) gravitational waves had almost certainly probably been detected and that therefore… b) wait for it… c) Einstein was a bit clever and… d) his theory of relativity was almost certainly probably right.

Of course the scientists were ecstatic. They had been trying to find these waves for years, and now that they had, they also potentially had a new way of looking at the universe. Maybe.

So, good job and pats on the back all round, but front-page splash material, really? It was like the Higgs all over again, with journalists and readers alike gamely talking it all up while trying not to look too baffled.

On the face of it, not much had really changed. Einstein's theory of relativity had already been corroborated as far back as 1919, and every scrap of observational data since had only served to confirm it, making it one of the most successful theories in the history of science.

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