Sunday, September 13, 2015

The crazy orgies in Hollywood!

The Scientific American has an interesting short opinion piece on why there will never be another Einstein.

Before I give away the author's response, or before you go read it, what response do you have to that question?  
Do you think there will be another Einstein-like genius?  
There can never be one again?  
We have plenty even now?

I liked quite a bit of what what the author had to say there.  But, I had a nagging thought as I read that piece.  I was, therefore, happy that the author took care of my concern via an addendum, where he quotes the string theory guy Brian Greene:
 “If one means another über genius who will powerfully push science forward, then the answer is surely yes. In the past half a century since Einstein’s death, there have indeed been such scientists. But if one means an über genius to whom the world will look not because of accomplishments in sports or entertainment but as a thrilling example of what the human mind can accomplish, well, that question speaks to us—to what we as a civilization will deem precious.”
Brian Greene being a sharp guy himself, well, he has carefully constructed those sentences with a bunch of clauses.  If you are like me, then re-reading Greene's response helps to figure out what Greene is saying there.  If that too fails, the author interprets it with simple words:
Note Greene's implication: If science doesn't produce another Einstein, it's nonscientists' fault.
I agree with Greene.  Unlike in Einstein's time, we people are now obsessed with "accomplishments in sports or entertainment" and those accomplishments have become measures of what humans can achieve.  We have golfing geniuses and cricket geniuses who seem to have satisfied our appetite for the next Einstein!

Chances are pretty high that kids and adults here can rattle of names of ball players or singers or actors and be stumped when it comes to naming scientists.  As a society, we do not seem to care about science and scientific accomplishments anymore.  On the other hand, we keenly follow with utmost fascination the work and personal lives of the superstars in golf, cricket, soccer, Hollywood, Bollywood, Nashville, ... the list is endless, it seems.   In India, cricket players and movie actors are even worshiped as gods!

Brian Greene is the one with the dark sweater and with his hands folded
I took this photo ... in 2004, I think
A few years ago, Brian Greene visited our campus.  Hardly a handful of students showed up to listen to him and to ask him questions.  I am sure it would have been a standing-room-only situation if the university had instead brought to campus even a third-tier entertainment personality.  "we as a civilization" have apparently decided that entertainers are immensely precious to us.

I doubt whether even an Einstein can be an Einstein in this contemporary world!

So, why the strange title for this post? Sex and Hollywood sell, baby, not science!

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