FEYNMAN AND THE CHALLENGER EXPLOSION

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Thu Feb 1 13:35:04 EST 1996


[ RANDOM SNIPS ] 

> On Thu, 1 Feb 1996, Chris Sully wrote:

> inforamp.net (David Lloyd-Jones) writes:

> Nick Landau <nick at n-landau.demon.co.uk> wrote:
 
> love at not.war (TEMPEST) wrote:
 
>> gimme a break.

> My, that'a an intelligent response!

> I thought "Tempest"'s response was intelligent: 
> brief, pungent, and
>  relevant.  Gold's aricle was an unpleasant exercise in a rather
>  simpering kind of paranoia.  
>> Give me a break indeed!
> 
> Cheers.
> 
> Chris.
>

I am amaized at the level of mixed emotions 
(some samples are above) triggered by the
original posting on Feynman and Challenger.

What Bert Gold originally said, is that a great man
was able to convince people by a highly lucid
common sense argument.

But imagine it was not Feymnam but some little known 
prof of physics or engineering from some small 
university or college who would come up with the 
precisely same demonsration (oil ring in ice water,
or what it was) in the same day and on the same
occasion. Who would notice this argument then ?
Obviously nobody, and it won't affect Challenger
invesigation in any way whatsover.

This simply confirms that most of us know already.
That people (even in science) have little patience
with common sense argumentation when it goes 
against their personal interest. So, they keep
ignore criticism and insist on irrelevancies to
maintain the warmth of their cusion existence.

For essentially anyone OUTSIDE science it is perfectly 
clear that the anonymous opinion in science merits to 
rather little on an ethical (and scale) and even on
the factual side its credibility is often very low. 
Nonetheless, scientists as a guild, keep insisting 
on the APR (anonymous peer review) and highly selective 
funding models (nonsensical idea of 'excellence 
enforcement' through rat race 'competition').

Dick Feynman was lucky (wise enough ?) not to talk
on APR or selectivity - if he would, he would
undoubtedly be ignored too. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
and Henrich Rohrer (both are Nobel prize laureates)
who DID TALK talk on the idiocity of competition 
were ignored either. 

Alex Berezin     
    



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