17 May 2009

Politics and Physicis

Politics and Physics
More on the same. As the readers of this Blog know, Rein Taagepera has made a sustained effort to present physics as a reference for political science. The two comments below can strongly resonate on that point, especially regarding the role of imagination and that of 'collecting stamps'.
From Financial Times, May 16 2009

Sir, CP Snow’s warning on the dangerous split between scientists and literary intellectuals may be deceptive indeed ('The split between scientists and writers', FT, May 9).
Peter Gay recounted the anecdote that the historian (of intellectual ideas) Cassiser liked to tell. He was once was talking to David Hilbert, the great mathematician, and during the conversation Cassirer inquired after one of Hilbert’s bright and promising students. Hilbert was said to have replied: “He is all right. You know, for a mathematician he did not have enough imagination. But he has become a poet and now he is doing fine.”
This was long before science met banking, though. And we know by now what it brings when too few scientists turn to poetry.
Kees van Ravenhorst,
Heemstede, Netherlands
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Sir, Sam Leith commemorated CP Snow’s Rede Lecture of 50 years ago and quoted Marcus du Sautoy, “that science is not one culture but many cultures” (“The split between scientists and writers”, May 9).
As a Cambridge scientist, Snow was at the centre of a serious cultural division within science itself. The Cambridge physicist, Ernest Rutherford, had said that “science is either physics or stamp collecting”, which reflected the belief that the descriptive sciences of biology and geology were avocations or hobbies as compared with the “exact sciences”. Butterfly nets and rock hammers were for holidays. The circumstantial evidence gathered by evolutionary biologists to support their theory was seen as “stamp collecting”.
In 1953, inspired by Schrodinger’s essay “What is Life?” three physicists and a geneticist discovered the structure and function of DNA, which has made evolutionary biology a more “exact science”. In 2003 the first phase of the Human Genome Project was completed. In the 21st century, physics and biology are no longer separate scientific cultures.
Hiram Baddeley,
Frome, Somerset, UK

COMMENTS
Josep, I had not read your blog since two months ago. It is a pleasure for me to read it and, I think I never told you, you were (and are) a powerful influence to me. Congratulations for this interesting blog!!!
Diego Reynoso
Mexico

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Thanks from Russia

Dear Mr COLOMER,

I just want to say 'Thank you' for your works. They were so useful in my research, especially The Invisible Hand in Institutional Design.

I understand well that you receive mails like this every day, but it is always interesting and cognitive work to read such proceedings of foreign famous scientists, that weren't published in Russia, and to find out not typical for our russian political and legal school ideas. For all these reasons I wrote this letter.

Best regards,

Michael BALOV
MGIMO (Second higher education)

Moscow

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Aprofito per felicitar-te pel blog (...tot i que últimament no l’he rebut tan sovint) que realment és espectacular tant pel que hi dius com per la gent que reacciona. La veritat és que sempre el llegeixo … i no havia llegit mai cap altre blog.
Xavier Ballart
Barcelona

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It's a delight to discover the blog of such influential political scientist!
My kind regards, Mr Colomer! I've enjoyed your articles very much!

Razvan Grecu
Bucharest

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Dear Josep: Thank you very much for keeping me posted on your very interesting blog.
Best regards,
Mariano Tommasi
Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina

2 Comments:

Anonymous Diego Reynoso said...

Josep, I had read your blog since two month ago. It is a pleasure to me read it and, I think never told you, you were (and are) a powerful influence to me. Congratulations for this interesting blog!!!

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Razvan Grecu said...

It's a delight to discover the blog of such influential political scientist! My kind regards, Mr Colomer! I've enjoyed your articles very much!

5:33 PM  

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