Science discoveries

7 May 2010

At http://calderup.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/why-is-science-so-sloooow/ May ^th ... Nigel Calder queries if the number of scientific breakthroughs is not keeping apace with the rusing number of scientists, and why is that? Is science more highly organised and able to resist new ideas? In other words, in spite of all the new scientists in diverse parts of the world science has become skill at blocking new knowledge and new ideas. This is not a novel idea of course and neither is the rest of the post - but it is worth reading. Scientists, in the name of science, are concerned to safeguard jobs and pensions and to do this it is necessary to safeguard funding - that means deciding where you believe science is heading and pointing a united, consensus, front. Funding agencies dictate research - and therefore matter. Anything that contradicts the party line is judged to be bad science and given a low priority. Major discoveries disturb the system, he says, and to try and make sure that nobody is accidentally funded to make an unwelcome discovery applicants are required to predict their results - an effective deterrent against discovery. Sometimes discoveries are made by mistake or by mavericks fooling the system. The system then switches into overdrive to ridicule the new discovery.

Calder then provides some examples. However, he also names a couple of institutions that do encourage free scientific research.