X-Message-Number: 19307
References: <>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 14:37:06 +0200
From: David Stodolsky <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #19297 - #19303

At 9:00 AM +0000 2002-06-18, Thomas Donaldson wrote:
>Glad that people other than children have entered the "round crater"
>discussion. My one problem comes from a side comment of Stodolsky,
>to the effect that it takes 20 years of physics to keep up with
>current activities. My own background is in mathematics, not physics,

It would be more correct to say that it takes 20 years of physics education
to come up with anything new in the field. In terms of understanding, a
background in math is fine, since that is the "language" of physics, and of
nature, some would say.

>direct from physics journals. If such fields really did require
>20 years of physics to understand, no wonder the funding of physics
>is in such problems!!! The number of people with 20 years of physics

The funding problems of physics result primarily from the breakdown of an
unwritten agreement between politicians and the physics community that
emerged after the Bomb was dropped on Japan. It became clear to
politicians, at that moment, that supporting physics was good for your
health ;-). This had very little to do with understanding physics. The
space race then refueled the competition with the Soviet Union, which was
very heavily funding higher education and toward the end was pumping out
PhDs in technical fields at about a rate of three for every one in US.

With the collapse of the SU, the general slide of the US educational system
toward mediocrity accelerated. Politicians seemingly prefer people to be as
ignorant as possible, so they can have a free hand to help the special
interests. The slide has been helped along to a minor degree by the
obscurantist wing of science studies and the blooming of social
constructionism (not necessarily different people), who have tried to
undermine the legitimacy of science.

>able to vote for and provide personal money for experiments in
>physics looks like a very small % of the population. Any vote on
>this issue would be easily lost. Any funding by the people themselves

Given that only half of the people in the US can correctly answer that an
astronomical year is the time it takes the Earth to go around the Sun, I
doubt if much funding is going to come to physics as a result of public
understanding. Or to genetics, nanotechnology, or other subjects important
to persons interested in cryonics.

The current political regime seems to favor world domination by a few
hundred extremely wealthy individuals over the survival of civilization.
Market forces are used to plunder the assets of the poorest, and
investments tend toward the shorter and shorter term. The end of this
article says how far we have progressed in guiding human affairs:

Nanotechnology's First Fruits:
Products nearing market promise to lead the budding industry from hype to

In the meantime, though, it looks like the cutting edge of this revolution
in chemistry and manufacturing will be found in the same place it has often
been found since before the biblical era.

The cosmetics counter.



David S. Stodolsky, PhD    PGP: 0x35490763    

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