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That's an interesting read. Especially the part about the struggle against those who stubbornly refused to accept something that was against their knowledge and beliefs (not the first, nor surely the last time it happens ).
I also moved the thread to the Miscellaneous section, if you don't mind, Sir.
My favourite quote from the article is:
"He really was a great scientist, but he was wrong. It's not the first time he was wrong,"
The word "but" in that sentence sort of sums it up for me, IMHO a good scientist should have a completely open mind, however they should also be able to differentiate between a possible discovery, and a complete waste of time, something that is very very difficult to do at times
, one of the most important scientists in human history. Science is basically a human-created methodology for understanding nature, or the truth, as only humans can understand it. As with anything that has to do with human beings, the practice of Science is far from perfect. Competition, money, and ego, among other things, prevent Science and the people who practice it from being perfect. One irony of this story is that it may be Pauling's heavy criticism of quasicrystals that lead to Dr. Shechtman's Noble Prize in Chemistry.
Of the Nobel Prize: There is a Chapter in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! - Adventures of a Curious Character (This is a great read by the way.), a book about another famous and important scientist, that is entitled Alfred Nobel's Other Mistake. In my opinion, scientific awards like the Noble Prize ruin the integrity of Science and amplify the competition, money, and ego aspects of the Scientific Pursuit. The Noble Peace Prize is a different matter to me, as I believe it has the power to give exposure to problems in the world that just are not apparent to most people.
I must say that I am happy for Dr. Shechtman, though. He is a professor at my Alma Mater, and that will only raise the fortunes of my previous university. It is also nice to see that a truth can overcome adversity from even the most impressive adversaries.
Wonderful to know that your alma mater would also get a glow from Shechtman's recognition.
Yes, Pauling by all accounts was astonishingly bright, but a difficult and self-certain man. Competition, and the like, seems to be always a double-edged sword. It can be very beneficial up to a point, and beyond that very destructive.
I am curious still about quasicrystallinity on razor edges! Beyond advanced commercial products, is that what we (at least partially) get at the edges of straight razors from stropping (which to my knowledge has least science-based and reliable explanation among all the sharpening activities)? Some kind of quasicrystalline 'order' beyond a thin edge?