Quote of the Week: July 8

I wasn’t sure about whether to keep up my weekly quotes during this month of science, but since I found one that connects rather ironically with my next science topic, I took it as a sign. This quote is from Jack Cohen in “Is Biology Science?”

In summer 2002, I was at the Cheltenham Festival of Science. Lots of biologists presenting, for sure. But… one very popular event was a presentation by three famous astronomers: ‘Is There Life Out There?’ I prefaced my first question to them by a little imaginative scenario: three biologists discussing the properties of the black hole in the middle of our galaxy. It was very clear that the astronomers really believed that they could discuss ‘life’ professionally, whereas everyone saw biologists talking about black holes as absurd.

Physicists sometimes seem to think they’re the superstars of the academy (especially, say, compared to sociologists). Does doing all that rigorous math and modeling give one a special license on truth or just go to one’s head? As the son of a physicist, I have no comment. :)