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July 15, 2014

100 years ago, Einstein, Bohr, Edison, H. Ford, Tesla, etc. were alive on the earth.


Today, the earth's population is about 4 times greater.
There should be all of those great minds alive today times 4. Where are they? A) Incentive structures prevent the truly brilliant from contributing to great epoch-making discoveries; or B) The human race getting dumber on a genetic level; or C) both Any of these answers is quite frightening if you have a long term concern for the human race.
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Posted by gerardvanderleun at July 15, 2014 10:34 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

I believe it is a combination of three things

1) We've reached the near limits of what we can with current technology and scientific understanding

2) We're killing off 4000 of our own babies a day and among them are almost certainly these sorts of people

3) Culturally and legally, innovation, questioning stated authority, risk taking, and ambition are suppressed and even attacked.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 15, 2014 10:58 AM

Only in a free society can one find an Einstein or a Bohr. In a suppressed culture, you will get a Lysenko.

Posted by: Vermont Woodchuck [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 15, 2014 12:43 PM

An inquiring mind cannot be quelled.
There is innovative success today but the toilers are not quick to broadcast it for they will be chastised. So we reach for our goals long into the night because we must.

Among other things, I am developing a means of getting 8X the horsepower out of solar cells for 2X the cost. I'm doing it for me.

Posted by: ghostsniper [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 15, 2014 2:16 PM

Oh, there are still great things going on in mathematics and physics, but the dominant people aren't as well known and, because there are more of them, they aren't as prominent. Look at the 1927 Solvay Conference, 29 physicists in the photo and almost all of them famous. These days a similar conference might have ten times as many.

That said, I do think incentives/environment count. Five famous Jewish mathematicians and physicists came out of Budapest over a period of some 15 years. ISTR that part of the explanation was that a dentist ran a science discussion/education group in the city. Athens had a similar bloom for literature and philosophy in its golden age. And sometimes the age just seems propitious.

Posted by: chuck [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 15, 2014 7:20 PM

We're still trying to understand the pre-Cambrian 'sudden' multiplicity of forms of life.
If we now had another Einstein, or brilliant quantum physicists, we might have to deal not with consequences of E= (m)(c squared) but with the the new equivalence of --- "Any remark by President Obama = Idol Chatter."
When we ignore the deadly dummies who rule, why bother with another Einstein.

Posted by: Stug Guts [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2014 10:22 AM

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