Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Science and van Gogh

Via Female Science Professor, and apropos of something entirely different comes this insight from Peter Medwar

If a scientist were to cut his ear off, no one would take it as evidence of a heightened sensibility.
Peter B. Medawar (zoologist, 1915-1987)

who has quite a way with words as can be gathered from Wikiquotes. But Eli thinks this is not so true. The bunny knows quite a few scientists who have sacrificed body parts and function to their art, the colors seen only once when a laser beam gets dumped in your eye, frostbite and loss of toes and fingers on arctic/antarctic expeditions, the many early descriptions of organic chemicals that include "tastes like" and more.

Of course, the only reason for doing any of this is to get a grant.


Anonymous said...

The only people who take cutting off one's ear as "evidence of a heightened sensibility" are the people who have no good sense to begin with.

Van Gogh was a nut case by pretty any rational measure.

When scientists lose heir toes to frost-bite or their sight to a laser, they are rarely trying to do so.

Anonymous said...

When a scientist infected himself with gastritis he did get the Nobel prize.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of ears, one is reminded of JBS (and JS) Haldane. See "What is life".

Anonymous said...

um, Eli, apologies for breaking in like this but your RSS feed is, well, defective.
Did you change anything recently?

(it has no links, and no titles)

Hank Roberts said...

Ear, schmear.

Real science requires liver.