Theory ain’t everything

Prof Hawking has views – and not just into space. But his feet are not on the ground, it seems. He ‘doesn’t understand’ the Donald – despite describing him as a demagogue who appeals to the lowest common denominator’. What else is there to understand about Trump? That is exactly his appeal, talking to people with a grudge.

And like a couple of thousand Cambridge dons, he is a Bremainer, talking about scientific cooperation and the movement of people, as if enlightenened self-interest won’t continue to ensure that scientists cooperate, whatever the politics; and haven’t we had enough movement of people already – for the time being anyway?

‘But what do I know?’ says Backside. ‘It’s probably rocket science.’


Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

10 thoughts on “Theory ain’t everything”

  1. I know a man who used to build nuclear bombs for the US government during the Cold War. He frequently worked with visiting Soviet scientists. Professor Hawking is not unusual in believing his hype and mythology and seems to think that he is preternaturally intelligent.

  2. People like Hawking irritate me beyond.
    Had his well paying industrial job been outsourced to China perhaps he would have more understanding!
    It has happened to too many in the USA.
    Even as a person who has avoided all the pitfalls of modern society I have no problem whatsoever seeing why others are motivated totally differently, it is called common sense.
    Seemingly too many of our gilded elite are totally insulated from reality.
    Not only do we need to get out, we need a radical overhaul of the super rich/social elite. One can quite see why revolutions happen. The itch to hang a few from the nearest lampost becomes quite overwhelming!

  3. I have always been amazed by how obviously intelligent people in the hard sciences can be such lummoxes when it come to politics and society.

  4. “…Theory ain’t everything ….”

    Well, ain’t that the truth. In the end it’s the practical what counts. That’s what us plebs think.

  5. Although I wore a variety of hats – some of which bore rather highfalutin names – while I was working, at heart I was always an engineer. An engineer is a guy who makes things work (or makes them manufacturable at a sensible cost). I’m sure the other engineers on The Chariot will know exactly what I mean in this typical exchange with a newly joined graduate –

    “How’s that new design coming along?”

    “No good, boss. It should work in theory, but it doesn’t.”

    “So what’s wrong then?”

    Pause – which could be anything from half a second to several days – and then –

    “Oh, the theory is wrong, I guess. Or incomplete.”

    “Good man!”

    I never supplied the answer for them, they had to work it out for themselves. 🙂

  6. Several years ago there was a British Boss at the French Co Thompson CSF ( I think). He described working with Frenchmen. A typical conversation was ” Well it works in practice, but what about the theory ?”. This tale may be apocryphal, but makes the point.

    Grand ideas are one thing, turning them into reality is quite another. Which is why socialist and liberal idealists are so dangerous.

  7. Before I became a software engineer I trained and graduated as a practical scientist. I appreciate that in many cases it is possible to get something working without knowing how. However, think of the Phlogiston theory of combustion. People noticed that when wood burned the ash was lighter so, obviously, fire was a form of invisible liquid. As soon as anyone did the proper experiments and found that combustion products were heavier than the fuel they soon worked out that a gas that reacted violently with it and hence the modern theory of oxidisation.

    Knowing this enabled great engineers such as Sir Frank Whittle to design the jet engine and make it efficient. There is a need for both theorists and practical scientists and engineers (except in the case of the AGW religious practitioners, obviously)

  8. Who is to judge, whom we don’t need or who is of minor value to society? I thought we have come to a stage where we accept different views, beliefs and values. The only exception are people who don’t accept that and I would label them as jealous, frustrated, petty, a nuissance and/or living in delusion
    FEEG – I have heard a lot about Frank Whittle, as I was working for an aero-engine company in the software development department for about 5 years xxxx.

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