Speaker for the Diodes - February 9th, 2017

Feb. 9th, 2017

05:25 am - QotD

On science and borders:

[...] Publishing and sharing kowledge became a material benefit, and the behaviors were soon supported by a value, a norm.

The norm was so strong that European nations at war allowed enemy scientists to cross ther borders freely in pursuit of knowledge. In 1780, Reverend Samuel Williams of Harvard University applied for and received a grant from the Massachusetts legislature to observe a total eclipse of the sun predicted for 27 October. The perfect spot, he ssaid, wa an island off the coast of Massachusetts.

Unfortunately, Wiliams and his party would have to cross Penobscot Bay. The American Revolutioary War was still on, and the bay was controlled by the British. The speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, John Hancock, wrote a letter to the commander of the British forces, saying "Though we are politically enemies, yet with regard to Sciece it is presumable we shall not dissent from promoting it." The appeal of one "civilized" person to another worked. Williams got his free passage.

-- H. Russell Bernard, Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, 2012

(Leave a comment)
Previous day (Calendar) Next day