Haven Quotes (3 quotes)
I found out at an early age that science is a haven for the timid, the freaks, the misfits. That is more true perhaps for the past than now. If you were a student in Göttingen in the 1920s and went to the seminar “Structure of Matter” which was under the joint auspices of David Hilbert and Max Born, you could well imagine that you were in a madhouse as you walked in. Every one of the persons there was obviously some kind of a severe case. The least you could do was put on some kind of a stutter. Robert Oppenheimer as a graduate student found it expedient to develop a very elegant kind of stutter, the "njum-njum-njum" technique. Thus, if you were an oddball you felt at home.
The progress of science is tremendously disorderly, and the motivations that lead to this progress are tremendously varied, and the reasons why scientists go into science, the personal motivations, are tremendously varied. I have said … in the Beckett lecture, at least one particular point that seems to be missed; that science is a haven for freaks, that people go into science because they are misfits, and that it is a sheltered place where they can spin their own yarn and have recognition, be tolerated and happy, and have approval for it.
The world is full of signals that we don’t perceive. Tiny creatures live in a different world of unfamiliar forces. Many animals of our scale greatly exceed our range of perception for sensations familiar to us ... What an imperceptive lot we are. Surrounded by so much, so fascinating and so real, that we do not see (hear, smell, touch, taste) in nature, yet so gullible and so seduced by claims for novel power that we mistake the tricks of mediocre magicians for glimpses of a psychic world beyond our ken. The paranormal may be a fantasy; it is certainly a haven for charlatans. But ‘parahuman’ powers of perception lie all about us in birds, bees, and bacteria.