In a commercial ad, Dan Schectman very directly said that he did not believe in “god.”


   So why go further here?


   Response: He’s a great man who especially matters to “us.” Here are some of his terse comments and, in places, “quick responses”–tit for tat–that seem fit for a “far view” adozenseconds.com look.


But for that you’ll need to use the DOOR.




   Dan Shechtman²: Israeli winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the “Discovery of Quasicrystals” in 2011.

   Big questions:

   [From a magazine advertisement¹. He’s being asked 8 questions for a one-page interview.]

   [Our reactions, if any, italicized in blue.]

   (1) What is the most exciting field of science at the moment?  Biology and medical sciences.

   (2) Do you believe in a god?  No.  [But we do.]

   (3) What book about science should everyone read?  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S Kuhn. [Sounds interesting as many unread books often are. We’ll keep our eyes open for this one…]

   (4) Has Cern been worth the money?  Definitely yes. The frontiers of science, on the very small scale and very large scale, require large investments and international effort. If we really want to understand the laws of physics – and we do – we need these investments made.  [There’s still much in physics we’d be happy to know more about.]

   (5) What advice would you give a teenager who wants a career in science?  Select a subject that interests you and make an effort to become an expert in that field. I promise you, if you make the effort, and you become an expert, you will have a wonderful career.  [Good advice.]

   (6) What scientific advance would make the most difference to your daily life?  The development of new effective drugs, new efficient batteries and clean, inexpensive energy sources.

   (7) Are you worried about population increase?  Not at all. The good news is world population growth rate decreases systematically and is expected to reach zero by 2050, thanks to urbanisation and women’s education. The bad news is while in most developed countries the number of children per woman is 1 to 1.5, that number in many developing countries is 6-7. [Chilling news to true democracy.]

   (8) If politicians were replaced by scientists, would the world be better place?  No, both politics and science would suffer.  [Tough question!]


   Dan Schectman² is a scientist who was kicked out of his research group because he refused to accept certain scientific conclusions that “everyone else” did. Two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling went so far as to say that “There’s no such things as quasi-crystals; there’s only quasi-scientists.” But because of Schectman’s research he knew he was right. (And even the design of ancient Arabic floor tiles have supported him!) It’s easy to access info about him on the Internet. See his advice to a teenager above. If you can think–and think for yourself–you can make something of yourself if you specialize in some particular thing as you learn about everything else around you. There’s something about standing very close to something and learning about it in detail, standing far away from that same thing and taking in a larger view, and standing and inspecting from a middle distance³. Being generally informed and viewing things from each of those distances–and knowing the limits and advantages of what you’re doing–can contribute to sharing meaningfully to different groups of people around you who take you seriously.


   ¹ Sorry, the source of this info has been lost, but the comments are still worth listening to.

   ² Our interest in Schectman? Our book, The Blood of Three Worlds (see right) has been dedicated to him for reasons we will take no further here.

   ³ There’s too much out there to master. There are few true specialists to many things, because the learning is long and difficult. Still, many trained strictly to evaluate everything from a (1)”close” distance, can–with time and experience– apply much of their skill to meaningful observations (2) far, or farther, away. And, similarly, the close specialist can  skillfully approach many things from what we call a (3) “middle” distance as well.  Of course, many are taught to view things from (2) and (3) first and begin to share from there. Confusing? We’ll say more about this later…

Happy Birthday (Oct. 1), Karen ♥