Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Einstein "Science is Never Finished"

I was reading a Marianne Moore's poem "The Student"and ran across a quote from Einstein:

by asking ‘when will your experiment be finished, Doctor Einstein?’/ and is pleased when Doctor Einstein smiles and says politely/‘science is never finished.’

Conveniently, Moore footnoted her poems, though, inconveniently, only sparsely.

From Stubbs, Marcia, and Sylvan Barnet. The Little, Brown Reader. 3rd ed. Boston: Little, Brown, 1983. Print.

Some questions the editors want you to ponder after reading this poem:

Moore cites simply the New York Times as her source, so doing an archive search, I found the Einstein quote in this December 18, 1931 article, but the entire article is behind an evil greedy 1% firewall:

"EINSTEINS IN COLON ON WAY TO COAST; Scientist Hopes to Spend Nine Weeks, Continuing Studies at Mt. Wilson Observatory. IS SILENT ON RETURN PLANS But Frau Einstein Says They Will Not Cross United States on Account of Newspaper Men"

Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES;
December 18, 1931, [ DISPLAYING ABSTRACT ] COLON, Dec. 17.--Professor Albert Einstein and Frau Einstein, darkly tanned and smiling after a long sea voyage, are en route to California, where Dr. Einstein will continue his studies at Mount Wilson Observatory....

"Professor Albert Einstein and Frau Einstein, darkly tanned and smiling after a long ... when it would be finished he smiled and replied, 'Science is never finished.'"

Apparently, Moore liked to ask and answer he own questions during interviews, from Rachel Buxton's June 7, 2007 "The Review of English Studies" article "MARIANNE MOORE AND THE POETICS OF PRAGMATISM"

"Moore saw scientific thought and poetry-writing as having much in common. Both, she believed, were types of encounter with a universe in flux. In an interview with Donald Hall in 1960 she asks:

'Do the poet and the scientist not work analogously? They are willing to waste effort. Bronowski says in the new 'Post' that science is not a mere collection of discoveries, but that science is the process of discovering. In any case it’s not a thing established once and for all, it’s evolving.'"

So, all of this is in sharp contrast to former Obama spokesperson, Gibbs, who believes that the "science is settled" wrt global warming/climate change.

 If I have to choose between Einstein and Gibbs, I'm going with Einstein.

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