Thought for the month

“Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction the sign of truth.” Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and physicist (1623 – 62).

Friday, 1 November 2013

Noble intentions

The last Will and Testament of Alfred Bernhard Nobel is an interesting read. I am favourably drawn to a man who leaves an annuity to his former gardener.  The 1895 will set up the funds to endow annual prizes in the five areas of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and champions of peace. Interestingly mathematics was not included and there was no mention of economics. Nobel’s clearly stated desire was that all the prizes were to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind. It is perhaps open to debate how well this first objective is being met alongside his further aim, in the area of physics, of apportioning a prize to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics. Over one hundred years later are we being true to both of Nobel’s wishes?

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