Paper comparing and contrasting Watson and Jungk's versions of Science. college
topic: History of Science in the 20th Century
Watson's The Double Helix and Jungk's Brighter Than a Thousand Suns give two sharply contrasting views of science, and the behavior of scientists. Many think Watson's is a "dirty" science, while Jungk's is "pure, clean" science. Just as it is an error to stereotype all people who live in Wisconsin as farmers, so it is an error to assume all scientists are the same.
formats: Adobe PDF (39.9kB), PostScript (77.6kB), TeX (3.3kB) 1995-11-08 quality 3

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\rightline {Zak Smith}
\rightline {November 8, 1995}
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\def\btts{{\sl Brighter Than a Thousand Suns\ }}
\def\tdh{{\sl The Double Helix\ }}

Watson's \tdh and Jungk's \btts give two sharply contrasting
views of science, and the behavior of scientists.  Many think
Watson's is a ``dirty'' science, while Jungk's is ``pure, clean''
science.  Just as it is an error to stereotype all
people who live in Wisconsin as farmers, so it is an error
to assume all scientists are the same. 

Before the Second World War, there were not many ethical
implications of physics, or science in general.  The Bomb brought
the power of science into focus.  Before this was an
issue, the physicists lived in a world where there 
was not much political pressure put on them, which allowed them
to freely do their work.  

More important than the ethical implications to the
difference between Watson's and Jungk's books is probably the fact
that after WWII, governments were giving out grants for lots of
research.  While enabling study, it also provided the
opportunity for scientists to work ``just for the cash.''  Another
effect of this funding was that since it came from the government,
scientists were less dependent on their international 
correspondents for support.  This detracted from the worldliness
of science and contributed towards the attitude reflected in \tdh.

The students at Bohr's institute were poor, and received
little or no funding.  They chose their field primarily because
it was exciting and they loved to explore the secrets which were
being rapidly uncovered.  While Watson also did his part for
discovery, or at least integration of data into theory, but his
primary motivation seemed to be primarily money.  He wanted to
win the big prize --- The Nobel Prize.

The view offered by Jungk is not compatible with the focus
Watson had.  Jungk's physicists were primarily driven by
the search for Truth and Beauty in nature.  Watson only
got ``down to business'' when he thought Pauling was
going to beat him to the Nobel Prize!

Physics is viewed differently than Biology.  Physics is a
``hard'' science, and its results generally have more profound
impact.  The examples are numerous:  Einstein's Relativity, 
the Uncertainty Principle, Quantum Mechanics, and even
Copernicus.  All of these have fundamentally changed the
way we look at the universe, and our place in it.  This is
not the case in Biology.  The only biological advance that
has had fundamental, world-view-changing effects, might
be Darwin's Natural Selection.  But even that has not 
betrayed {\it everyone's\ } world-view.  This gives Physics a
unique place in society, and that reflects our
image of it.

The differences between the two books stem from a combination
of factors.  Because of the advances in Physics, namely the
Atomic Bomb, and WWII, the political arena had changed.  The two
disciplines of Biology and Physics are viewed differently by Society. 
Finally, it is an error to assume there is just {\it one scientist\ } ---
each is unique, and just like everything else, there will people scientists
considered more ideal than others.



\end

[Zak Smith] [zak@computer.org] [/~zak/documents/college/hsci-scientists/tex]
$Id: documents,v 1.5 2000/09/28 21:20:39 zak Exp zak $
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