Private views and observations on physics, society and
life in general
Anant,I followed a little but not closely the discussion. But I thought that I noticed 'some sort of decline' much earlier in the research in physical sciences, mathematics and statistics and wondered about the reasons. The 'decline' I noticed is about the very high calibre scientists and wondered whether this has some thing to with democratization. Here are some random thoughts.When opprtunities are limited, a few with great passion break through and pursue their interests either because they have the means or passion or both. For example people like J.C. Bose, M.N. Saha, C.V. Raman ... When new institutions start, they give opprtunities for more and many more emerge. For example the beginnings of ISI and TIFR produced many scientists of high calibre. After a while these are institutionalized and politicized and start reflecting the outside reality. When research was rare, people with passion pursued but now it becomes a career option. Even those with some passion are caught up in security, promotions status etc. There seems to be a span of 25-50 years before the institutions start reflecting the outside reality. The theory is that in the long run you cannot escape the society and isolate yourself in a democratic set up. But this observations are more from a few stories I know rather than a systematic, empirical study of the research institutions. I think that there is probably an improvement in the research in social sciences; at least Angus Deaton spoke highly of Indian researchers.
Dear Swarup,Thanks for the comment. Please post a copy also at `As I please' to further the discussion there.Best regards, Anant
Anant,These are rather stray observations about a topic I thought about long ago and in which I am still interested. But I do not want to get involved in intense discussions. My approach these days seems to be to come back to these topics once in a while to see whether there are any fresh inputs.Regards,Swarup
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