Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Scientific "Dream" Panel

Zenpundit has an interesting entry concerning ‘dream symposium’ panels. I thought I’d offer one for the topic “First Principles in Science.” Imagine the premise being a discussion about what the fundamental principles are in Nature and how they connect with each other. Such a discussion would presumably help influence where a good portion of science research goes, particularly for understanding complexity.

‘Dream’ panel members (because this is a dream team, not everyone is alive):

Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Charles Darwin, Edward Witten, John Pople, Richard Feynman, Michael Faraday, Christian de Duve

Obviously there are many brilliant scientists and scholars who could be placed on such lists (who are/were masters of the fundamentals in their fields and how they relate to the bigger picture), so I welcome and encourage other suggestions…it is fun to think about! In addition, I’ve included some of the all-time greats (only three on the list are still alive). Who should be on the list if we wanted to gather the panel next week?


Erica said...

I'm extremely disturbed that there are zero women on your list, yet I had some trouble coming up with a woman to add. Depressing. I guess you would do best with Rosalind Franklin.

vonny said...

Hi Erica,

I understand your frustration, because this incredibly limited list has no females as well as no minority. Historically science has been dominated by white guys. A current list would almost certainly begin to include more diversity. Franklin would be a wonderful choice and would be on par with Watson, Crick, and Wilkins, the three who shared the Nobel for DNA's discovery. Marie Curie is another female giant in science. BTW, I chose du Duve over the original DNA discoverers because he has helped take things to the next level and currently is developing models of how such a complicated molecule could have formed naturally.

Check out for a list of women in science as a start. Might be a matter of time before we see you on such a list?!?!?

mark said...

Great list Dr. Von !

I too had difficulty coming up with women for the domains in my post though I did find two who fit well Ayn Rand and Jessica Stern, (the terrorism expert for the Council of Foreign Relations).

Before you get too depressed Erica you need to consider that historically, few women had the economic and social freedom to devote their lives to intellectual and scientific pursuits. Come to think of it,very few men as a percentage of the population could afford that option either but those that could did not face gender-related social barriers.

Prior to the 20th century with its explosion of societal wealth, most great female minds were aristocratic, like Madame de Stael since the mores of that class were less rather than more strict than those of the middle and lower classes and they had resources of independent means.

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