Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Higher learning

In the episode of The Big Bang Theory entitled 'The Anxiety Optimization' (Season 8 Episode 13) 'ground-breaking discoveries' were contrasted with 'solid research'. The latter is what is performed by the majority of workers in academia. These workers are portrayed as simply going through the motions and doing a job during that period of their adult lives when they worked and followed careers just like anybody else. Making 'ground-breaking discoveries' is depicted as the superior of the two activities. This takes a different mentality - a certain genius - that is less about being 'adult' and doing the 'career thing' and more about keeping a youthful sense of discovery. It has been said of Albert Einstein (1879-1955) that he maintained a childish sense of questioning throughout his life.

In another episode (Series 4 Episode 15 – The Benefactor Factor), Sheldon Cooper doesn't want to go to a university fund raising evening and tells his flat mate Leonard to tell the university principal that... "Dr. Cooper feels that the best use of his time is to employ his rare and precious mental faculties to tear the mask off nature and stare at the face of God."

Quite! Let those interested in and able to understand institutional finance tend to that sort of business.