My life has been spent falling in and out of love with science.
In my youth I got top A levels in physics, applied maths and pure maths and went on to do a degree in mathematical physics at Sussex University, where I got a First in the end-of-first-year exams. Two subsequent years of dull specialist courses, some taught by rather uninspiring postgrads, and I’d lost interest. With a job lined up with a big computer company, I did the absolute minimum to complete my degree in 1978.
Circa 1984, I escaped the Dilbert Zone of multinational companies, dropping out to become a software author. That was better, and gradually my interest in science returned. I wrote what may have been the first article to explain the central paradox of quantum physics without higher math. Although it was in the unorthodox form of a Sherlock Holmes story, Physics World published it, and it led to three popular science books, subsequently translated into over a dozen languages. I also dropped back into research, including paid contracts for a London university and the European Space Agency, and for Britain’s MoD.
Nowadays I’m in the happy position that I can, to an extent, do what I like. I have realised that I do love science – but not the ‘sacred cowherds’ who have captured the endeavour and broken its spirit. I have become convinced that science has lost its way.
There are many elements to criticise, but there’s something far more constructive to do. We have a vast army of often mediocre ‘scientists’ defending the status quo in every discipline. But any fair process also needs counsel for the prosecution! Who is fighting to make sure new and potentially important ideas are heard and not drowned out?
That is the role I have taken. It’s not a popular one, but I can live with that. The purpose of this blog is to plug ideas which are ‘disruptive’ – sufficiently novel and thought-provoking that they upset people.