I’m no great scientician, however I do find science interesting and I envy those who had the brain capacity to stick with it (my scientific academic career consisted of getting straight ‘A’s in chemistry right up to the point we started doing vapour pressure, at which point I lost the plot & never really recovered. If my IT “career” ever stalls I hope to revisit chemistry, catch up where I left off, and become a Nobel prizewinner or something).
In my attempt to keep science on my conscious periphery I’m reading Big Bang by Simon Singh – a history of the universe in terms of development of scientific models to explain it, from the ancient greeks right through to Fred Hoyle and the excellently named George Smoot. I decided to read this for 2 reasons:
- I was lucky enough to see a presentation by Simon Singh at Robin Ince‘s School For Gifted Children, and found him to be an intelligent, engaging, compelling speaker.
- The other items on my reading list at the moment are the Viz magazine annual titled “The Turtle’s Head”, and Russell Brand’s autobiography – so it’s important to keep a sense of balance.
The bit I wanted to share, however, was a wonderful verbal insult – “popularised” by astronomer Fritz Zwicky, who made some quite important astronomical discoveries (supernovae, dark matter) and some questionable ones as well (tired light theory).
Zwicky was quite an outspoken chap by all accounts, and (this is the good bit) would often label people as “spherical bastards“.
In the same way that a sphere is a geometric object which is identically a sphere from all angles and viewpoints, so too a spherical bastard is a person who – no matter which direction you examine them from – is a complete bastard.
As I said, I’ve always loved science.