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This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.

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Re: Number of the Month for July

I second Hugh's comments and think they are worth expanding on in two directions.

Firstly, if you want to take up science it is harder than ever to reach the cutting edge. Arguably at the moment, that cutting edge is also getting further away faster than you can learn your way towards it. Every new Nobel-worthy discovery of some fundamental, mechanistic thing, renders the work of 49 other labs just so much stamp-collecting, that can be sneered at and then de-funded.

There is no longer the near-assurance that scientists had in our bending author's day, of there being plenty of low-hanging fruit still around that someone else wasn't going to get to first. That's not to diminish the achievement. So why study science when your chances of making a contribution to it will be no greater once you have finished your degree than before you started it?

Secondly, the fact that people have the time and money to study trivia is evidence of our society's great wealth at present. Or its terminal decadence, if you prefer.