Monday, February 25, 2013
RIP, Bob Richardson, and the human nature of science
I was saddened to read of the passing of Bob Richardson, who shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1996 with his colleague Dave Lee and their former grad student (and my thesis advisor) Doug Osheroff. I only had a handful of chances to meet with Prof. Richardson, and he was a friendly, classy person every time. In some ways it's a shame that more people don't have the opportunity to interact with really accomplished scientists (and engineers); the chances I've been exceedingly fortunate to have over the years to meet and talk with prize winners and national academy members have been fun professionally and revelatory in terms of showing the human side of these endeavors. These people aren't infallible or unapproachable, and in my limited experience the vast majority are neither arrogant nor lacking in social skills (I'm looking at you, Big Bang Theory). It would be nice if TLC or Discovery or someone would tell the stories of these people in an accessible, fun way, instead of wasting precious bandwidth on ghost-hunting moonshiners who horde ice fishing hauling equipment.
Posted by Douglas Natelson at 8:29 AM