Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Musing: Reductionist and Incremental is not Winning

I love the comic "Calvin and Hobbes" indeed, I was one of the collectors when the comic came out in its first run and I grieved when Watterson closed the comic down in one of the most classy ways that something as beloved as C&H could possibly be ended.

That said, the comic industry berift of new ideas continue the comic series as a zobie re-run, but Calvin and Hobbes re-runs are better than most new comics so I keep an eye on it. This was todays comic:

And this is the relevant detail:

Our science is incremental and reductionist and our symbol is the mole. That is kind of apt for the way society views us ... and dangerous. We have lost the hearts and minds of the population when chemical is synonymous with disaster. We need a cultural icon to replace Pauling, a popular science spokesman akin to Sagan and we need to have a dramatic, clearly chemical, Khunian revolution on the order of solving the Origin of Life. 

And we need them now.


Jeff Dougan said...

You need to read Frazz as a modern-day Calvin & Hobbes.

More germane to what you wrote, I'm not sure that Chemistry has had a Sagan-type figure since Linus Pauling died. The closest I can quickly think of is John Emsley, and he doesn't have nearly the name recognition.

Liberal Arts Chemist said...

I must admit to being unaware of Frazz and I will look into it. You are absolutely right about Emsley who seems more an avuncular elder statesman than icon, hero or representative.

Unknown said...

I'm trying to work on the "solving the origin of life" bit....but it's hard!

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For a while it was all about research and then it was all about teaching and now it's all about trying to find a balance while teaching at a small liberal arts and science university.