Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Readers Respond

News Opinion Readers Respond

Large Hadron collider notwithstanding, it's still an Einsteinian universe

Mac Nachlas' letter suggests that the results of a recent European experiment not only raises entirely new doubt about Albert Einstein's theories but also reveals a failure of the U.S. to keep up with other devolved countries in its investment in basic research ("Faster than light? Research will benefit America in ways we can't foresee," Sept. 27.) I think Mr. Nachlas may be jumping to conclusions in two different directions at once (a phenomenon which itself may bear investigation by those who monitor the laws of physics).

First, there has been at least one previous experiment (done at an American University, I believe in the 1920s or 1930s) which showed that it was possible for particles to exceed the speed of light. Yet physicists have continued to view the world as Einstein described it, just as they continue to view it to a great extent as Newton described it. Perhaps we need to await further developments before we take alarm at the recent experiment.

And I question that the U.S. as a society is investing less in basic research in proportion to its more mundane and perhaps more destructive research than other societies of comparable capacity. The originators of scientific discovery and the technology that such discovery produces are astonishingly cosmopolitan in the modern world. And the uses to which new knowledge is put by the U.S. are little different than in other societies. The starving North Koreans, with a GNP comparable to Arkansas, developed an atomic bomb, and the British lost a cruiser to the Argentine Navy and a cheap but neat little missile invented by the French allies.

But I fear all this reflects weakness, not in America's devotion to basic research, but in man's character, and that predates Einstein or Newton or Ptolemy. In George Bernard Shaw's Man And Superman, Satan says to Don Juan "I tell you that in the arts of peace, Man is a bungler — His heart is in his weapons!" Now there is a conclusion that perhaps Mac and I, and the Devil, could join hands with the ghost of Shaw and skip rope to.

Bootz Mercer, Randallstown

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Place blame for riots on parents — and the Ivy League

    Many thanks to Rita Animashaun for her letter placing the blame for the recent disturbances in Baltimore on the parents of the rioters ("Parents have lost control of their kids," May 30). I agree with her that children should be taught to respect the law and "any indiscretion on their part against...

  • Expanding opportunities for Baltimore high school grads

    Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) applauds David Wilson, president of Morgan State University, on his thoughtful commentary about the critical need to increase college enrollment among Baltimore City public high school graduates ("Making a long-term commitment to Morgan," May 9). He rightfully...

  • The Freddie Gray protesters are heroes

    The Freddie Gray protesters are heroes

    After reading the responses of Baltimore writers to the death of Freddie Gray, I too felt the need to weigh in ("Baltimore writers reflect on Freddie Gray's death," May 16).

  • Back-in parking is difficult, dangerous

    Back-in parking is difficult, dangerous

    I would like to add my observations to those of letter writer Wes Guckert, who extols the virtues of back-in angle parking in urban settings ("The best alternative to parallel parking," May 28).

  • What about all those prescription drugs?

    What about all those prescription drugs?

    We all saw what happened during the recent demonstrations — the television coverage of people using the protest as an excuse to rob from stores at Mondawmin Mall ("Baltimore descends into chaos, violence, looting," April 28).

  • Learning and vision have long been linked

    Learning and vision have long been linked

    I was somewhat startled when I read this headline, "Hopkins study links student vision, learning" (May 26). I thank reporter Erica Green and Dr. Megan Collins for calling to the public's attention the link between student vision and academic performance. However, to call this "a first-of-its-kind...

Comments
Loading

57°