Thursday, January 10, 2008
Nobel Laureate Bait-n-Switch
DAVID JONATHAN GROSS Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004, is in town and gave a talk this afternoon at De La Salle University on Taft Avenue in Manila. Unfortunately, he decided not to address his advertised topic, "Fundamental Revolutions in Physics" involving the work on String Theory and Quantum Chromodynamics for which he received the Nobel Prize. Instead Dr. Gross, who is a likeable and amiable enough speaker, seemed to dumb down his topic, mentioned the problem of increased species extinction, deforestation, the bleaching of corals, the melting of the polar ice caps, connected it to the profligate lifestyles and industrial bad habits of mankind, and made a pitch for World Government as the solution to the Global Warming problem.
I was really disappointed at the Bait-n-Switch on the topic pulled by the sponsor, the International Peace Foundation, since I was hoping to hear something about the Discovery of Asymptotic Freedom in Quarks and and various other BIG QUESTIONS like Dark Energy and Dark Matter, which are the most intriguing scientific questions of the present day. You know, all that sexy scientific hifalutin physics stuff from a real Physics Nobel Prize winner, which I would assume is very different from a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. The Al Gore Show was last month in a different auditorium. I'm sure many in the audience were equally disappointed that he had dumbed down the topic!
But the audience did get to ask Dr. Gross two questions: one of them a softball about high energy physics, another from some Guy with a Beard who said he was a De La Salle Grade School graduate, on the value of skepticism as a scientific virtue in the age of the Y2K Bug and various other pseudoscientific apparitions, on the need to understand fully the causes of global warming trends, whether anthropogenic or natural, perhaps within a solar system context, so as to decide on the correct strategy for remediation, avoidance, or adaptation. Dr. Gross was gracious enough to admit that he had not been fully convinced about Global Warming's real causes being purely or even mainly anthropogenic -- but he didn't sound very convinced or convincing about in his answer this afternoon either. I hope he keeps on doing String Theory instead of Carbon Taxes, know what I mean?
Ugh! I really wanted to ask him about 26 dimensional string theory of the strong nuclear force.
We did have scintillating company as there was a huge audience of students, faculty and even celebrity, and I must say, a Nobel Laureate exudes a kind of aura, an inner radiance, a supreme self-confidence. David Gross was warm and friendly, just like the last Nobel Laureate I've had the pleasure to meet in Manila, Norman Borlaug, Father of the Green Revolution several years ago. I attended that talk with Dr. Paulo Campos, father of nuclear medicine in the Philippines. By sheer coincidence, I attended today's talk with his son, Dr. Jose E. Campos, President of Emilio Aguinaldo College, who will sponsor the next Nobel Laureate talk in Manila, sometime in March.
Heading the list along the front row of reserved seats was former President Fidel V. Ramos, looking fit and giving the Nobel Laureate some of his trademark cigars. Bro. Armin Luistro, DLSU President was there with Chairman Joaquin Quintos IV, and various other stars of the local academe.
Speaking of the environment, Blue Law by Anna has a nice post on Project Sinag, the First Philippine solar-powered car, also done by the Gang Green at DLSU.
Posted By: Deany Bocobo
On Thursday, January 10, 2008
On Thursday, January 10, 2008