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MACROSCOPE

Science as Play

Pierre Laszlo

Play in scientific research is seldom discussed in print. Perhaps we scientists take it for granted. Or maybe we are a little self–conscious and try to hide it from others. After all, we don't want taxpayers to think they are subsidizing adults who are acting like a bunch of kids, thereby squandering hefty amounts of public money.

Over the night of May 8, 1994...Click to Enlarge Image

Play in science is thus an elusive and difficult topic. I chose to examine it because I know how fundamental it is from my experience as a practicing chemist and through the testimony of many colleagues. In charting this little–explored territory, I found that the extreme thesis—that science equals play—is untenable. I content myself with the more modest assertion that science has an element of play. Before relating some possible explanations, let me offer a few examples.




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