LETTERS TO THE EDITORS
Play It Again
To the Editors:
Reading Pierre Laszlo's article "Science as Play"
(September-October) gave me a real sense of déja vu! In 1978
my then Ph.D. advisor, the late Professor Arthur J. Cain presented a
paper to introduce a Royal Society meeting on "The evolution of
adaptation by natural selection." The proceedings of the
meeting were published in 1979 (Proceedings of the Royal Society of
London, series B, 205: 435–604).
In the last paragraph of his paper (pages 599–603 of the
Proceedings), Cain posits essentially the same idea presented by
Laszlo. Cain suggested that scientists are "the perpetual
adolescents, who retain their inquisitiveness, their desire to
play..." Others mature earlier and lose objectivity, becoming
politicians, religious fanatics, and so on. Further, he suggested
that academia is inhabited by such "adolescents"
although some, as they mature may "fall off into
administration." He even suggested that there might be a
genetic component of such cultural adolescence. Are we then
genetically predisposed to becoming scientists, remaining perpetual adolescents?
Robert H. Cowie
University of Hawaii
To the Editors:
The eye-catching photograph of a faux police car atop an MIT
building in Pierre Lazlo’s "Science As Play" column
(September-October), illustrates the playfulness and ingenuity of
engineers. The transportation, assembly and structural integrity of
the car depended on engineering skills. I am glad to hear that
scientists can use their playful attitudes to scientific fruition,
but the photo shows that engineers also "think outside the sandbox."
Bronx, New York