Mark Adams <[log in to unmask]> wrote (in <LISTSERV%2003050910275137@JI
SCMAIL.AC.UK>) about 'Charles Clarke....', on Fri, 9 May 2003:
>Fair comment, but I'm interested in where you draw the line.
Through endowments, donations and charitable contributions, each person
can decide. With taxes, an oligarchy decides for everyone.
> Several years
>ago the VC at well known northern university allegedly described pure
>mathematics as 'academic naval gazing'
They stand on their ivory towers watching ships go past? (;-)
>whilst proposing a 'review' of the
>department. I'd by no means consider my self an expert on this, but
>believe it's the case that today's pure maths can have unknown applications
>in the future. I'm possibly wrong, maths was never my strong point, but
>wasn't fourier analysis (apologies for spelling/getting the name slightly
>wrong) originally 'pure' maths but now has an application in electronics.
Well, not quite. AIUI, Fourier was studying heat conduction when he
developed the technique, but it IS a powerful technique in electronics
>Same comment with regard to knot theory which has potential applications in
>DNA studies. I'm sure others could come up with better examples.
Lots of examples, not necessarily 'better'.
>Perhaps we should just agree to leave out Roller Coaster Studies.
Galileo and Newton practically wrapped that subject up, unless the cars
reach an appreciable fraction of the speed of light. (;-)
>By all means continue to make charitable donations, I just think it's a
>dangerous road to go down to rely on that for funding for 'unpopular' areas
I don't think it can be dangerous. The individual oddball who doesn't
support something obviously important has no effect. But if no, or only
a very small number of, people support a branch of study, then we have
to conclude that the majority of thinking people don't think it's
important. While the majority is not always right, it's not too often
Regards, John Woodgate, OOO - Own Opinions Only. http://www.jmwa.demon.co.uk
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