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About me

Scientists have always depended on the sponsorship of the rich and powerful, or they have been independently-wealthy gentlemen-scientists themselves. For a brief period, particularly the second third of the 20th century, the sponsor was the state. But it wasn’t always so and there is no reason why that state of affairs will continue—though it should. In the old days some wealthy patrons liked to surround themselves with artists and philosophers, as a peculiar form of conspicuous consumption. Just like they had court jesters they had court astrologers. For instance, Emperor Rudolph did not keep Tycho Brahe in his employ because he was interested in advancing science: he needed someone to draw astral charts for him. Thus the data Kepler needed to revolutionize cosmology were subordinate to the ego and superstition of a Holy Roman Emperor. So it is today, when many physicists have day jobs preparing financial charts for the plutocrats of our age.

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