By A. Kitaigorodsky
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Extra resources for I am A Physicist
The other purpose is also important. Junior workers must learn to speak at scientific gatherings. Summarizing someone else’s work is excellent practice. The inexperienced speaker is not so flustered since he is not responsible for the results and conclusions and all he has to do is look after the form of his report, which is simple enough. Journals of abstracts are fine things. If you follow them regularly you may not miss a single new paper: but the news reaches you with a considerable time lag.
Examples could be cited of mathematical formulas worked out "anew" three and four times. Many researchers pursue their investigations along roads leading into blind alleys. The pity is that the uselessness of the work was revealed ten or twenty years ago, but the young 55 researcher knows nothing of this and wastes his energy and time. If you follow current scientific literature haphazardly there is the danger of plodding in someone’s footsteps, thereby creating uselessly repeating studies being carried out not only in other countries but even within your own country.
The keen eye of the most talented scholar discerned them before others. Here we could end our discourse on the use of science. The need to develop the front of science, pushed forward by man’s curiosity, by his desire to understand nature, to remove all that is vague or incomprehensible from the world, make all eventualities predictable in the eyes of even the most hardened utilitarian —this need finds justification in the fortunate inevitability of major scientific discoveries. Without the advance of the whole front of science, without the efforts of the whole army of unknown toilers of science, these discoveries would have been impossible.