Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"A tale of two sciences" part 1

Dear readers

I have just finished reading a fascinating book, which somehow managed to slip by me, when it was published in 2009.

The book, titled "A Tale of Two Sciences:Memoirs of a Dissident Scientist," authored by Peter A Sturrock, was published by exoscience. 2009. ISBN 978-098-4261-0-6.

His mainstream science career saw him educated at Cambridge University. Following this he spent 1943 to 1946 working on the development of radar "...at that stage of my career I was a normal, smug, conventional scientist..." (p.10.)

In 1946 he then returned to Cambridge where he remained until 1949. However, an unusual sighting had an effect on him. In 1947, while in the English countryside he observed in the sky "A round, bright white object..." travelling in a straight line, seen for less than a minute. (p.1.)

Sturrock says that this observation "...was a profound disturbance to my scientific well-being." (p.3.)

Despite this observation, his career remained that of a mainstream scientist. In 1949 he went to the USA, married and through his wife "...learned of the research on parapsychology going on at Duke University." He also was exposed "...to some of the early literature on UFOs..." (p.19.)

In 1951 he worked at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, in the UK. 1953-1955 saw him back at Cambridge and in contact with such people as Fred Hoyle.

Sturrock moved to Stanford in the USA in 1955 as a Research Associate. By 1961 he had become a Full Professor of Applied Physics, specialising in plasma physics. For many years he made contributions in the areas of solar flares, quasars, pulsars and solar neutrinos. This then was his conventional science career.

In the next post we will look at his unconventional science career.

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