I only hope that the people who presently control research funding are prepared to read this book, think carefully, and heed the advice.
Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto, The Florida State University
Don Braben s sobering book is right on the mark regarding the current disastrous path of funding of scientific research. . . . One can hope that Braben s model will be widely adopted it could change the landscape of science in future decades.
US National Academy of Sciences member Harry L. Swinney, University of Texas at Austin
Promoting the Planck Club
How defiant youth, irreverent researchers and liberated universities can foster prosperity indefinitely
The twentieth century s plethora of creative scientists challenged the thinking of their day with uninhibited studies that led to such unpredicted technologies as lasers, countless electronic and telecommunications components, nuclear power, biotechnology, and medical diagnostic breakthroughs. While the potential of science is greater than ever, policies have changed over the past few decades. Proposals for new work must now be submitted to third parties for assessment of their national or societal benefits before they are considered for funding making the possibility of securing financial backing increasingly difficult.
This provocative book traces the economic and social impact of frontier scientific research and focuses on the revolutionary discoveries that emerged from the unorthodox work of some of science s greatest pioneers. Clearly written and engaging from beginning to end, Promoting the Planck Club:
- Provides numerous mini histories of such selected scientists as Max Planck, Benjamin Thompson, Humphry Davy, Michael Faraday, Oswald Avery, Francis Crick, James Watson, Harry Kroto, Richard Smalley, Bob Curl, and more
- Explores the scientific environment that led to the important discoveries in the twentieth century and compares it with today s worrisome approach to the funding of scientific research
- Explains the consequences of current trends such as the industrialization of science and the corporatization of universities
- Stimulates discussion on the best atmosphere under which scientific research should be conducted
Recommended for general courses on science, Promoting the Planck Club: How defiant youth, irreverent researchers and liberated universities can foster prosperity indefinitely will appeal to scientists of various disciplines, engineers, economists, policy makers, and anyone interested in science, science policy, and the general nature of creativity.
List of Posters ix
Accidents, Coincidences, and the Luck of the Draw: How Benjamin Thompson and Humphry Davy Enabled Michael Faraday to Electrify the World 16
Science, Technology, and Economic Growth: Can Their Magical Relationships Be Controlled? 27
Max Planck: A Reluctant Revolutionary with a Hunger of the Soul 38
The Golden Age of Physics 50
Oswald T. Avery: A Modest Diminutive Introverted Scientific Heavyweight 79
Barbara McClintock (1902 1992): A Patient, Integrating, Maverick Interpreter of Living Systems 89
Charles Townes: A Meticulously Careful Scientific Adventurer 99
Carl Woese: A Staunch Advocate for Classical Biology 110
Peter Mitchell: A High–Minded Creative and Courageous Bioenergetics Accountant 126
Harry Kroto: An Artistic and Adventurous Chemist with a Flair for Astrophysics 139
John Mattick: A Prominent Critic of Dogma and a Pioneer of the Idea That Genomes Contain Hidden Sources of Regulation 158
Conclusions: How We Can Foster Prosperity Indefinitely 174
Open Letter to Research Councils UK from Donald W. Braben and Others Published in Times Higher
Education, November 5, 2009 194
Global Warming: A Coherent Approach 197