I am A Physicist by A. Kitaigorodsky

By A. Kitaigorodsky

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Das Thema soll in einen Grenzbereich der Materialwirtschaft führen, der durch die tagespolitischen Ereignisse immer größere Bedeutung für die Unternehmung gewinnt. Naturgemäß ist in einer marktorientierten Gesellschaft das verkaufs­ fähige Produkt da~ Objekt aller Anstrengungen und Leistungen. Produktion und Verkauf stehen im Blickpunkt, andere Bereiche werden als notwendig be­ trachtet, während das Gebiet der Entsorgung innerhalb der Unternehmung zu­ nächst ohne besondere Beachtung bleibt.

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But a research work that consists solely of such operations is no good, it’s not a work of research. Scientific research has meaning only if it is undertaken to unravel something unknown or vague. An experimental work is the better the less apparent its eventual outcome. That which seems simple and easy may turn out in the course of the investigation to be startlingly complex; on the contrary, a tangled problem may prove to have a simple solution. Surprises? Yes. But then, they are probably the main thing in science.

I quickly appreciated the pleasure and value of such unconstrained discussions. I also found that, far from being improper, it was natural for one to drift from group to group, listen in to fragments of conversation and join it if it seemed interesting. To facilitate the task of locating one another, each participant in the conference had a badge pinned to his breast stating his name and nationality. I got a kick out of correlating the looks of a person with a famous name. It was curious to see that Zachariasen looked so young while I had imagined him to be an old man.

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. Judge for yourself: the editors of the abstracts have to receive the originals, make photostatic copies of them, send out the various papers for reviewing by narrow specialists, who have plenty of their own work to do.

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