One hundred and sixty-five eminent thinkers, researchers, and communicators, at the annual request of the edge.org website, answered the following question: “What Have You Changed Your Mind About? Why?”
The obligation of a scientist to do science
Leon Lederman, Nobel Laureate in Physics (author of The God Particle)
I have always believed that the scientist’s most sacred obligation is to continue to do science. Now I know that I was dead wrong. I am driven to the ultimately wise advice of my Columbia mentor, I.I. Rabi, who, in our many corridor bull sessions, urged his students to run for public office and get elected. He insisted that to be an advisor (he was an advisor to Oppenheimer at Los Alamos, later to Eisenhower and to the AEC) was ultimately an exercise in futility and that the power belonged to those who are elected. Then, we thought the old man was bonkers. But today… A Congress which is overwhelmingly dominated by lawyers and MBAs makes no sense in this 21st century in which almost all issues have a science and technology aspect.