tisdag 28 juli 2009

Why Are There So Few Science Blogs?

The blogosphere is quickly inflating, like the early Universe according to Big Bang theory, but few scientists write blogs, in particular few mathematicians and physicists, not to speak of applied mathematicians and fluid dynamicists, who are indeed very few. Nature reports that out of 46.7 million blogs indexed by the Technorati blog search engine, five scientists' sites make it into the top 3,500. 

Among the few in basic science, mostly represented by pure mathematicians and theoretical physicists, you find prestigious Nobel Laureates and Fields medalists insiders such as: 
and outsiders such as
but the large number of scientists between inside and outside do not write blogs. Why? Does it tell us something about how science is organized and performed? 

Yes, it seems to be a result of the strong hierarchy in science, where independent thinking either propels you to a top Prize position or to an outsider position. The large bulk of normal science in the terminology of Kuhn performed by normal scientists, cannot harbour too much of independent thinking, and thus normal scientists are not encouraged to write blogs, except possibly very normal blogs. 

On the other hand, authors and writers have an incentive to write blogs and also do, since for them expressing independent thinking is most essential.

The autocracy of science is illustrated in the Interview with Editors of Journal of Fluid Mechanics about the state-of-the-art concerning the basic problem of d'Alembert's paradox, where nobody from the large body of Associate Editors dares to express an opinion, only one of the two Editors who has the role of expressing the dogma of normal science, in this case that the paradox is not a paradox.

Pure mathematicians and theoretical physicists have found a common interest in string theory, which is both incomprehensible and mind-boggling and thus perhaps more attractive for mind-blogging than e.g. solid mechanics.

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