The two Cultures

Sigfrid Lundberg's Stuff 2009-11-01

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C.P. Snow quoted G.H. Hardy

“I remember G. H. Hardy once remarking to me in mild puzzlement, some time in the 1930s, Have you noticed how the word "intellectual" is used nowadays? There seems to be a new definition which certainly doesn't include Rutherford or Eddington or Dirac or Adrian or me? It does seem rather odd, don't y'know. (C. P. Snow)”

in his book The Two Cultures. Another one:

“A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists.”

“Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative.”

“Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?”

C.P. Snows book appeared fifty years ago. I've studied science and technology for a better part of my life, and I've no idea how many times I've got remarks like “that's a technical detail.” It has happened this year.

Do you know what a markup language is? You may, or may not know the answer, but I suppose it's still more important to read Shakespeare if you're to be regarded as an educated person.

I do know the laws of thermodynamics, and I've read more than one work by Shakespeare. However, we software developers usually don't write like Shakespeare. We may be good hackers anyway.


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My name is Sigfrid Lundberg. The stuff I publish here may, or may not, be of interest for anyone else.

On this site there is material on photography, music, literature and other stuff I enjoy in life. However, most of it is related to my profession as an Internet programmer and software developer within the area of digital libraries. I have been that at the Royal Danish Library, Copenhagen (Denmark) and, before that, Lund university library (Sweden).

The content here does not reflect the views of my employers. They are now all past employers, since I retired 1 May 2023.

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