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Historical changes in integrity and worth of scientific knowledge

Patterson, Clair C. (1994) Historical changes in integrity and worth of scientific knowledge. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 58 (15). pp. 3141-3143. ISSN 0016-7037.

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I became a scientist when humanity gave me a gift of its greatest kind by allowing my brain to experience the emotion of being the first to discover the true age of our ancient Earth. It did this, according to a brilliant concept proposed by Harrison Brown, by measuring the isotopic composition of iron meteoritic lead. True scientific discovery renders the brain incapable, at such moments, of shouting victoriously to the world "Look at what I have done! Now I will reap rewards of recognition and wealth!". Instead such discovery instinctively forces the brain to thunder "WE did it!" in a voice no one else can hear within its sacred but lonely chapel of scientific thought. In that shrine a lasting sense of well-being is conferred through electrifying recognition that the human mind, to which community the scientific mind belongs, does indeed reign supreme over the physical world through its ability to develop understandings of that world’s secrets, not to find ways to control it. This is not a narcissist, individualistic type of feeling, but one that has enormous communal depth, a strong subconscious sense of obligation to the generations-old community of scientific minds for bequeathing this gift of glorious emotion to the discoverer from their treasury of scientific knowledge built over centuries. It instills a lasting passion to protect and nurture into greater being the glory of the human communal mind.

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Additional Information:© 1994 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Issue or Number:15
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131211-134214972
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Official Citation:Clair C. Patterson, Historical changes in integrity and worth of scientific knowledge, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Volume 58, Issue 15, August 1994, Pages 3141-3143, ISSN 0016-7037, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:42961
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Dec 2013 00:03
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 06:03

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