Monday, March 20, 2017

Is unreasonableness ever reasonable?

     This morning I have been thinking about these words of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) that were part of the postings on the door of one of my mathematics colleagues at Bloomsburg (PA) University:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: 
the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. 
Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

     My reflections on the word "unreasonable" also led me back to this important article from 1960 -- "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences."  (And I found here some analysis of the article.)
     As a final comment on unreasonableness I offer "Atomic Split" -- a poem by Shaw, which I found here at poemhunter.com.   

Atomic Split      by George Bernard Shaw

What a terrible thing to do,
Man has split the atom in two.
For peaceful purposes so we are told,
Medical wonders to unfold.
Then came the war in thirty-nine,
Man committed a terrible crime.
He built a bomb, of course Atomic,
Man's love for man, is ironic.
Two Cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki by name,
Were obliterated much to man's shame.
This was the war to end all wars.

What a terrible thing to do,
We have built a laser or two.
For peaceful purposes so we are told,
Medical wonders to unfold.
We now have nineteen hundred and eighty-five,
Are we lucky to be alive.
The next war will be in space,
What will become of the Human race.

What a terrible thing do to,
We have built a space ship or two.
For peaceful purposes so we are told,
Man's old dream will now unfold.
We have met some aliens from outer space,
What a terrible thing to do,
Now we have killed an alien or two.
Human Race let me say Adieu,
For now I know what will become of you.

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