The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 19 (1941) > Issues > Issue 4 > Science, National and International and the Basis of Co-operation
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Science, National and International and the Basis of Co-operation

I SHOULD be the last to claim that we scientific men, as a class, are less liable to prejudice on grounds of self-interest, race, politics, or religion than other educated people; and we should deceive ourselves, and perhaps some uncritical members of the public, if we were to assume (as some of us seem to do) that scientific eminence, or the scientific habit of mind, as such, or even scientific notoriety, give any special virtue to our opinions on more ordinary topics. It is, nevertheless, a fact that the nature of our occupation makes scientific men particularly international in their outlook. In its judgments on facts science claims to be independent of political opinion, of nationality, of material profit. It believes that Nature will give a single answer to any question properly framed, and that only one picture can ultimately be put together from the very complex jigsaw puzzle which the world presents. Individual and national bias, fashion, material advantage, a temporary emergency, may determine which part of the puzzle at any moment is subject to the greatest activity. For its final judgments, however, for its estimates of scientific validity, there is a single court of appeal in Nature itself, and nobody disputes its jurisdiction. Those who talk, for example, of aryan and non-aryan physics, or of proletarian and capitalist genetics, as though they were different, simply make themselves ridiculous. For such reasons the community of scientific people throughout the world is convinced of the necessity of international collaboration; has practised such collaboration for many years, indeed along the centuries; and has built up an elaborate system of congresses and unions, of standards, units and nomenclature, and of abstracting journals, together with a widespread interchange of research workers and ideas from one country to another. Dr. A.V. Hill

Author(s): Hill, A V