0896: "ZOmbeis"

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Joeldi
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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Joeldi » Tue May 10, 2011 12:08 am UTC

Abgrund wrote:Interesting that women are only supposed to have female role models, and men are only supposed to have male role models. For that matter, black and white role models are strictly segregated too, at least for men. Basic Human Decency always seeks to widen the divisions between groups - and calls this "inclusiveness".


I agree. That sentiment bothers me from time to time.
lly wrote:The deeper question is "how many scientists/mathematicians can the layman name? How many would they recognize?"

They would almost certainly recognize Hawking (and maybe Penrose, but a lot less likely) and Einstein. They would probably recognize Oppenheimer, but anecdotally in my experience I'd bet most wouldn't recognize von Neumann. They'd probably recognize Marie Curie, naturally, and Carver. Going way back we'd probably get a glimmer of recognition for Newton (but not Leibniz) and they are then more likely to talk about apples and gravity than they are calculus or forces. One would probably get a glimmer of recognition from people who have buildings named after them (Goddard) but would also probably be hard-pressed to say what they did. They might recognize Nash (mostly because of the movie), but probably not Selten and Harsanyi. They might recognize Watson and Crick but probably not Maurice Wilkins or Rosalind Franklin.


I'll admit I know quite a bit about sciency stuff and things (mainly highschool level, but a broad lot of highschool level stuff) but as for scientist's names, I know almost nothing. I don't know if this is really a disadvantage to me though.
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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Daggoth » Tue May 10, 2011 12:27 am UTC

wow this isnt even original or new. But i'd still watch out for radioactive zombie chick scientists.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Idhan » Tue May 10, 2011 1:29 am UTC

I'm a Maud Menten fan myself. Did any other Fallout fans think that Marie Curie is more likely to be a ghoul than a zombie, given that she's articulate and was subjected to massive amounts of radiation? Slightly OT: I dragged that in from a different thread of mine in the gaming forum. (I wouldn't quite say "Mewtwo get out of my head," but it's the closest I've come.)

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby cellopants » Tue May 10, 2011 1:54 am UTC

I like how the alt text works with almost every panel in the comic. :D

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Basilisk_Eyes » Tue May 10, 2011 3:15 am UTC

Did anyone remember ZOMBIE FEYNMAN? ANYONE?

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Airbuilder7 » Tue May 10, 2011 6:28 am UTC

Basilisk_Eyes wrote:Did anyone remember ZOMBIE FEYNMAN? ANYONE?

Now we just have to get Radioactive Carl Sagan to stop making pickpockets' heads explode and then we'd really have a Trio of (Literally) Unstoppable Awesomeness.

FOR SCIENCE!

And now we have Wednesday's comic. :D

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Klear » Tue May 10, 2011 8:29 am UTC

Munfred wrote:I registered just to post this quote from wikipedias article about Lise Meitner:

In 1926, Meitner became the first woman in Germany to assume a post of full professor in physics, at the University of Berlin. There, she made an even more significant discovery, that of nuclear fission in 1939. She was then praised by Albert Einstein as the "German Marie Curie".

And the references given indeed corroborate this:
http://books.google.com/books?id=YpEiPP ... &q&f=false
http://books.google.com/books?id=428i2U ... &q&f=false

Does this blows the purpose of the whole comic?


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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby sam035 » Tue May 10, 2011 8:33 am UTC

Xkcd acknowledges that the remarkable fame given to Marie Curie for her minor role in a minor scientific discovery suggests that women are just too dumb to do science. It is rather similar to praising a small child for going to the potty.

(Marie Curie was one of a three man team led by her husband that discovered radium. Without googling, name the other two people in the team. Then name the team that discovered radon and the transmutation of the elements, discovered that the generation of radon by thorium, and thus that radioactivity in general, was the decay of one element into another.)

But he then tells us that this implication, that women are too dumb to for science, is false because:
"Leise Meitner figured out that nuclear fission was happening while her colleague Otto stared blankly at the data"

However, we have the letters between Otto Hahn and Leise Meitner, and it was Meitner that stared blankly at Otto Hahn's data, while Otto Hahn, who had designed the experiment and performed the experiment, figured out that the results implied nuclear fission:
So if invoking Marie Curie implies women are not smart enough to do science, invoking Leise Meitner even more strongly implies that women are not smart enough to do science, for Leise Meitner's career is yet another career of yet another affirmative action hire whose actual job is done by white males, while Marie Curie, under the supervision of her husband, genuinely did contribute.

Checking the non political literature:"The historical development of quantum theory" By Jagdish Mehra, Helmut Rechenberg, page 1001
http://books.google.com/books?id=kn6mb0ltm0UC&pg=PA1002&lpg=PA1000&ots=v01csJ8n7I On Page 1001, we find direct quotes from the letters between Leise Meitner and Otto Hahn.

Hahn writes to Meitner that his results are strange because Quote "it should not break up" , implying that what he observes is uranium atoms breaking up when hit by a neutron.

Meitner responds that Hahn's results must be experimental error. Quote "The assumption of far reaching smashing appears to me to be rather problematic."

Hahn disagrees, and tells Meitner he is going to publish that uranium atoms are breaking up.

He sends a paper to Naturwissenshaften reporting atom smashing - what we now call nuclear fission.

He sends a copy of that paper to Meitner.

After receiving that paper, then Meitner "discovers" nuclear fission.Gee, if he had sent me a copy, I could have "discovered" it also.

Leise Meitner is a glaring example of yet another affirmative action "scientist" who happened to be hanging around some distance from actual scientific work performed by white males.

It is a secret that everyone knows, but no one can bring themselves to mention, that every affirmative action hire has a white male doing his or her job, assuming that the job actually requires doing, which it frequently does not.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Plasma Mongoose » Tue May 10, 2011 9:13 am UTC

Abgrund wrote:Interesting that women are only supposed to have female role models, and men are only supposed to have male role models. For that matter, black and white role models are strictly segregated too, at least for men. Basic Human Decency always seeks to widen the divisions between groups - and calls this "inclusiveness".


The very term Basic Human Decency is practically an oxymoron which has existed long before it was named as such.

It usually means well but the results more often than not result in inducing the shaking of heads, muttering about the stupidity of that particular P.C and facepalms.
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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby DavCrav » Tue May 10, 2011 9:19 am UTC

On the subject of Emmy Noether, her appointment at Göttingen was only blocked by a bunch of historians, not the scientists. So don't blame science, blame the historians...

However, this is all rubbish. Emmy Noether is as well remembered in mathematical history now as she deserves. If anybody here complains that she cannot be named by schoolkids, ask them who David Hilbert, a much more influential and important figure in mathematics, and a contemporary of Noether, is, and you will find they do not know either. So it is less that we don't know women scientist's names, and more that people struggle to name more than three scientists who lived in the twentieth century, and the ones they do are because they wrote popular science books. That last point is critical: if you want to see more women in the public eye of science, get them to write pop science books!

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Kulantan » Tue May 10, 2011 3:21 pm UTC

sam035 wrote:Xkcd acknowledges that the remarkable fame given to Marie Curie for her minor role in a minor scientific discovery suggests that women are just too dumb to do science. It is rather similar to praising a small child for going to the potty.

(Marie Curie was one of a three man team led by her husband that discovered radium. Without googling, name the other two people in the team. Then name the team that discovered radon and the transmutation of the elements, discovered that the generation of radon by thorium, and thus that radioactivity in general, was the decay of one element into another.)


And now for a post from the past by somebody who expresses themselves way better than I even could:
The Great Hippo wrote:FIRST OFF: She actually won the prize for discovering two elements--not one, chucklefuck. Polonium and radium. She and her husband also shared half the first Nobel Prize (for their work on radiation) with Professor Henri Becquerel; you seem to have forgotten that important tidbit. There's also the fact that she didn't receive the second Nobel Prize exclusively for the discovery of those two elements, but also their analysis and refinement--particularly of radium (which, by the way, seems to have been somewhat of a big deal)--there's also the fact that Edward Mattison McMillan and Glenn Theodore Seaborg shared the Nobel Prize for discovering the transuranium elements (the ones above 92); so you're wrong there, too. Oh yeah, by the way, don't tell anybody, but!--I found these guys in a google search. Oops!

The three-man committee that received her paper on the analysis of radium, two would go on to win Nobel Prizes themselves--Lippman and Moissan. They emphasized that her paper (and by her paper, we mean the paper that she wrote) represented the "greatest scientific contribution ever made in a doctoral thesis." But, y'know, I guess they were just too obsessed and blinded by her ladybits to actually see that she was an idiot and her husband probably wrote that paper for her anyway. Amirite? Probably just affirmative action stooges, ha ha!

Oh, by the way--after her husband died, in 1908, she managed to--with the help of her lab assistant, André Debierne (who worked for her)--isolate radium into a metallic form. But as we know, if you don't win a Nobel Prize for it, it's not a significant scientific achievement--besides, the ghost of her husband probably possessed her lab assistant and helped her with the research. Amirite, gais? Of course the fact that she did this while continuing to work as a lecturer, teacher, and mother is not at all relevant in a discussion about her merits as a scientist. AMIRITE?
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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby rhinobaby » Tue May 10, 2011 3:40 pm UTC

I haven't seen Sophie Germain mentioned anywhere. I believe she predates everyone mentioned, although maybe her contributions aren't considered as significant as the rest.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Klear » Tue May 10, 2011 4:30 pm UTC

This reminds me of that (apparently, according to Wikipedia) myth, that Einstein's first wife, Mileva Marić, helped him with theory of relativity. I've even heard that she was supposed to make most of the work and Einstin basically stole it, but... yeah... wikipedia says there's an overwhelming consensus that it was not so, so I guess it's just a myth.

BTW, there is nothing special about the scarcity of women in science - the situation is the same with art, philosophy, politics... It's actually pretty weird that while ther eis the stereotype, that women are bad at math and science, there isn't such prejudice in art... yet most of the well known painters, architects, composers etc. from history are male.

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The most beautiful, deepest result in theoretical physics

Postby Joe Buck » Tue May 10, 2011 4:51 pm UTC

I'm surprised that no one asked about this one. Noether's Theorem proves that there's a correspondence between symmetry and conservation laws. For example, invariance in time (e.g. physical laws don't change with time) gives conservation of energy; invariance in position gives conservation of momentum.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby *bird » Tue May 10, 2011 6:21 pm UTC

Abgrund wrote:Interesting that women are only supposed to have female role models, and men are only supposed to have male role models. For that matter, black and white role models are strictly segregated too, at least for men. Basic Human Decency always seeks to widen the divisions between groups - and calls this "inclusiveness".


That's not the reason that we have female role model segregation. (or black/white/etc races)

It's mainly because if we didn't, we'd probably only have white male role models. Not because they're necessarily better, but because people assume them as the default and everyone else as other, so why do we need to cater to anything but the default? That's good enough, right?

Women can have male role models (and often do). Men can also have female role models, but are often socialized not to do so (given the contempt aimed at men for doing anything that can be construed as "girly").

Likewise, racial minorities can have white role models (in the West), and often do. White people can have role models that are minorities, but are often socialized to believe that a particular minority is only good at certain things, and we also very rarely mention them in conversation or history class.

People who say identity isn't all that important often believe they don't actually have an identity. But it's not that they don't; it's that it's invisible and catered to most of the time, and thus they don't understand why others are whining about it.

Plasma Mongoose wrote:The very term Basic Human Decency is practically an oxymoron which has existed long before it was named as such.

It usually means well but the results more often than not result in inducing the shaking of heads, muttering about the stupidity of that particular P.C and facepalms.


Moreover, it originally started as a conservative term used to deride the necessity of non-default human being in any conversation, not a liberal one like everybody thinks it is.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Turing Machine » Tue May 10, 2011 9:07 pm UTC

Mercredi wrote:This one's going on my office door. Thanks, Randall!

It bugged me so much in elementary school that the only woman scientist we learned about died from doing science. I felt like it was a veiled threat: don't do science, girls, because only one of you ever did, and it killed her. It wasn't until high school that I learned about Lise Meitner and Rosaline Franklin; it wasn't until college that I learned about Emmy Noether and Sophie Germain... and I was in grad school when I learned (rather accidentally) about Ada Lovelace and Hypatia. And Sonya Kovalevski, who has a really important theorem named after her.

Fortunately, I had Kate Monday for a positive role model as a child. =D


That sounds like the opposite of the attitude cultivated in schools, but all right.

Let's all white-knight for this tiny sliver of a minority of scientists.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby n2kra » Tue May 10, 2011 10:23 pm UTC

Radioactive Zombies? How upsetting!
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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Weeks » Tue May 10, 2011 11:29 pm UTC

Hello everyone, douchefucks included.
Gregu wrote:(being a bit of a feminist, but in a good way)
Just so you all know, this is the most abhorrent statement I have seen today. Don't get caught in the idea that being a feminist is bad, lest your brain get devoured by utahraptors.

Or, just continue being a complete fuckhead, and have a nice fucking day. Idiot.
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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby DavCrav » Tue May 10, 2011 11:39 pm UTC

Weeks wrote:Hello everyone, douchefucks included.
Gregu wrote:(being a bit of a feminist, but in a good way)
Just so you all know, this is the most abhorrent statement I have seen today. Don't get caught in the idea that being a feminist is bad, lest your brain get devoured by utahraptors.

Or, just continue being a complete fuckhead, and have a nice fucking day. Idiot.


Got out the wrong sude of bed this morning, maybe?

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed May 11, 2011 12:10 am UTC

No, I'm fairly certain it's the strident antifeminism rather than Weeks' day-to-day disposition.
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Re: 0896: Marie Curie

Postby BytEfLUSh » Wed May 11, 2011 12:13 am UTC

Magic Molly wrote:Marie Curie invented the theory of radioactivity, the treatment of radioactivity, and dying of radioactivity.


This is the exact same thought that ran through my head when I read the title. Doesn't surprise me, though... I just finished Portal 2 less than 24 hours before the comic went online. Damn it, I WANT MORE PORTAL! :)

My dreams still consist of weird blue and orange circles while my nightmares are full of surfaces on which you cannot place aforementioned circles. :)


EDIT: As for the comic... meh... This time I can actually agree with SirMustapha about a bunch of WikiPedia quotes thrown in semi-randomly, and all for the purpose of not-so-clever punchline. Though, I'm not here to rant about the quality of the comic... If I don't like it, so be it, I just had to add some words about the comic itself.
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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby TheAmazingRando » Wed May 11, 2011 1:14 am UTC

Turing Machine wrote:Let's all white-knight for this tiny sliver of a minority of scientists.
Kindly leave your childish bullshit at the door, please.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby fimzo » Wed May 11, 2011 1:58 am UTC

I was expecting Rosalind Franklin to be mentioned, like a few other people were.
-Fimzo

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby KrytenKoro » Wed May 11, 2011 3:10 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:No, I'm fairly certain it's the strident antifeminism rather than Weeks' day-to-day disposition.

Eh, his comment reads more as complimenting Curie for being for feminine identity, without being a raging angry like Weeks just was.
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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Judah » Wed May 11, 2011 3:28 am UTC

Gregu wrote:So far noone corrected this, but being Polish I feel obliged - "Marie Curie" is actually "Marie Skłodowska-Curie".
I can't say it surprises me that the first part of her name people dropped was Skłodowska.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby makaveli » Wed May 11, 2011 7:01 am UTC

I had the feeling that these women might be Jewish by their surname, Wikipedia confirms that they both (Noether and Meitner) are actually Jewish, so was Rosalind Franklin who has been mentioned on the board and I've never heard about. Curie on the other hand was of Catholic origin. This doesn't surprise me,but I might be opening a can of worms here...
Last edited by makaveli on Wed May 11, 2011 7:07 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby addams » Wed May 11, 2011 7:06 am UTC

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It is a 13-comic booklet that was handed out and signed by Randy at a meetup in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco at the end of June 2010, as a "patch" to the full book. The location and time of the meetup was a message hidden in puzzles in the xkcd book - there's a thread about it somewhere.


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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Vaskafdt » Wed May 11, 2011 10:30 am UTC

Judah wrote:
Gregu wrote:So far noone corrected this, but being Polish I feel obliged - "Marie Curie" is actually "Marie Skłodowska-Curie".
I can't say it surprises me that the first part of her name people dropped was Skłodowska.


I'm not even sure how to pronounce it.
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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby KestrelLowing » Wed May 11, 2011 1:47 pm UTC

*bird wrote:
Abgrund wrote:Interesting that women are only supposed to have female role models, and men are only supposed to have male role models. For that matter, black and white role models are strictly segregated too, at least for men. Basic Human Decency always seeks to widen the divisions between groups - and calls this "inclusiveness".


That's not the reason that we have female role model segregation. (or black/white/etc races)

It's mainly because if we didn't, we'd probably only have white male role models. Not because they're necessarily better, but because people assume them as the default and everyone else as other, so why do we need to cater to anything but the default? That's good enough, right?

Women can have male role models (and often do). Men can also have female role models, but are often socialized not to do so (given the contempt aimed at men for doing anything that can be construed as "girly").

Likewise, racial minorities can have white role models (in the West), and often do. White people can have role models that are minorities, but are often socialized to believe that a particular minority is only good at certain things, and we also very rarely mention them in conversation or history class.

People who say identity isn't all that important often believe they don't actually have an identity. But it's not that they don't; it's that it's invisible and catered to most of the time, and thus they don't understand why others are whining about it.

Plasma Mongoose wrote:The very term Basic Human Decency is practically an oxymoron which has existed long before it was named as such.

It usually means well but the results more often than not result in inducing the shaking of heads, muttering about the stupidity of that particular P.C and facepalms.


Moreover, it originally started as a conservative term used to deride the necessity of non-default human being in any conversation, not a liberal one like everybody thinks it is.


I'd like to also expand on the role model thing.

The most important part of a role model is that you can relate to them. That's why you traditionally get female role models for females, male role models for males, Black role models for Black people, etc. You want people as role models who have overcome the same barriers you face. Often for minorities it is overcoming the idea that you are not as capable as the majority. For women in particular, some barriers would be dealing with being 'unfeminine' and how to balance work and family as women traditionally have a larger role in childcare.

So while it's entirely possible to have role models of a different gender, race, etc., role models are most effective when they have overcome similar barriers to the ones you're facing.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby CTrombley » Wed May 11, 2011 7:50 pm UTC

Saying Emmy Noether's upbringing was "Victorian-Era Finishing-School" is something of a misrepresentation. Her father, Max Noether, was very active in her education and many of her early results are generalizations of his theories and encouraged her to go on in her studies. She did attend a girls secondary school, the dully named Höhere Töchter Schule in Erlangen, but this was a boon to her career. Most women did not even have that!

Of course, we could list the great female scientists of the past for a while - Sofia Kovalevskaya, Grace Hopper, Sophie Germain, Julia Robinson, Émilie du Châtelet (whose work has not proved to be foundational, but at the time she was one of the foremost scientists in the world), and many others.

Also, because someone mentioned it, Ada Lovelace's algorithm for computing in her note's to Luigi's lecture on Babbage's machine *pause for breath* was the only thing in the article partially written by Charles Babbage. The notes describe the program the Analytical Engine was intended to run (sadly, a rather blase differential equation), which might been the first computer program if the machine were ever actually built. To quote Babbage himself:

"We discussed together the various illustrations that might be introduced: I suggested several, but the selection was entirely her own. So also was the algebraic working out of the different problems, except, indeed, that relating to the numbers of Bernoulli, which I had offered to do to save Lady Lovelace the trouble. This she sent back to me for an amendment, having detected a grave mistake which I had made in the process."

Perhaps it would be true to give her a far more important title - the first debugger! Sadly, Lovelace lost the support of the mercurial Babbage and fell ill while working on a translation of Ohm's work in electricity. It is tantalizing to speculate if she or her friend De Morgan might have been able to do what Peirce and later Shannon did - realize that switches could be used to represent logic!

Oops, I sort of lost track there. Anyway, though Emmy Noether's mistreatment by the University of Göttingen (another aside - that was partly university politics. The Kantian philosophy department hated Hilbert and took advantage of sex politics of the time to prevent him from adding another professor to his ranks) was wrong, her education actually supported her in the overcoming of it, not hindered as was clumsily suggested in the comic.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby GenovaHeightsGhost » Wed May 11, 2011 7:58 pm UTC

I need some sake to toast KestrelLowing, TheGreatHippo, and this comic. :D
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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Pierre Curie » Wed May 11, 2011 8:30 pm UTC

I'm new here. How best to get this comic added to the signed prints in the xkcd store? I think I'd like to get a copy for my niece.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby nitePhyyre » Thu May 12, 2011 1:57 am UTC

You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard you become great in the process.

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This should be a famous proverb or something.
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You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard you become great in the process.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby fagricipni » Thu May 12, 2011 7:14 am UTC

sam035 wrote:
"Leise Meitner figured out that nuclear fission was happening while her colleague Otto stared blankly at the data"

However, we have the letters between Otto Hahn and Leise Meitner, and it was Meitner that stared blankly at Otto Hahn's data, while Otto Hahn, who had designed the experiment and performed the experiment, figured out that the results implied nuclear fission ....

Checking the non political literature:"The historical development of quantum theory" By Jagdish Mehra, Helmut Rechenberg, page 1001
http://books.google.com/books?id=kn6mb0 ... v01csJ8n7I On Page 1001, we find direct quotes from the letters between Leise Meitner and Otto Hahn.


And Darwin argued that the eye could not form by evolution: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA113_1.html ; another case of selective quoting.

sam035 wrote:Hahn writes to Meitner that his results are strange because Quote "it should not break up" , implying that what he observes is uranium atoms breaking up when hit by a neutron.


That piece is correct; though it leaves out the possibility that Hahn thought of for testing this and that he mentioned that it was difficult to do so: "Now we want to test whether the actinium isotopes [obtained] from [the decaying] "radium" may not behave like lanthanum instead of actinium. All of these are tricky experiments. [emphasis added]".

sam035 wrote:Meitner responds that Hahn's results must be experimental error. Quote "The assumption of far reaching smashing appears to me to be rather problematic."


First off, sam035 leaves off very important parts of that quote; the quote in full is: "The assumption of far reaching smashing appears to me, at the moment, to be rather problematic, but we have experienced so many surprises in nuclear physics that we can not say that, it is impossible". She also suggested some chemical checks; based on what I have read of this book sam035 quotes from, I can not say for sure whether she suggested chemical tests that would more easily distinguish barium from radium more easily than waiting to see if the radioactive "radium" decays into lanthanum as barium would rather than decaying into actinium as radium would; but what I have read of the book that sam035 quotes is not inconsistent with that.

But, it is obviously false that Meitner said that Hahn's results must be experimental error. However, perhaps sam035 is too young to remember the Pons-Fleischmann cold fusion fiasco where a couple of scientists went off half-cocked and made fools of themselves; while this incident post-dates the events that we are talking by several decades, I mention it because it is a good example of what happens when scientists go off half-cocked and are wrong about things that physics, as known at the time, regards as impossible. Given the consequences that Hahn and Otto could expect had they done the same, their being reluctant to go forward without overwhelming evidence is completely understandable; and as for Meitner, there was already an extreme prejudice against women scientists in 1938/39; had she joined them in an unorthodox idea and they had been proven wrong, she would face even more serious difficulties in being taken seriously ever again and been used incessantly as "proof" that women were incapable of serious science.

sam035 wrote:Hahn disagrees, and tells Meitner he is going to publish that uranium atoms are breaking up.

He sends a paper to Naturwissenshaften reporting atom smashing - what we now call nuclear fission.


In the modern days of nearly instantaneous communication over the Internet, perhaps it is easy for sam035 to forget than in 1938/39 that even the telephone is nowhere near as being as ubiquitous as it was even 20 years later; the long-distance communication between Meitner and Hahn was carried out by mail -- not email, but physical paper transported by car or railroad. On the very same day as Meitner was suggesting additional ways to check whether radium or barium was being produced, Hahn was able to confirm that the "radium" had indeed decayed in to lanthanum -- as would be expected of barium -- rather than the actinium that would be expected of radium.

sam035 wrote:He sends a copy of that paper to Meitner.

After receiving that paper, then Meitner "discovers" nuclear fission.Gee, if he had sent me a copy, I could have "discovered" it also.


The real problem is that Hahn is unable to provide a mechanism by which this unexpected production of much less massive nuclides can be explained -- certainly the energy contributed by the slow neutrons would seem to be insufficient to actually smash the nucleus. On 1939 Jan 16 Otto submitted a joint letter by Meitner and himself to Nature (a scientific journal) giving an explanation of a mechanism for the previously unexpected production of much less massive nuclides which is in its basic details is identical to that is understood to be the mechanism to this day.

sam035 wrote:Leise Meitner is a glaring example of yet another affirmative action "scientist" who happened to be hanging around some distance from actual scientific work performed by white males.


Affirmative action in 1938/39!?! I would say that your ignorance of history is astounding, but I think that your astounding level of intellectual dishonesty is sufficient to explain your ludicrous conjecture.

For the rest of you, my thought was that I wanted to see the full letters being quoted by sam035, and I had serious doubts of finding them in a reference that was provided by sam035 himself; and I didn't, but I was surprised that even without them that the very source that sam035 provided the link to contradicted virtually every "fact" that he* claimed :shock: (BTW, this emoticon is not being used ironically here). I understand why others would not have expected the source provided by this poster to refute his own claims, but did no one even check?

* BTW, while I consider it extremely likely that sam035 is male; in the interest of accuracy, I have to admit that I have not had the opportunity to check sam035's genital configuration; nor its chromosomal content.

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Kulantan
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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Kulantan » Thu May 12, 2011 8:21 am UTC

fagricipni wrote:I understand why others would not have expected the source provided by this poster to refute his own claims, but did no one even check?

They were spouting enough shit that I really couldn't be bothered. Anyone who believes this:
sam035 wrote:It is a secret that everyone knows, but no one can bring themselves to mention, that every affirmative action hire has a white male doing his or her job, assuming that the job actually requires doing, which it frequently does not.

Doesn't really care about evidence. I glad you bothered to check though.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby SirMustapha » Thu May 12, 2011 3:29 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:
You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard you become great in the process.

Sig'd.

This should be a famous proverb or something.


Sometimes I think that the best advice comes from people who don't exercise it... which is precisely the case here.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby nitePhyyre » Thu May 12, 2011 8:09 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:Sometimes I think that the best advice comes from people who don't exercise it... which is precisely the case here.

Randall, Marie Curie, or me?
sourmìlk wrote:Monopolies are not when a single company controls the market for a single product.

You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard you become great in the process.

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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby zAlbee » Thu May 12, 2011 9:43 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:Sometimes I think that the best advice comes from people who don't exercise it... which is precisely the case here.

Randall, Marie Curie, or me?


GIven how lowly SirMustapha thinks of Randall, I'd say Randall. SM is no longer capable of judging any xkcd product objectively. Everything needs a subtext of why Randall sucks.

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run.dll
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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby run.dll » Thu May 12, 2011 11:38 pm UTC

While it is true that Curie died of cancer, most likely as a result of long-term exposure to radionuclides, it is also true that she lived into her late 60s at a time when reaching 50 was a notable achievement. She isn't really all that credible as a poster child for the hazards of radioactive material. Anyone for radiation hormesis? ;-)
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Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Postby Abgrund » Sat May 14, 2011 6:40 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:So while it's entirely possible to have role models of a different gender, race, etc., role models are most effective when they have overcome similar barriers to the ones you're facing.

That is precisely the kind of subtle deception that makes this kind of Basic Human Decency an undesirable form of indoctrination. The intent is not to provide positive role models, but to encourage young people to adopt membership in a PC "victim group" as part of their identity, and to imagine themselves faced with the same prejudices faced a hundred or more years ago by people who happen to have had the same skin tone or genital furnishings. There's no good reason to break up modern society into mutually hostile sub-groups based on nineteenth century cultural norms.


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