Tuesday, January 27

Very clever young man...

I really liked this quote in An Illustrated Brief History of Time (have I mentioned I've read the whole thing :-). So when kottke linked it (at the bottom, for different effect), I decided to post it, too.

In A Brief History of Time (Bantam Books, 1988), Stephen Hawking tells the story of a well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down."
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