Where do the curious people go?

“The history of the academy is sprinkled with geniuses who have worked painstakingly on whatever nook and cranny of their research area piqued their curiosity. Bob Horvitz, Nobel laureate in physiology, is said to have spent 30 years studying the 22 cells of a worm’s vulva. Arguably less usefully, the Victorian eugenicist and polymath Sir Francis Galton was addicted to classifying, using strict criteria, the attractiveness of young women whom he passed on the street. For some, universities are ‘places where people with Asperger’s get asylum’; for others, their classes are ‘padded cells for obsessives’, for whom writing books stops them from ‘assaulting strangers and being the biggest bores that ever existed’. Whatever the truth, in recent times it seems that ‘stratospherically intelligent semi-crazies’ have been made less welcome in academia as speculative and risky projects have been shunned and the safe and compliant recruited, the ‘moderately intelligent dullards’ …” (more)

[Ann Mroz, Times Higher Education, 12 March]

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