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Index: Science, Medicine & Technology

Master Ru.

Peter Knobler: ‘I heard Master Ru begin on this new visitor as he had on me, and I felt a little less wimpescent when her guttural noises began.’

Angels of the singularity.

James Gallant: ‘There is no explanation for 143 of the 144 sightings studied between 2004 and 2021. This is worrying, since unidentified aerial phenomena pose a “safety of flight issue” and “possibly a challenge to national security.”’

Dreaming of nerve cells.

Charles Vecht, MD: ‘Freud and Cajal had much in common and were close contemporaries. Both came from simple backgrounds out of the mainland of their country, and shared an early interest in neuroanatomy. Also, they were productive and creative writers. Nevertheless, the scientific rigor that Cajal attributed to reproducible observations made him critical of Freud’s theories.’

Zbigniew Jaroslaw Kotowicz.

Anthony Rudolf: ‘His untimely death saddens his circle of close friends, artists, writers, scholars and psychotherapists, to whom he remained fiercely loyal across time and space. We cherished his singularity, his depth, his kindness, his sardonic humour and his devotion to the values he held dear. In the words of a former associate of R.D. Laing, Leon Redler: “I didn’t know Zbigniew well but when he comes to mind now it’s with resonances of a critical intelligence, integrity and courage”. ‘

The rediscovery of the unique.

H. G. Wells: ‘Science is a match that man has just got alight. He thought he was in a room—in moments of devotion, a temple—and that his light would be reflected from and display walls inscribed with wonderful secrets and pillars carved with philosophical systems wrought into harmony. ‘


Richard Jensen: ‘Valery Legasov spent two years fighting behind the scenes to have some of the more glaring problems with the reactor addressed. When these efforts failed, in frustration and despair, he hung himself in the stairwell of his office building on April 27, 1988. ‘

A Defence of Modern Spiritualism.

Alfred Russel Wallace: ‘The spiritual theory, as a rule, has only been adopted as a last resource, when all other theories have hopelessly broken down; and when fact after fact, phenomenon after phenomenon, has presented itself, giving direct proof that the so called dead are still alive. The spiritual theory is the logical outcome of the whole of the facts. Those who deny it, in every instance with which I am acquainted, either from ignorance or disbelief leave half the facts out of view. ‘


James Gallant; ‘[Jacques] Vallee wrote in Dimensions (1988), that if you were interested in producing a spiritual revolution, you would need to “bypass the intelligentsia and the church, remain undetectable to the military system, leave undisturbed the political and administrative levels of society, and at the same time implant deep within [a] society far-reaching doubts concerning its basic philosophical tenets.” Those effects have been produced by the UFO and aliens, manifestations of the “little people,” and the materializations of the physical mediums.’

Thomas Young’s Bakerian lecture.

Christine Simon: ‘The difficulty of science as exemplified in wave-particle complementarity does not exonerate us from the responsibility of trying to understand it. Science is, after all, an explanation of the way the material world works.’


Alan Wall: ‘So much is represented as fragmented, not because something completed has been broken up, or an achievable whole not completed, but because this mosaic of discrete pieces actually constitutes the perceptual world of modernity. The camera was designed to capture this kaleidoscopic panorama visually; the essay attempts to capture it linguistically and philosophically. The essay is the formal expression of a world of fragments. Fragments can be connected, of course. They do not have to take the form of fossils, being re-assembled into a form they initially exhibited; they can be chips of stone in a mosaic, each effectively complete in itself. Or they can take the form of the facets which, once assembled, compose the figure of Ambroise Vollard in his portrait by Picasso.’


Sir Robert Ball: ‘All that the best telescope can possibly do is to exhibit the planet to us as it would be seen by the unaided eye if it were brought into a distance of 35,000 miles. This will demonstrate that even our greatest telescope cannot be expected to enable us to answer the questions that are so often asked about our neighboring globe. What could we learn of Europe if we had only a bird’s-eye view of it from a height of 35,000 miles, that is to say, from a height which was a dozen times as far as from the shores of Europe to America.’

Science and disenchantment.

Alan Wall: We live, it seems, between the shaman’s pole and Galileo’s plank; between our continuing wish to be enchanted and our eagerness to disenchant the world through science (to know it as it really is, not as we would wish it to be). The question is put to us daily: which is it to be? But is it possible that the choice is a false one, like being asked to choose your left mental hemisphere or your right? Are we being told we must choose one side of the paper or the other? Maybe the pole and the plank represent complementary aspects of the human condition. Could they both be the expression of fundamental needs?

The god of Athens.

Thomas Conlon: ‘Christians are panentheists in the very limited sense that they believe that 2000 years ago God became man for a short period. Any wider identification of God with any part of nature weakens the force and radicalness of the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Trinity. Although some of his best friends may be panentheists Cooper, the biblical Christian, is not about to join them.’

A brief note on Nothing.

Thomas Conlon: ‘One of the leading principles of his physics was that it was impossible that a rent could ever be torn in the plenum of substance to expose an underlying nothingness. According to him, everything that happens in the physical world was a consequence of the interaction of substances and nothing, indeed, could ever come of nothing.’

A calendar for Mars.

Rev George Lardas: ‘I do not purpose to use this calendar to the exclusion of all others, but rather we offer this as a reasonable and practical proposal for timekeeping on Mars for astronomical and astronau­tical use. I believe that the regularity of construction, the uninterrupted sequence of weekdays, the use of the same calendar for every month of a year, the use of familiar and easy to remember names for time divisions, the maintenance of the vernal equinox on the same calendar day for a long span of years, the year count starting with a universally accepted astronomical reference point, and the result that it encompasses all observations of Mars both historical and current, all constitute virtues that strongly commend this proposal.’