Breakthroughs in Statistics

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McCrimmon, having gotten Grierson's attention, continued: "A breakthrough, you say? If it's in economics, at least it can't be dangerous. Nothing like gene engineering, laser beams, sex hormones or international relations. That's where we don't want any breakthroughs. " (Galbraith, 1. K. (1990) A Tenured Profes- sor, Houghton Mifflin; Boston. ) To judge [astronomy] in this way [a narrow utilitarian point of view] demon- strates not only how poor we are, but also how small, narrow, and indolent our minds are; it shows a disposition always to calculate the payolTbefore the work, a cold heart and a lack of feeling for everything that is great and honors man. One can unfortunately not deny that such a mode of thinking is not uncommon in our age, and I am convinced that this is closely connected with the catastro- phes which have befallen many countries in recent times; do not mistake me, I do not talk of the general lack of concern for science, but of the source from which all this has come, of the tendency to everywhere look out for one's advan- tage and to relate everything to one's physical well-being, of the indilTerence towards great ideas, ofthe aversion to any elTort which derives from pure enthu- siasm: I believe that such attitudes, if they prevail, can be decisive in catas- trophes of the kind we have experienced. [Gauss, K. F. : Astronomische An- trittsvorlesung (cited from Buhler, W. K. (1981) Gauss: A Biographical Study, Springer: New York)].

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Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
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