Who says science is boring?

Just heard a fascinating story on Bob Edwards Weekend about George Price, a mathematician / scientist / evolutionarly theorist who became obsessed with understanding altruism in genetic and mathematical terms.  He devised a formula that could explain it, then gave away his invention of computer-aided design, which would have made him a multi-millionaire if he had put a patent on it.  Not satisfied with how his mathematical formula explained why people are nice to each other, he proceeded to give all his money away to homeless people he found in London.  Once he realized that there was no way to quantify his own altruism (am I being nice?  Or am I being nice because I want to observe the process of being nice with myself as the subject of observation?), he proceeded to commit suicide with a pair of scissors.  His suicide note was addressed to a woman who had been homeless and who had no idea that he was a well-known theoretician.  She just knew him as a nice man.

Who says science is boring??

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~ by claytonbrown2 on January 6, 2011.

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