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The natural sciences are a lot like premium sports

Article authors Competition does not benefit science (7/27) I think they are not practitioners of the natural or exact sciences. In fact, there are many similarities between these sciences and major sports, a comparison made by NWO President Marcel Levy and another criticized by the authors in their article. As in mathematics, credit is given to the first to finish, in the exact and natural sciences, credit is given to the first to discover something: Archimedes’ law, Kepler and Newton’s laws, Van Mendel’s laws, Einstein’s theory of relativity, etc. The priority of important contributions has been the primary criterion for judging scientists in the natural sciences for more than two millennia. I don’t know how to judge the quality of the natural world. Should I give credit to Mr. Claassen, who discovered Archimedes’ law quite independently yesterday, more than two thousand years later? Another aspect of the natural sciences that is very similar to higher sports is: teamwork. A team of scientists perfectly in tune with each other, complementing each other and working together perfectly, it is very similar to a football team in which players play together perfectly, pass the ball in time, complement each other’s skills. Achieve to score many goals.

Any scientist who has worked on such a team and helped make significant progress in their field through such teamwork knows how wonderful it is to work on a “winning team”. Everyone who has tried this remembers that wonderful moment with nostalgia. Like the athletes who were on the “winning team”, they remember the great moment when their team scored great goals. Marcel Levy was right: if all goes well, science can indeed be compared to the highest levels of sport.


Professor Emeritus of AstrophysicsNS

University of Amsterdam

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