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Science as AutobiographyThe Troubled Life of Niels Jern$
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Thomas Soderqvist

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300094411

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300094411.001.0001

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“When I Look at Other Scientists … None of Them Have Wasted as Many Years as I Have”

“When I Look at Other Scientists … None of Them Have Wasted as Many Years as I Have”

Chapter:
(p.52) 5 “When I Look at Other Scientists … None of Them Have Wasted as Many Years as I Have”
Source:
Science as Autobiography
Author(s):

Thomas Söderqvist

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300094411.003.0005

This chapter discusses the great intellectual happening in the Danish capital, Copenhagen in 1936—the Second International Congress for the Unity of Science, held for one week in June under Jorgen Jorgensen's supervision. Maybe it was newspaper reports on the radical empiricists' discussion of problems of causality that inspired Niels Jerne to throw himself into David Hume's writings when he returned home. He also familiarized himself with Bertrand Russell, probably because of Jorgensen's introductory book on the English philosopher, published the year before. The English bacon experts, however, had remained unconvinced of the advantages of the new curing method, and so Hans Jessen began a new and larger series of tests in the Netherlands. As the summer went by, Niels became increasingly pessimistic and defeatist about the world and his situation, gradually slipping into a new phase of melancholy.

Keywords:   Niels Jerne, Copenhagen, Second International Congress for the Unity of Science, Jorgen Jorgensen, causality, David Hume, Bertrand Russell, Hans Jessen

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