Gerald Jay Sussman
Your message was perhaps one of the strangest pieces of email
ever received. Although it is flattering to have a "fan club", in
fact, it is a very bad idea. Unlike most of human society, science
and engineering are based on the idea that each of us is capable of
evaluating evidence and thinking on our own. Each of us can do
experiments, work out the reasoning, and determine the truth for
ourselves. There is no room in science or engineering for "fans"
representing group approval over individual thought. One of my heros,
Galileo, put it very well:
"In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is
worth the humble reasoning of a single individual."
I am pleased to talk with people about matters of science or
engineering, so you and your colleagues may certainly send me mail.
I hope to learn as much from your experiences as you may learn from me.
But please get rid of the "cult of personality" way of thinking. It
is unscientific and ultimately destructive.