Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ursula Franklin, scientist

through the whimsy of wikipedia's daily entry, i stumbled upon Ursula Franklin, a Canadian metallurgist, thinker, and pacifist. she's a Quaker, has long been affiliated with U of T, and she's fascinating! she has written a great deal about technology & its impact on our lives. in the 1960s, she worked on analysing the radioactive isotope levels in children's teeth, which contributed to stopping atmospheric weapons testing. and she's just gone from there. i'm hooked by a few quotes i've found from her:
"Silence possesses striking similarities [to] aspects of life and community, such as unpolluted water, air, or soil, that were once taken as normal and given, but have become special and precious in technologically mediated environments."
which gives me something to think about, when next trapped in an elevator with piped-in music & overflow static noise from a neighbour's pod-like headphones.

"Today scientific constructs have become the model of describing reality rather than one of the ways of describing life around us… . Because the scientific method separates knowledge from experience, it may be necessary in case of discrepancies to question the scientific results… rather than to question and discount the experience. It should be experience that leads to a modification of knowledge, rather than abstract knowledge forcing people to perceive their experience as being unreal or wrong.”
a balance of knowledge & experience, of science & feeling. i have a feeling i'll be reading more from Franklin.

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