Letters:The reconciliation of beauty and science

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The Independent Online
Sir: Bryan Appleyard's article "Einstein's eyes can't see at all" (21 December) really does sink to new depths, or no doubt he would say new heights. Gone is the value of being inquisitive. Gone is the appreciation of the extra beauty of the unive rse, large and small, that further knowledge can bring. Gone is a deeper understanding of our position in the whole cosmos.

No doubt Mr Appleyard would still like to be at the centre of the universe. Galileo - was it really worth it? It's so much more comfortable to be central and in control - even if it is a delusion.

However, it is reassuring to know that the contributions of Newton, Galileo, Einstein, Feynman, and countless others will live on beyond the ranting of Mr Appleyard. If his article is anything to go by, we can only be thankful we did not have to endure his drunken views of two in the morning - or perhaps they are those drunken views.

Surprising things were said to have happened at this time of the year. Perhaps good will, enlightenment and even a little real humour might go Mr Appleyard's way this Christmas.

Yours hopefully, R. J. CASHMORE Department of Particle and Nuclear Physics University of Oxford Oxford 22 December

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