Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Discovery and spirit of observation

We all believe (rightfully so) that Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered pulsars. However, there remains a very curious case of a military officer in Alaska who may have detected not just the first pulsar, but did a sky survey for them. He was alone, in a remote army camp, with a radar built to detect incoming missiles. He found pulses (specifically flashes) from Crab and other pulsars, and scouted the sky for more.

Mr. Charles Schisler was his name, you will find more on the link provided. He may not have been trained to 'analyse', but certainly knew how to discover. He knew when he did find something new. He had remarkable skill to know the preserve, to correlate, and put all those pieces together over a long interval time. All this was done at his own initiative.

He should get a honorary PhD, this man deserves that more than myself (and presumably others like me.)

To me, this just happens to show how diverse the nature of 'discovery' can be , and tells us about human spirit, in its rawest form, to know about new things. It also shows how secrecy can diminish importance of knowledge that can be shared by the rest of the humanity. This points to faulty patent scheme and copy-rights that exist today...

Find out more on links below:



An Independent 1967 Discovery of Pulsars

AIP Conf. Proc. 983, 642 (2008)


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