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Vojtěch Širůček

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Thomas S. Kuhn

Born 18 Jul 1922; died 17 Jun 1996 at age 73. Thomas Samuel Kuhn was an American science historian and science philosopher was a MIT professor, noted for his highly influential The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). He held that science was not a steady, cumulative acquisition of knowledge, but it is “a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions.” Then appears a Lavoisier or an Einstein, often a young scientist not indoctrinated in the accepted theories, to sweep the old paradigm away. Such revolutions, he said, came only after long periods of tradition-bound normal science. He pointed out that scientific research and thought are defined by “paradigms,”or trusted theories, concepts, methods and experiments. Such paradigms are accepted by scientists, who continue to extend, refine, explain and measure results until they meet an problem that cannot be resolved within the established framework. Such anomaly or contradiction eventually requires an intellectual revolution, such as the paradigm shifts from Ptolemaic cosmology to Copernican heliocentrism. “Frameworks must be lived with and explored before they can be broken.”


A small-town country boy gets a scholarship to Harvard. During his first week on campus, when he's still learning to get around the place, he's trying to find the library to meet up with a study group. While wandering around, he sees an older, distinguished-looking man walking by. Figuring that the man is a professor, or otherwise associated with the school, he decides to ask him for directions.

"Excuse me," he asks, "do you know where the library is at?"

The man stops, looks at him, and sniffs, "Son, at Harvard we do not end a sentence with a preposition".

"OK. Do you know where the library is at, asshole?"

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