One comment on “Smolin’s Trouble With Physics

  1. “I expect it would be hard to alter existing institutions to replace
    committee-based funding decisions with the kind of individual authority
    needed for these incentives to work.”

    Mark Miller tells a story related to this. When he reads a paper that
    looks valuable and original to him, he often checks the acknowledgments.
    For a time, there was a sequence of such projects that all thanked the
    same DARPA administrator. Apparently there was a level of senior
    reviewers at DARPA who had sufficient authority to pursue research goals
    on their own, and back a line of research over several years. So it can
    happen, even in the government, but only when the right person ends up
    in the hot seat, and possibly only when the structure is designed to
    allow individuals to make the decisions.

    I don’t support government funding of research, but that doesn’t mean it
    can’t have any success stories.

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