Sunday, July 21, 2013

Raymond Loewy, High Modernity's Greatest Scientist ??

Raymond Loewy's vision of a cannon-blast propelled rocket liner in 2039 propelling passengers from New York to London in an hour, was the star turn of the fabled 1939 New York's World Fair --- beloved by the public, the media and most significantly, by the scientific establishment.

That is if we can take scientific silence for assent.

The scientific community are like bullies all over : the victims of their anger are always carefully chosen to be much smaller and much weaker than themselves.

So well known figures from interwar organized science were always eager to speak out about the inanities of spoon-benders, perpetual machine advocates and faith healers of various creeds --- the latter a signal sign of just how weak they judged Ole Jehovah had become.

A 'cannon' (sans a real barrel) powerful enough to propel a passenger liner clear across the Atlantic Ocean with a single short sharp shock of an explosion , would momentarily generate enough G-Forces to render the delicate human bodies inside into instant eggnog.

This was Newtonian ballistic science, circa 1939, on LSD and drinking its own Kool-aid.

Make your careful calculations, set the dials just right and then just pull the trigger : 'fire and forget'.

One hour later the rocketship, in a fiery parabolic arc, would reliably land softly and gently down on a tiny rocketport pad after a ten thousand km free-flight.

Loewy freely admitted this trip was not yet possible - but it was only a short matter of time - merely awaiting the proper sort of fuel.

No - it was then and will be for all time - a totally idiotic idea - and the scientists of 1939 knew it - having long ago done the experiments that proved it so.

But while Christians might have their martyrs, who as ever heard of atheist martyrs ?

What scientist has ever bit the hand that fed them ?

This, the star-turn of the World's Fair, was sponsored by Chrysler, and whatever was good for Chrysler was also good for university presidents and science professors.

So those among the scientists who knew better bit their tongues and genuflected in awe like the rest of the visitors.

At least we hope they did .

But what if they secretly believed like Loewy, that all that was needed was a anti-gravity cannon fuel and surely that can only be a matter of time ?

It sounds like science fiction but who , if not young scientists to be , were the main readers of Sci Fi in 1939 ?

Scary isn't it ?

Now perhaps WWII, the war between the scientists, seem more explicable ...

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