A PUBLIC JUDGMENT ON JOHN MATHER: OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES?

The 2009 John Mather Nobel Scholars were announced in a Press Release dated 21 July 2009. Twelve interns at Goddard Space Flight Center, including two students from France, were named.

If you scroll down just about an inch or so in the above web page, you will see the PR for the 2008 Scholars. You will see how the announcement was followed by the release of carefully posed pictures of the scholars with the great man himself. The picture was taken after a day of celebratory events, including an award luncheon.

At that time, there were put out on the Internet congratulatory announcements from the home institutions of some of the scholars. Also, some Internet sites carried the news (notably, SpaceRef.com).

In comparison, the response to the 2009 awards thus far has been the silence of the graveyard. No report of any formal award ceremony, no pictures. Nothing on the Internet that I can find apart from the above PR, and of course, my own posts.

This leaves many questions: Did the awardees actually accept the award? Or did they decline it? Why no pictures with John Mather? Did the awardees decline to be photographed with him? I have no way of knowing the answers, but it seems clear that something is out of kilter. Add to this impression the fact that somebody recently forced the above website to declare that they had no connection to NASA, which they previously projected to have.

If the awardees did act coldly or half-heartedly towards this award, I take my hat off to these young men and women. They may have shown that dignity and that honor and that judgment that are gone completely from the adult physics establishment. They may have passed the first collective public judgment on John Mather.

In this Age of Fakery, are we seeing the glints of the old world of genuineness? From the young?

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