2 thoughts on “In case you were wondering…

  1. I haven't read the whole lecture, but RW's comments on Sharia and how the word cannot be used without people panicing correspond very closely to the way in which certain scientific words can and can't be used in public.

    There is a technique for detecting the presence of certain chemical elements and their environments which uses strong magnetic fields to cause the nuclei in the centre of the atoms of these elements to line up like iron-filings at a magnet.  Because it uses magnetic fields to study the atomic nuclei, this is called "Nuclear magnetic resonance".  This is a remarkably useful technique in medicine, but apparently the first installations we all opposed because the word "nuclear" in the title made people think they were having the Chernobyl reactor built next-door.  Of course this may be an urban myth, but the term "Magnetic responance imaging (MRI)" is used universally for NMR in a medical context.

    We fear what we don't understand, as they say.

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