A ScientistÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Scientist
John Barrow wins 2006 Templeton Prize
By Julia Vitullo-Martin
When Selfish Gene author Richard Dawkins challenged physicist John Barrow on his formulation of the constants of nature at last summerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship lectures, Barrow laughed and said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“You have a problem with these ideas, Richard, because youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not really a scientist. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a biologist.Ã¢â‚¬Â
For Barrow, biology is little more than a branch of natural history. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Biologists have a limited, intuitive understanding of complexity. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re stuck with an inherited conflict from the 19th century, and are only interested in outcomes, in what wins out over others,Ã¢â‚¬Â he adds. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But outcomes tell you almost nothing about the laws that govern the universe.Ã¢â‚¬Â For physicists it is the laws of nature themselves that capture and structure the universeÃ¢â‚¬â€and put brakes on it as well.