Who: Dr. Robert Kaita
Where: Princeton University
What: Experimental Plasma Physics with research in fusion energy
One thing I find particularly intriguing is how people's presuppositions restrict or make them choose particular methodologies in one area and not another. This would apply for example in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence in saying what is a real signal versus what it is background noise, or in anthropology as to whether something was produced by random processes or really designed as a tool. So I constantly deal with the causal relationship between a particular observation and the driver behind it.
There was one fellow in particular who came to me who was commonly adamant about ridiculing "holy rollers." Well, a Christian was particularly kind to him one time while his family was away. As a result, he came to talk to me since he knew I was a Christian as well; he wanted to figure out what this Christianity was all about. This fellow physicist said, "Look, I don't want to hear about the logic. I don't want to hear about these fancy arguments or whatever. I just want to hear about meaning and purpose." There are certain things you need to do just to level the playing field, but down under we are all cut of the same cloth-we are all sinners in need of redemption.