1 December 1998 Engineering a New Society
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In the fields of science and engineering you have to deal with what you have or what you can fabricate. Any math-ematical study that does not have some physical relevance is useless except as an object of calculational art–to be appreciated, but not used. As G. H. Hardy noted in A Mathematician’s Apology, ‘‘ ‘Imaginary’ universes are so much more beautiful than this stupidly constructed ‘real’ one; and most of the finest products of an applied math-ematician’s fancy must be rejected, as soon as they have been created, for the brutal but sufficient reason that they do not fit the facts.’’ The principle in this mathematics example applies to the serious feasibility design study be-ing done to combine OSA and SPIE into a unified society. When trying to combine these two strong, vigorous soci-eties in the field of optics, you cannot make the new or-ganization as streamlined as you might want. You have to deal with the history and current status of our societies. You have work with what’s available.
Donald C. O'Shea, "Engineering a New Society," Optical Engineering 37(12), (1 December 1998). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.602003

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