All of us at the BSR are graduate students. We toil, we work late into the night, and we complain a lot. But one of the perks of graduate student life is getting to hear world-famous scientists say some very bizarre things. Here’s a sample of what some  of our staff heard while attending recent colloquia:

“The question is whether information can be transmitted faster than light, for example by telepathy. The answer is of course we don’t know… I think telepathy very likely does exist, but all the evidence for it is anecdotal, and certainly says nothing about the speed of its propagation.”

Freeman Dyson
Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
Author of Infinite in All Directions
March 7, 2001


“What is the analogy to the church that persecuted Galileo? It’s not the Roman Catholic church of our time. It’s the National Academy of  Sciences. They’re in the position of those Aristotelian professors and  cardinals. The college of cardinals is in Washington, DC.”

Phillip E. Johnson
Professor Emeritus, Boalt College of Law, UC Berkeley
Author of Darwin on Trial
March 15, 2001


“Graduate students are the pluripotent stem cells of biology. Faculty are…well, basically terminally differentiated…the only options left for them are apoptosis and necrosis.”

Roger Tsien
Professor of Pharmacology and of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD
March 20, 2001


“We have lunatics and idiots in Britain too, but they don’t get into power.”

Richard Dawkins
Author of The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker
April 4, 2001