Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stephen Hawking in China

Stephen Hawking Takes Beijing; Now, Will Science Follow?
Dr. Hawking's star turn, across the street from the large portrait of Mao Zedong, also had historic resonance. In the Cultural Revolution, Mao denounced Einstein and his work as reactionary and bourgeois. Groups of scientists and scholars were set up to criticize relativity because it appeared to collide with Marxist dogma that the universe was infinite and endless, eternally embroiled in a sort of cosmic class struggle.

History has buried those aspects of Marxist thought. Chinese leaders now are technocrats, not "cosmocrats," as Yinghong Cheng, a historian at Delaware State University who has studied the cultural revolution, put it.

They've certainly come a long way.


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