[FOUNTAIN]Patience brings truthIn 1908, Wassily Kandinsky threw down his brush and went for a walk because his work was not turning out well. When he returned to his workroom with a clear mind, a stunning drawing caught his eyes. The shape was unclear but it was a water painting drawn with only pure colors. When he pulled himself together, he realized it was his work turned sideways by mistake. This was the beginning of abstract painting.
There is an age-old question whether humans have pheromones. In 1995, Claus Wedekind of Bern University had women smell t-shirts soaked in men’s sweat. The result showed that women liked male scent genetically different from their own. They did not like the smell of a father or a brother. By this experiment, the existence of pheromones, useful for finding different genes in order to get genetically strong descendants, was confirmed.
The greatest works in the creative field, such as science and art, often start from an unexpected happening. A simple mistake was the start of abstract painting and a sweat-soaked t-shirts proved the existence of pheromones. The more a field requires creativeness, the more the discovery of a century could suffer from prejudice or cold treatment. A long period of waiting is necessary before a thing is acknowledged firmly as a truth.
Christiaan Huygens of the Netherlands introduced wave theory in 1678. However, he was suppressed by the hypothesis of Isaac Newton that ‘light is a particle.’ Challenging Newton was the same as committing scientific suicide. Huygens remained silent and it was more than a hundred years before Augustin Jean Fresnel of France proved that light does travel in waves.
Einstein spent hard times for three years after he published his theory of relativity. Due to World War I, his thesis did not even make it to England. It was good fortune for Einstein that Frank Dyson, the reputable British astronomer, showed interest in his work and supported his thesis. Einstein became a hero.
Recently, Professor Hwang Woo-suk team’s patient-specific cloned embryonic stem-cell research was caught in a furious debate. The Munhwa Broadcasting Co., which rashly tried to verify the results, confronted strong opposition from the public and apologized to citizens. Even an empirically- and experimentally-proved truth can be reversed like the flip of a hand in the field of science. If there is no contrary evidence with the current technology’s best efforts, it will remain a truth. That is why this is a field for experts. We need to be patient and wait. Huygens waited 137 years in his grave.
by Lee Chul-ho
The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.