My friend, physicist Claudio Mendoza wrote an article in El Nacional last Wednesday, entitled “Critical mass”, in which in a very pedagogical fashion and linking it to the play Copenhagen, currently being shown in Caracas, Claudio, who won the Polar Science award a few years ago, describes what critical mass is, how the German nuclear project failed to see that using an isotope of Uranium would make a bomb possible and how the bomb was made to work. He also describes how the number of centrifuges a country uses can give indications if it is embarking on a plan to make a bomb or not. I note that Claudio just signed the article as Claudio Mendoza, without indicating where he works.
In closing, Claudio, who has a fine sense of humor and irony says, adding a peaceful tone:
“Do we really want to survive? We are terrified at the intransigence of countries who decidedly want to sneak in (into the Nuclear Club): North Korea, Iran and now our dear Venezuela. But in our case there is something that gives us some sense of tranquility: the revolutionary scorn for experts. Here we build bridges without engineers, we make diagnoses without doctors, refine oil without oil engineers, we educate without being teachers, and we govern without being statesmen.
Will we then exploit nuclear energy obviating physicists”
To everyone’s surprise, on Sunday, a paid ad (“communique” in local official speak) appeared in a newspaper different than the one in which Claudio’s opinion piece appeared, signed by the Board of Directors of Venezuela’s premier scientific institution IVIC, which thanks to the strange technology used by some local papers to publish their internet editions, you can read in Spanish here, and says:
“The Board of Directors of IVIC, upon learning about the opinion article published in El Nacional on September 13th. 2006, page A8, under the title “Critical Mass”, signed by citizen Claudio Mendoza, considers it opportune to express its concerns for the concepts contained in it and points out the following:
–In the article, statements are made in relation with nuclear activities in the country that supposedly could be being carried out in the country that have no foundation on proven facts.
–The person signing the article is a researcher at the Physics Department of IVIC and as such he should know that to give an opinion on topics as delicate as the use of nuclear energy, he should have the specialized knowledge on the matter. Especially in fulfilling the fundamentals of professional ethics as to not affirming things that have no support on facts.
–We need to emphasize that according to Article 28, section 2 of the Law that created IVIC, acting in this way could affect the institutional credibility and interest of IVIC, since within it peaceful uses of nuclear energy are developed through the Nuclear Technology Department, the PEGAMMA plant, Sanitary Radio physics, nuclear engineering and calibration and dosimetry, ion which highly qualified and specialized personnel works on nuclear matters and its peaceful applications, besides IVIC having a Commission of Nuclear Safety.
–Similarly, we must note that this way of acting on the part of the person signing the article, not only questions the institution where he works, but also the country, since it attempt to make it seem as if our Nation is involved in activities that could entail great damages to the security of the State, which we find unacceptable as a way of behaving.
Thus, because of the above, we make it known to public opinion; our total rejection for the unfounded and irresponsible statements made y that researcher of IVIC.”
Jeez, where do I start to laugh at this overreaction by a bunch of humorless bureaucrats of this silly revolution
—Aren’t they the same ones that prohibited a researcher from talking to the press about her conclusions on increased levels of anemia in young children in the northern states of the plains?
—Aren’t they the same ones who collaborated with the infamous audit of the Electoral Registry by including Anthropologists, Sociologists and low level people from the Physics Department with no relevant acadmic connection to the problem, but bypassed the Math department? What were their “ethical” reasons for this and what “specialized” knowledge or academic qualifications did this people have over the Statisticians from the Math Department, if any at all? Wouldn’t “ethics” have indicated not participating in the audit, instead of sending a team that simply followed and supported the ideology of the regime?
—-Why attempt to disqualify Dr. Mendoza, who has a Ph.D. in Physics while exalting the qualifications of the personnel of the Nuclear Departments, none of which even have a Ph.D. or any academic recognition in their fields?
—-Isn’t the paid communiqué, besides being a waste of money, an attempt to intimidate Claudio Mendoza and others within the IVIC community who may dare speak publicly against the Government or official scientific policy (If any)?
—–Are these guys so arrogant to think that the Government would actually tell them what Chavez’; nuclear plans are? Thie loyalty does not guarantee reciprocity on Chavez’ part. Do they really belive they know everything that happens in science and technology or will be privy to it?
—–Finally, I can’t help but see and overreaction in the communiqué, which indicates to me that maybe there is more to the whole thing that even Claudio knows or suggests. In fact, I ahve yet to hear these lackeys of the autocrat complain when our illustrious President has already involved our country with “activities” that represent a danger to our Nation, be it its relationship with the FARC, Syria, Saddam Hussein or the hero’s welcome and outright support to the President of Iran or the way he has divided Venezuelans into two camps as if there were a religious war?
Who do they think they are kidding?
Why the thin skin?
As the spanish saying goes “El que se pica es porque aji come” (If it burns, maybe you are eating hot peppers or in Latin, stolen from the comments:Excusatio non petita, acusatio manifesta.)