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A second, possibly less obvious reason is that writers and composers intend to create works that “speak”, that say something – even if, as in the case of music, we cannot express in words what it is they want to say. A piece of software, on the other hand, is not written to be understood and felt, but to be used for practical purposes. The creator of a piece of software is much more hidden than a composer, because the purpose of the software is so different from that of a piece of music. Even in their writings, scientists mostly strive for an objective, even impersonal style. As Dijkstra put it: “Mathematical results are published quite openly and are taught quite explicitly; but how mathematics is done remains largely hidden. To publish besides the results the way (and the order!) in which they
were reached, to mention blind alleys as well, to mention whether the solution was found in three months or twenty minutes …


all this is regarded as “unscientific”, and therefore, “bad style”. (Just try to include such remarks in your next publication: if the referees don’t object to them, the editor will!)” (Dijkstra, 1975d)
This makes it extremely difficult to get a precise feeling for the individuals behind their work. Does it follow from this that the people behind technical sciences are uninteresting and unimportant? We doubt it. Therefore, we are looking for the individuals behind their work, not the “private person” with their more or less banal habits, but the creative individual, the “genius” acting behind the scientist’s work.


[Source: People behind Informatics, Laszlo Böszörmenyi and Stefan Podlipnig]




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