My second comment on the article This virus is a shot in the arm for science by David Aaronovitch in The Times, April 1 2020, which I posted today, April 5 2020.
The selection of characters and other elements of the story presented in this article, shows that the article is used as an opportunity to push cultural acceptability and respectability of Communism.
The idea is to present the ideology based on violence and its concomitant multiple methods of inflicting physical and social death to people classified as Other, as synonymous with progress, scientific advance and a positive intellectual adventure.
Both the author and Sir Paul Nurse know the context in which Sputnik appeared. They know that the Sputnik and Soviet military missile program are inseparable as parts of the same whole. They also know about millions of victims of Communism. My uncle Klemens Ostrowski Jr. was tortured by the Soviet henchmen in parallel to the early development of the Soviet space program. He was a young man then. Following torture he lost large part of his consciousness and memory. He was not even able to stand upright. His brain was so severely damaged by torture that he was not able to tell afterwards, where he was held and what has been done to him.
Scientists under Communism were not spared. Educational and scientific institutions were tightly controlled and were weaponised just like everything else.
In mid-1970s my mother’s cousin, an accomplished researcher in semiconductor physics in the Polish Academy of Science was driven out of his laboratory and out of the country. He was a person of integrity and unwilling to bow to ideology and thus the authorities decided to eliminate him.
To point to a by-product of this genocidal system as something positive is absolutely astonishing. And to have it published in the leading British paper is even more so.
I happen to know a great deal about Communist methods of social elimination. They are not thing of the past. My wife Małgorzata Głuchowska and I have been targeted as well. We were expelled from our jobs in 2015. My wife is a pianist and was a piano teacher in the State School of Music in Zielona Góra in Poland. I was an associate professor of Physics at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. These methods are alive and well, just like people using them. They deserve careful, critical examination.
Couple of years before being expelled I discovered a group of very interesting dynamic phenomena in driven nonlinear systems. I studied models of resonant neurons. I speculated that the phenomenon of anti-resonance in driven resonant neurons might be useful in explaining e.g. the beneficial effect of Deep Brain Stimulation procedure in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
So in the area of social, political and historical studies, there is plenty to be researched about Communism and its continued, albeit evolved existence.