A Tribute to Lester (Hank) Talkington

by Lloyd Motz, Astronomy (Emeritus), Columbia University

THE FIRST ISSUE OF Science and Nature, which grew out of the collaborative efforts of Lester Talkington, Hyman Cohen, and myself, appeared in the fall of 1978. We three had started a discussion group, the Dialectical Workshop, and as the project grew, with the participation of increasing numbers of scientists, and philosophers and historians of science, the idea of a journal became ever more attractive to Talkington and Cohen. Knowing, as an author and subscriber to various scientific journals, how difficult and costly it is to start a new journal in this area, I was hesitant about the idea although I agreed with them that such a journal was desirable. So persuasive was Talkington, however, that I overcame my skepticism and went along with my two colleagues. Science and Nature was thus born, with the three of us as its editorial committee.

If I had known then Talkington’s remarkable talents and dedication to our, initially meager, publication project, I should have cast aside all doubt and accepted the inevitable success of the journal. By the time of its third issue Science and Nature had received international recognition and acquired an editorial committee of fifteen known scholars; its list of contributors was global, including outstanding scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers. All of this stemmed from Talkington’s efforts and his own financial resources. At no point in the development of this journal did Hank doubt that any issue he was planning would appear, and each issue, with increasing richness, did appear exactly as he had planned it.

How tragic it is, then, that our beloved and self-sacrificing editor was seriously injured in an automobile accident on November 2,1988 and, after a valiant struggle to survive, died in Nyack Hospital on February 3, 1989. This issue of Science and Nature is, thus, necessarily incomplete, but, even so, it is a beautiful example of Talkington’s remarkable ability to enrich an issue, not only by his excellent editing, but also by his written contributions. In this issue his paper "On Contradictions within Scientific Knowledge" presents an analysis of the contradiction between the subjective and objective aspects of knowledge suggesting that this contradiction can be resolved, or, at least, understood by a historical materialist approach. Whether we agree or not, we are stimulated and provoked by papers of this caliber. This should be the role of journals such as Science and Nature, for they must be the conscience of the scientific community. That our journal has been such is a great tribute to Talkington’s genius.

Hank Talkington: Visionary, Revolutionary Page 1

SOURCE: Motz, Lloyd. "A Tribute to Lester (Hank) Talkington", Science and Nature, Nos. 9/10, 1989, p. 1.

Science and Nature, Table of Contents, issues #1-10 (1978-1989)

Home Page | Site Map | What's New | Coming Attractions | Book News
Bibliography | Mini-Bibliographies | Study Guides
My Writings
| Other Authors' Texts | Philosophical Quotations
Images & Sounds | External Links

CONTACT Ralph Dumain

Sign Registry View Registry

Uploaded 30 October 2001

Site © 1999-2006 Ralph Dumain