Pinnacle of scholarly work celebrated with new monograph

Posted on February 23, 2014

“Although online books and journals are now so easily accessible, there is still reason to celebrate the printed monograph. Research about the reading habits of academics across the globe shows that they still buy printed books to have on the book shelf and refer back to time and time again, despite the fact that they also read journal articles on a daily basis,” she said.

She added that, although both are important, one should distinguish between scholarship in the true sense and research.

“Scholarship refers to creative intellectual work, measured by the ability to think, communicate and learn. It is the ability to ask questions, to rethink what is taken as a given in a certain discipline.”

Prof Boeyens has indeed done just that in his latest book, mastering the art of true scholarship. Speaking about his book, he noted that the quantum theory is abused by people who are not well informed.

“Quantum theory is not easy to understand. But with all the haggling about its interpretation over the years, it has become a mystic discipline.”

Boeyens, who is only a few years younger than the quantum theory itself, said that he was very eager to understand the message that the theory conveyed during his early university studies. However, over the next forty years of studies, he started doubting the theory’s content.

“These doubts grew more serious, until I realised that we as scientists don’t know what we are doing,” he noted.

Therefore, he revisited the original documents, studying it intensively. What really bothered him, was the interpretation of the quantum theory – to him, certain aspects were simply illogical. At this point he decided to re-examine quantum chemistry, to determine if there is such a discipline at all. He found that the way in which quantum theory is applied to chemistry is mathematically irresponsible, that it is in fact not scientifically correct.

What resulted, was this latest monograph, in which he addresses all of these questions and challenges.

The book is sure to evoke many different opinions and debates, something that Prof Johan Engelbrecht, former Vice-Principal of UP, said Prof Boeyens will gladly face head-on. He described Prof Boeyens as a holistic scientist, a controversial figure, and emphasised his originality and braveness. “He speaks his mind and rushes in where others fear to tread,” Prof Engelbrecht pointed out.

Prof De la Rey emphasised that UP needs to see more monographs like that of Prof Boeyens published. “I am proud to be part of an institution with researchers of Prof Boeyens’ caliber,” she concluded.

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