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It hardly raises an eyebrow when someone proclaims that physicists are an arrogant lot. The topic recurs periodically at the Physics Today lunch table and even was the subject of a February 2003 Opinion piece that J. Murray Gibson wrote for the magazine. Gibson took the arrogance of physicists as a given and often helpful quality, but he argued that it had its negative consequences as well.

I think I see where the notion of the arrogant physicist comes from. First of all, some high-profile physicists are undeniably arrogant. Physicists take pride in their work and think it is important. Perhaps most significantly, physicists tend to think that their scientific worldview, with its ideals of objectivity and empiricism, is superior to the alternatives.

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