These forays into the real world sharpened his view that scientists needed the widest possible education. He used to say, “How can you design for people if you don’t know history and psychology? You can’t. Because your mathematical formulas may be perfect, but the people will screw it up. And if that happens, it means you screwed it up.” He peppered his lectures with quotations from Plato, Chaka Zulu, Emerson, and Chang-tzu. But as a professor who was popular with his students—and who advocated general education—Thorne found himself swimming against the tide. The academic world was marching toward ever more specialized knowledge, expressed in ever more dense jargon. In this climate, being liked by your students was a sign of shallowness; and interest in real-world problems was proof of intellectual poverty and a distressing indifference to theory.
Aim for brevity while avoiding jargon.