Re: The socks have it
"A true boffin would also be totally mystified by the inability of us ordinary folk to follow their descriptions and train of thought."
"pete 2, Alas the same applies to politicians and management 'consultants'"
I have to disagree with this -- those people not only are not mystified, they know full well their own existence depends on ordinary folk not understanding what they say. Your true boffin actually really does think he is being clear and simplifying by describing the motion of a floor buffer in terms of rotating force tensors, e.g.
And that leads me to a couple rules I'd like to see in the Pyke scale --
1. There must be some characteristic of tuning out the real world either transiently or permanently, but not enough to be actually scary. i.e. Norbert Weiner, asking what direction he had been walking when he stopped to talk to you and being told the answer saying, "Thanks, then I guess I've already eaten." was a boffin.
2. Things boffins do are for the glory of boffinry, not to become rich by selling to rubes. Woz could be a boffin, Jobs never. Goddard maybe, Musk no, not really. Edison no, Tesla yes and no.
I think there needs to be a big dash of enthusiasm, also. Simple putterers aren't really boffins, no matter how smart or clever.