Sunday, October 5, 2014

Couple of Physicists' Views

Sunday thoughts on science...:

"Science in its everyday practice is much closer to art than to philosophy. When I look at Gödel's proof of his undecidability theorem, I do not see a philosophical argument. The proof is a soaring piece of architecture, as unique and as lovely as a Chartres cathedral. The proof destroyed Hilbert's dream of reducing all mathematics to a few equations, and replaced it with a greater dream of mathematics as an endlessly growing realm of ideas."
-- Freeman Dyson in "Nature's Imagination"

...and from another physicist, a related view:

"…to sum up, science is not about data; it's not about the empirical content, about our vision of the world. It's about overcoming our own ideas and continually going beyond common sense. Science is a continual challenging of common sense, and the core of science is not certainty, it's continual uncertainty -- I would even say, the joy of being aware that in everything we think, there are probably still an enormous amount of prejudices and mistakes, and trying to learn to look a little bit beyond, knowing that there's always a larger point of view to be expected in the future."
-- physicist Carlo Rovelli in "The Universe" edited by John Brockman

or, just perhaps, Richard Feynman summed it up succinctly ;-):

"Physics is like sex: Sure, it may give some practical results but that’s not why we do it.”

[…If you have a favorite math-related passage that might make a nice Sunday morning reflection here let me know ( If I use one submitted by a reader, I'll cite the contributor.]

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