Saturday, August 29, 2009

Physics Quote of the Day (August 23 - August 29)

"You need only a sheet of paper and so mathematics starts." Guido Beck, born 29 August 1903.

"Everything on earth has to function in harmony as a system, and it is only in such a system that humanity can flourish." M.G.K. Menon, born 28 August 1928.

"You have to get a little untrapped from too much prior knowledge." Norman Ramsey, born 27 August 1915.

"... equations that really work in describing nature with the most generality and the greatest simplicity are very elegant and subtle." Edward Witten, born 26 August 1951.

"Whenever I came to him (Fritz Sauter) with a pure physics idea, he would invariably say, with slight sarcasm: "But Mr. Kroemer, you ought to be able to formulate this mathematically! " If I came to him with a math formulation, I would get, in a similar tone: "But Mr. Kroemer, that is just math, what is the physics?" After a few encounters of this kind, you got the idea: You had to be able to go back and forth with ease. Yet, in the last analysis, concepts took priority over formalism, the latter was simply an (indispensable) means to an end." Herbert Kroemer, born 25 August 1928.

"... one of the most detrimental (and least discussed) effects of the crisis in science education in the world today is that we are creating a population increasingly unable to think skeptically about a wide range of issues." Andrew Fraknoi, born 24 August 1948.

"In science, conjecture drives both experiment and theory for it is only by forming conjectures (hypotheses) that we can make the direction of our experiments and theories informed. If such and such is true, then I should be able to do this experiment and look for this particular result or I should be able to find this theoretical formulation. Conversely, experiment and theory drive conjecture. One makes a startling observation or has a sudden insight and begins to speculate on its significance and implications and to draw possible conclusions (conjecture)." Robert Curl, born 23 August 1933.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Physics Quote of the Day (August 16 - August 22)

"Science doesn’t give authentically access to the Real in the ontological meaning of the word, but only to the links between phenomena." Bernard d'Espagnat, born 22 August 1921.

"... very often the laws derived by physicists from a large number of observations are not rigorous, but approximate." Augustin Louis Cauchy, born 21 August 1789.

"... mathematicians progress only by doubt, through humble and constant attempts to impinge on the immense domain of the unknown." Leopold Infeld, born 20 August 1898.

"Mathematical physics represents the purest image that the view of nature may generate in the human mind; this image presents all the character of the product of art;..." Théophile de Donder, born 19 August 1872.

"Acid rain is a short-hand term that covers a set of highly complex and controversial environmental problems. It is a subject in which emotive and political judgements tend to obscure the underlying scientific issues which are fairly easily stated but poorly understood." Basil John Mason, born 18 August 1923.

"... the progress of science still depends on "a few people of vision"." Lewis M. Branscomb, born 17 August 1926.

"For many things we can find substitutes, but there is not now, nor will there ever be, a substitute for creative thought." Crawford Greenewalt, born 16 August 1902.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Physics Quote of the Day (August 9 - August 15)

"It is proper to submit periodically to a very searching examination, principles that we have come to assume without any more discussion." Louis de Broglie, born 15 August 1892.

"The agreement of this law with nature will be better seen by the repetition of experiments than by a long explanation." Hans Christian Ørsted, born 14 August 1777.

"It is very difficult for us, placed as we have been from earliest childhood in a condition of training, to say what would have been our feelings had such training never taken place." George Gabriel Stokes, born 13 August 1819.

"I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us." Erwin Schrödinger, born 12 August 1887.

"I like teaching and the contact with young minds keeps one on one's toes." Aaron Klug, born 11 August 1926.

"There are many examples in physics showing that higher precision revealed new phenomena, inspired new ideas, or confirmed or dethroned well-established theories." Wolfgang Paul, born 10 August 1913.

"Theoretical chemistry is a peculiar subject. It is based on an equation that can hardly ever be solved." William Fowler, born 9 August 1911.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Physics Quote of the Day (August 2 - August 8)

"It seems clear that the present quantum mechanics is not in its final form." Paul Dirac, born 8 August 1902.

"The laws of classical mechanics represent a mathematical idealization and should not be assumed to correspond to the real laws of nature." Léon Brillouin, born 7 August 1889.

"You must develop one all-important ability—being able to enlist the help of other people. You have to reach a state where others want to help you. This includes giving credit...which will come back to you a hundredfold. Your reputation stems from what people say when you’re not present." Cecil H. Green, born 6 August 1900.

"We need to go back to the discovery, to posing a question, to having a hypothesis and having kids know that they can discover the answers and can peal away a layer." Shirley Jackson, born 5 August 1946.

"... an undercurrent of thought was going on in my mind which gave at last a result, whereof it is not too much to say that I felt at once the importance. An electric circuit seemed to close; and a spark flashed forth the herald (as I foresaw immediately) of many long years to come of definitely directed thought and work by myself, if spared, and, at all events, on the part of others if I should even be allowed to live long enough distinctly to communicate the discovery." William Rowan Hamilton, born 4 August 1805.

"Getting up any cliff is like a physics problem -- you just got to hold on, try everything, and stick with it." Marlan Scully, born 3 August 1939.

"Knowledge once gained casts a light beyond its own immediate boundaries." John Tyndall, born 2 August 1820.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Physics Quote of the Day (July 26 - August 1)

"If there's one thing to do, it's to engage in education." Georges Charpak, born 1 August 1924.

"... the physicist who states a law of nature with the aid of a mathematical formula is abstracting a real feature of a real material world, even if he has to speak of numbers, vectors, tensors, state-functions, or whatever to make the abstraction." Hilary Putnam, born 31 July 1926.

"In our time of ever-increasing specialization, there is a tendency to concern ourselves with relatively narrow scientific problems. The broad foundations of our present-day scientific knowledge and its historical development tend to be forgotten too often. This is an unfortunate trend, not only because our horizon becomes rather limited and our perspective somewhat distorted, but also because there are many valuable lessons to be learned in looking back over the years during which the basic concepts and the fundamental laws of a particular scientific discipline were first formulated." Emil Wolf, born 30 July 1922.

"I think physicists are the Peter Pans of the human race. They never grow up and they keep their curiosity." Isidor Rabi, born 29 July 1898.

"It's a fantastically specialized universe, but how in the world did it happen?" Charles Hard Townes, born 28 July 1915.

"In the hands of Science and indomitable energy, results the most gigantic and absorbing may be wrought out by skilful combinations of acknowledged data and the simplest means." George Airy, born 27 July 1801.

"Scientists need to exchange ideas in an informal place." Ronnie Kosloff, born 26 July 1948.