Saturday, November 28, 2009

Physics Quote of the Day (November 22 - November 28)

"The relationship between science and the humanities is two-way. Science changes our view of the world and our place in it. In the other direction, the humanities provide the store of ideas and images and language available to us in understanding the world. The exploding star of A.D. 1054, the Crab Nebula, was sighted and documented by the Chinese, but nowhere mentioned in the West, where the Aristotelian notion of the immortality of stars still held sway. We often do not see what we do not expect to see." Alan Lightman, born 28 November 1948.

"It's unnecessary to introduce magic into the explanation of physical and biological phenomenon when in fact there is every likelihood that the continuation of research as it is now practiced will indeed fill all the gaps..." John Maddox, born 27 November 1925.

"Physics is at present a mass of partial theories which no man has yet been able to render truly and clearly consistent. It has been well said that the modern physicist is a quantum theorist on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and a student of gravitational relativity theory on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. On Sunday he is praying. . . that someone will find the reconciliation between the two views." Norbert Wiener, born 26 November 1894.

"Nature has put itself the problem of how to catch in flight light streaming to the Earth and to store the most elusive of all powers in rigid form. The plants take in one form of power, light; and produce another power, chemical difference." Julius Robert von Mayer, born 25 November 1814.

"Above all, it's creative thinking that lies at the basis of discoveries. You must dare to think differently, see things from different sides, in order to come across fortuitous new ideas frequently. You should develop even the most stupid ideas and when you do this systematically, there will always come something useful out of it." Simon van der Meer, born 24 November 1925.

"Every object in the Universe with a temperature above absolute zero radiates in the infrared, so this part of the spectrum contains a great deal of information." Frank J. Low, born 23 November 1933.

"... in science, we often have predecessors much further back in time than we think a priori." Louis Néel, born 22 November 1904.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Physics Quote of the Day (November 15 - November 21)

"A single part of physics occupies the lives of many men, and often leaves them dying in uncertainty." Voltaire, born 21 November 1694.

"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science." Edwin Hubble, born 20 November 1889.

"The difficulty, as in all this work, is to find a notation which is both concise and intelligible to at least two people of whom one may be the author." Paul Matthews, born 19 November 1919.

"A physicist must be able to saw with a file and to file with a saw." August Kundt, born 18 November 1839.

"In science, it is not speed that is the most important. It is the dedication, the commitment, the interest and the will to know something and to understand it — these are the things that come first." Eugene Wigner, born 17 November 1902.

"Nothing is more incontestable than the existence of our sensations;" Jean le Rond d'Alembert, born 16 November 1717.

"Here is truly a Hole in Heaven." William Herschel, born 15 November 1738.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Physics Quote of the Day (November 8 - November 14)

"You can forget facts but you cannot forget understanding !" Eric Mazur, born 14 November 1954.

"Facts are more mundane than fantasies, but a better basis for conclusions." Amory Lovins, born 13 November 1947.

"... a young author who believes himself capable of great things would usually do well to secure the favourable recognition of the scientific world by work whose scope is limited, and whose value is easily judged, before embarking upon higher flights." John Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, born 12 November 1842.

"As an analogy one can imagine an intelligent amoeba with a good memory. As time progresses the amoeba is constantly splitting, each time the resulting amoebas having the same memories as the parent. Our amoeba hence does not have a life line, but a life tree." Hugh Everett, born 11 November 1930.

"It is a fantastic letter. Very understated. He calls it an optical maser, it’s as if a maser was made to run in the optical. No flamboyant phrase, just straightforward science." Peter Franken, born 10 November 1928.

"Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere." Carl Sagan, born 9 November 1934.

"... electronics is a fascinating field that I continue to find fulfilling. The field is still growing rapidly, and the opportunities that are ahead are at least as great as they were when I graduated from college. My advice is to get involved and get started." Jack Kilby, born 8 November 1923.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Physics Quote of the Day (November 1 - November 7)

"Humanity needs practical men, who get the most out of their work, and, without forgetting the general good, safeguard their own interests. But humanity also needs dreamers, for whom the disinterested development of an enterprise is so captivating that it becomes impossible for them to devote their care to their own material profit. Without doubt, these dreamers do not deserve wealth, because they do not desire it. Even so, a well-organized society should assure to such workers the efficient means of accomplishing their task, in a life freed from material care and freely consecrated to research." Marie Curie, born 7 November 1867.

"A patent is a legal analog of sticky fly paper: it attracts some of the lowest forms of life." David L. Webster, born 6 November 1888.

"In scientific thought we adopt the simplest theory which will explain all the facts under consideration and enable us to predict new facts of the same kind. The catch in this criterion lies in the world "simplest." It is really an aesthetic canon such as we find implicit in our criticisms of poetry or painting. The layman finds such a law as dx/dt = K(d²x/dy²) much less simple than "it oozes," of which it is the mathematical statement. The physicist reverses this judgment, and his statement is certainly the more fruitful of the two, so far as prediction is concerned. It is, however, a statement about something very unfamiliar to the plainman, namely, the rate of change of a rate of change." John Burdon Haldane, born 5 November 1892.

"If you really look at it, I was trying to sell a dream ... There was very little I could put in concrete to tell these people it was really real." Charles K. Kao, born 4 November 1933.

"It is electromagnetism (EM) in all its many forms that has been so basic, that haunts us and guides us." Nick Holonyak, born 3 November 1928.

"The beauty of physics lies in the extent to which seemingly complex and unrelated phenomena can be explained and correlated through a high level of abstraction by a set of laws which are amazing in their simplicity." Melvin Schwartz, born 2 November 1932.

"... real understanding of a thing comes from taking it apart oneself, not reading about it in a book or hearing about it in a classroom. To this day I always insist on working out a problem from the beginning without reading up on it first, a habit that sometimes gets me into trouble but just as often helps me see things my predecessors have missed." Robert B. Laughlin, born 1 November 1950.