Saturday, December 26, 2009

Physics Quote of the Day (December 20 - December 26)

"If we look at the fact, we shall find that the great inventions of the age are not, with us at least, always produced in universities." Charles Babbage, born 26 December 1791.

"The light microscope opened the first gate to microcosm. The electron microscope opened the second gate to microcosm. What will we find opening the third gate?" Ernst Ruska, born 25 December 1906.

"My object has been, first to discover correct principles and then to suggest their practical development." James Prescott Joule, born 24 December 1818.

"You cannot possess the truth, you can only search for it." Albert Jacquard, born 23 December 1925.

"This fact, that all charges are integral multiples of a fundamental unit, is still one of the unexplained puzzles of fundamental physics. It does not in any way contradict electromagnetic theory, but it is not predicted by it, and until we have a more fundamental theory that explains it, we shall not feel that we really understand electromagnetic phenomena thoroughly. Presumably its explanation will not come until we understand quantum theory more thoroughly than we do at present." John Clarke Slater, born 22 December 1900.

"A surprising number of physicists are into mountain hiking, and the combination of strenuous physical activity, fresh mountain air and breathtaking views of the Alps is useful to physicists because it is such a contrast to sitting at a table doing calculations." Cecile DeWitt Morette, born 21 December 1922.

"Of course, we must avoid postulating a new element for each new phenomenon. But an equally serious mistake is to admit into the theory only those elements which can now be observed. For the purpose of a theory is not only to correlate the results of observations that we already know how to make, but also to suggest the need for new kinds of observations and to predict their results. In fact, the better a theory is able to suggest the need for new kinds of observations and to predict their results correctly, the more confidence we have that this theory is likely to be good representation of the actual properties of matter and not simply an empirical system especially chosen in such a way as to correlate a group of already known facts." David Bohm, born 20 December 1917.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Physics Quote of the Day (December 13 - December 19)

"It appears, from all that precedes, reasonably certain that if there be any relative motion between the earth and the luminiferous ether, it must be small; quite small enough entirely to refute Fresnel's explanation of aberration." Albert Abraham Michelson, born 19 December 1852.

"The electron: may it never be of any use to anybody!" J. J. Thomson, born 18 December 1856.

"Nothing is so fatal to the progress of the human mind as to suppose that our views of science are ultimate; that there are no mysteries in nature; that our triumphs are complete, and that there are no new worlds to conquer." Humphry Davy, born 17 December 1778.

"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong." Arthur C. Clarke, born 16 December 1917.

"There is no such thing as a unique scientific vision, any more than there is a unique poetic vision. Science is a mosaic of partial and conflicting visions. But there is one common element in these visions. The common element is rebellion against the restrictions imposed by the locally prevailing culture,..." Freeman Dyson, born 15 December 1923.

"... the end of fundamental physics is nowhere in sight." Giovanni Amelino-Camelia, born 14 December 1965.

"It is seen as the application of a systematic “scientific method” involving wearing a white coat and being dull. I feel that too many young people come into science with this view, and that too many fields degenerate into the kind of work which results: automatic crank-turning and data-collecting of the sort which Kuhn calls “normal science” and Rutherford “stamp-collecting”. In fact, the creation of new science is a creative act, literally, and people who are not creative are not very good at it." Philip Warren Anderson, born 13 December 1923.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Physics Quote of the Day (December 6 - December 12)

"Innovation is everything. When you're on the forefront, you can see what the next innovation needs to be. When you're behind, you have to spend your energy catching up." Robert Noyce, born 12 December 1927.

"I am now convinced that theoretical physics is actually philosophy. It has revolutionized fundamental concepts, e.g., abut space and time (relativity), about causality (quantum theory), and about substance and matter (atomistics). It has taught us new methods of thinking (complimentarity), which are applicable far beyond physics." Max Born, born 11 December 1882.

"Mathematics is the science of what is clear by itself." Gustav Jacobi, born 10 December 1804.

"While science and technology play critical roles in sustaining modern civilization, they are not part of our culture in the sense that they are not commonly studied or well comprehended. Neither the potential nor the limitations of science are understood so that what can be achieved and what is beyond reach are not comprehended. The line between science and magic becomes blurred so that public judgments on technical issues can be erratic or badly flawed. It frequently appears that some people will believe almost anything. Thus judgments can be manipulated or warped by unscrupulous groups. Distortions or outright falsehoods can come to be accepted as fact." Henry Way Kendall, born 9 December 1926.

"Perhaps our ultimate understanding of scientific topics is measured in terms of our ability to generate metaphoric pictures of what is going on. Maybe understanding is coming up with metaphoric pictures." Per Bak, born 8 December 1948.

"God made the integers, all the rest is the work of man." Leopold Kronecker, born 7 December 1823.

"Science is, on the whole, an informal activity, a life of shirt sleeves and coffee served in beakers." George Porter, born 6 December 1920.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Physics Quote of the Day (November 29 - December 5)

"We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning." Werner Heisenberg, born 5 December 1901.

"... elegant generalization is mathematically very appealing; but physics means facing facts. You should take up case by case." K. S. Krishnan, born 4 December 1898.

"I may be a minority of one in advocating that one should NOT separate science and politics—partly because I am old enough to remember the Weimar Republic before 1934 ..." Edwin Salpeter, born 3 December 1924.

"one of my complaints is that you've got far more scientists than ever before but the pace of discovery has not increased. Why? Because they're all busy just filling in the details of what they think is the standard story. And the youngsters, the people with different ideas have just as big a fight as ever and normally it takes decades for science to correct itself. But science does correct itself and that's the reason why science is such a glorious thing for our species." Nigel Calder, born 2 December 1931.

"There is no branch of mathematics, however abstract, which may not some day be applied to phenomena of the real world." Nikolai Lobachevsky, born 1 December 1792.

"As the Knowledge of Nature tends to enlarge the human Mind, and give us more noble, more grand, and exalted Ideas of the AUTHOR of Nature, and if well pursu'd, seldom fails producing something useful to Man." Ebenezer Kinnersley, born 30 November 1711.

"There have been applied sciences throughout the ages. ... However this so-called practice was not much more than paper in nearly all of these cases, and the various applied sciences were only lacking a bagatelle, namely proper scientific practice. The applied sciences show the application of theoretic doctrines in existing events; but that is precisely what it does, it merely shows. Whereas the scientific practice autonomously puts to use these theories." Christian Doppler, born 29 November 1803.