Saturday, February 13, 2010

Physics Quote of the Day (February 7 - February 13)

"I had one experience which gave me some slant on the way large organizations run. I was not allowed to take spherical trigonometry because I'd sprained my ankle. Because I'd sprained my ankle I had an incomplete in gym, phys ed. And the rule was that if you had an incomplete in anything, you were not allowed to take an overload. I argued with some clerical person in the administration office, and was stopped there. It's an experience which I've remembered since, and advised people not to be stopped at the first point." William Shockley, born 13 February 1910.

"I also have a secret fear that new generations may not necessarily have the opportunity to become familiar with dissident ideas." Julian Schwinger, born 12 February 1918.

"A man's clarity of judgment is never very good when you're involved, and as you grow older, and as you grow more involved, your clarity of judgment suffers." Leó Szilárd, born 11 February 1898.

"One has to stress once again, that the mechanical world view and psychophysical interpretation accompanying it are based not on the instructions of the philosophizing mind, but on the clear and accurate facts discovered by experiment and observation; and in the cases of noncorrespondence (very rare, fortunately) between the requirements of the mind and the facts, reason must adjust to the facts, and not vice versa." Yakov Frenkel, born 10 February 1894.

"Physicists are more like avant-garde composers, willing to bend traditional rules and brush the edge of acceptability in the search for solutions. Mathematicians are more like classical composers, typically working within a much tighter framework, reluctant to go to the next step until all previous ones have been established with due rigor. Each approach has its advantages as well as drawbacks; each provides a unique outlet for creative discovery. Like modern and classical music, it’s not that one approach is right and the other wrong – the methods one chooses to use are largely a matter of taste and training." Brian Greene, born 9 February 1963.

"I thought we should require physical determinations, and not abstract integrations. A pernicious taste begins to infiltrate, from which real science will suffer far more than it will progress, and it would be often better for the true physics if there were no mathematics in the world." Daniel Bernoulli, born 8 February 1700.

"I learned a lesson from this experience. I knew that wall clocks have such a temperature correction device since it can be seen. But I didn't associate it with wristwatches. This taught me to think matters through carefully, taking as many relevant elements into account as possible." Toshihide Maskawa, born 7 February 2010.

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