Saturday, February 6, 2010

Physics Quote of the Day (January 31 - February 6)

"Is the surface of a planet really the right place for expanding technological civilization?" Gerard K. O'Neill, born 6 February 1927.

"The Nobel Prize is given as a personal award but it also honors the field of research in which I have worked and it also honors my students and colleagues. It is an indication that the world thinks the subject of the investigation of small things is an important one. Not only has this subject been long associated with the ideas of thinking men over the ages but its practical importance is attested to by the huge resources of men and material thrown into this type of work. " Robert Hofstadter, born 5 February 1915.

"Historical contingency plays an essential role in the construction and selection of a successful scientific theory from among its observationally equivalent and unrefuted competitors. I argue that historical contingency, in the sense of the order in which events take place, can be an essential factor in determining which of the two empirically adequate and fruitful, but observationally equivalent, scientific theories is accepted by the scientific community." James T. Cushing, born 4 February 1937.

"A thorough and careful training in physics is of fundamental importance for the development of the engineer." Paul Scherrer, born 3 February 1890.

"The future development of physics will lead probably to much which is not yet known. New phenomena will be discovered and solutions will be found for problems which at the moment defy our attempts to solve them." Hendrik Kramers, born 2 February 1894.

"The mathematical framework of quantum theory has passed countless successful tests and is now universally accepted as a consistent and accurate description of all atomic phenomena. The verbal interpretation, on the other hand – i.e., the metaphysics of quantum theory – is on far less solid ground. In fact, in more than forty years physicists have not been able to provide a clear metaphysical model." Fritjof Capra, born 1 February 1939.

"To me, [it's] extremely interesting that men, perfectly honest, enthusiastic over their work, can so completely fool themselves." Irving Langmuir, born 31 January 1881.

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