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Replies: 8   Last Post: Apr 11, 2013 11:38 AM

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Pentcho Valev

Posts: 5,003
Registered: 12/13/04
Posted: Apr 9, 2013 5:26 PM
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Bingo the Iconoclast:
"String theorist Brian Greene has grown from maths prodigy to physics iconoclast. Now he hopes to prove a grand theory of everything. (...) Asked to name his scientific hero, he picks Albert Einstein, along with Edward Witten, a Princeton physicist. At the start of the 20th century, Einstein overturned the principles of physics by rejecting Isaac Newton's theory of gravity because it conflicted with his discovery that nothing travels faster than the speed of light. "So many of us," Greene says, "revere [Einstein], but it needs to be said - because I've seen it reported in an odd way - that we don't revere Einstein like some gurus of New Age cults may be revered, or some religious leaders. We are constantly critical of everyone's contributions, even Witten's. We look at a given paper, we bang it around, knock it, try to break it." The same goes for string theory, which could turn out to be completely wrong. "It's a highly speculative subject, but I don't shrink from that," he says. "If you ask me: 'Do I believe in string theory?' The answer is: no, I don't."

Bingo the Einsteiniano exercises himself in crimestop:
Brian Greene: "In the early part of the 20th century, however, Albert Einstein saw through nature's Newtonian facade and revealed that the passage of time depends on circumstance and environment. He showed that the wristwatches worn by two individuals moving relative to one another, or experiencing different gravitational fields, tick off time at different rates. The passage of time, according to Einstein, is in the eye of the beholder. (...) Rudolf Carnap, the philosopher, recounts Einstein's telling him that "the experience of the now means something special for man, something essentially different from the past and the future, but this important difference does not and cannot occur within physics." And later, in a condolence letter to the widow of Michele Besso, his longtime friend and fellow physicist, Einstein wrote: "In quitting this strange world he has once again preceded me by just a little. That doesn't mean anything. For we convinced physicists the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however persistent." (...) Now, however, modern physics' notion of time is clearly at odds with the one most of us have internalized. Einstein greeted the failure of science to confirm the familiar experience of time with "painful but inevitable resignation." The developments since his era have only widened the disparity between common experience and scientific knowledge. Most physicists cope with this disparity by compartmentalizing: there's time as understood scientifically, and then there's time as experienced intuitively. For decades, I've struggled to bring my experience closer to my understanding. In my everyday routines, I delight in what I know is the individual's power, however imperceptible, to affect time's passage. In my mind's eye, I often conjure a kaleidoscopic image of time in which, with every step, I further fracture Newton's pristine and uniform conception. And in moments of loss I've taken comfort from the knowledge that all events exist eternally in the expanse of space and time, with the partition into past, present and future being a useful but subjective organization."
George Orwell: "He set to work to exercise himself in crimestop. He presented himself with propositions - "the Party says the earth is flat", "the party says that ice is heavier than water" - and trained himself in not seeing or not understanding the arguments that contradicted them. It was not easy. It needed great powers of reasoning and improvisation. The arithmetical problems raised, for instance, by such a statement as "two and two make five" were beyond his intellectual grasp. It needed also a sort of athleticism of mind, an ability at one moment to make the most delicate use of logic and at the next to be unconscious of the crudest logical errors. Stupidity was as necessary as intelligence, and as difficult to attain."

Pentcho Valev

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