Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Uncertainty

I teach Physics as an adjunct at a "local" technical college. Last night I showed 2.5 minutes of a video in which Newtonian gravitation is maligned in favor of Einstein's bending space.
 
Of course I am teaching Newtonian Physics. It called to mind a recent quote I had never read before which I found at the Northeast Catholic Student Blog:

...Werner Heisenberg, who begins his work by saying: “Science is made by men, a self-evident fact that is far too often forgotten.
 
It is an interesting quote, especially noting (ironically) it is by the author of the Uncertainty Principle - (that a particle's position and momentum can not known be simultaneously-or that the more closely you know the position, the less accurately you know the momentum.)
 
In any event, what followed in the last lecture of the semester, was the most interesting one as we discussed how scientific theories, even accepted ones, change as we acquire new knowledge; going through Ptolemy to Copernicus and Galileo, etc.
 
Oremus pro invicem!

2 comments:

Charlie said...

Heisenberg's real impact was putting to death the idea that humanity could know it all. As you learn more about the universe, it becomes more mysterious instead of less mysterious. A brilliant recent example would be the LHC and the search for the "God particle" that has yielded evidence of even more particles never imagined.

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/06/30/why-the-new-particles-discovered-at-the-large-hadron-collider-change-everything-nothing/

Regardless, we need Newton to get practical stuff done.

Jim Curley said...

So true.