Friday, April 15, 2011

Good News Friday: Euler, WISE, and Uncertainty

Spent some unexpected Emergency room time last night with a family member (nothing serious, just a cracked eye bone) so now at noon I feel like it's dawn given my morning nap. Lots to get done today so Blogging must take a rest. However I did get some good news on my blogger feed, and I'll leave you with a quote on Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle.

First, the WISE infrared Astronomy data has been released, well 57% of it, with some breathtaking beautiful astroppics. Phil Plait gives the dibs at Bad Astronomy here.

Prof. Dave Richeson has some good news re Leonhard Euler on this his 304th Birthday anniversary. Read all about it at Division by Zero here.

Finally I came across a very nice quote re Uncertainty, picture above. This was made by future Nobel laureate and Harvard physicist Percy Bridgman, who wrote the rather prescient quote with which we end this blogpost, in 1929:

This imagined beyond which the scientist has proved he cannot penetrate, will become the playground of the imagination of every mystic and dreamer. The existence of such a domain will be the basis of an orgy of rationalizing. It will be made the substance of the soul; the spirits of the dead will populate it; God will lurk in its shadows; the principle of vital processes will have its seat here; and it will be the medium of telepathic communication. One group will find in the failure of the physical law of cause and effect the solution of the age-long problem of the freedom of the will; and on the other hand the atheist will find the justification of his contention that chance rules the universe.

Since thought will conform to reality, understanding and conquest of the world will proceed at an accelerating pace. I venture to think there will also be a favorable effect on man's character; the mean man will react with pessimism, but a certain courageous nobility is needed to look at a situation like this in the face. And in the end, when man has fully partaken of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, there will be this difference between the first Eden and the last, that man will not become a god, but will remain forever humble.

From The Great Equations by Robert Crease

UPDATE: Just saw this, Jousting on Segways, on Cocktail Party Physics. Why do we joust on Segways? because we can.

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