Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Universe and Dr. Einstein (2)

Lincoln Barnett
New York: Time Inc. Book Division
1957 (1948)

Ideas and Quotes to Discuss
"From the outset, he [Barnett] realized he could not proceed at once to Princeton to interview Dr. Einstein, for he did not have the faintest notion of what questions to ask...." Editors of Time.

"...began to read everything he could find on Einstein and relativity." Editors of Time.

"In the midst of his researches, he began going to Princeton--not to see Einstein, but to see others who could prepare him to see Einstein." Editors of Time.

"The daring nature of Einstein's concepts, the revolution they had wrought in the entire structure of physical and philosophical thought, the radical way in which they had redesigned the architecture of the universe--all this somehow had to be communicated to a wider audience." Editors of Time.

"There are two reasons for writing a book on science for the general public.... First...is to further man's understanding of the universe he lives in, whatever his background or education. Second is to encourage young people to study science by giving them a better appreciation of its importance and implications." Glenn T. Seaborg.

"In accepting a mathematical description of nature, physicists have been forced to abandon the ordinary world of experience, the world of sense perception."

"Questions involving the relationship between observer and reality, subject and object, have haunted philosophical thinkers since the dawn of reason."

"It is the mathematical orthodoxy of the universe that enables theorists like Einstein to predict and discover natural laws simply by the solution of equations."

"...the equations of quantum physics define more accurately than any mechanical model the fundamental phenomena beyond the range of vision...."

"Equations work, as the calculations which hatched the atomic bomb spectacularly proved."

"Nothing can ever move faster than light, no matter what forces are applied."

"...we can't feel our motion through space; nor has any physical experiment ever proved that the earth actually is in motion."

"Motion is a relative state...unless there is some system of reference to which it may be compared...."

"If matter sheds its mass and travels with the speed of light, we call it radiation or energy; and conversely, if energy congeals and takes on a different form, we call it matter.... Since July 16, 1945, man has been able to transform one into the other.... On that night at Alamogordo, New Mexico, man, for the first time transmuted a substantial quantity of matter into the light, heat, sound and motion which we call energy."

"In the Einstein universe there are no straight lines, there are only great circles.... Like most of the concepts of modern science, Einstein's finite spherical universe cannot be visualized.... Its properties can be described mathematically."

Einstein: "My religion...consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself into the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. ...deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God."

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