Sunday, January 27, 2013

Quote of the Week... from Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin’s book, A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down:
One of the greatest disservices we do to our students is to teach them that universal physical law is something that obviously ought to be true and thus may be legitimately learned by rote. This is terrible on many levels, the worst probably being the missed lesson that meaningful things have to be fought for and often require great suffering to achieve. The attitude of complacency is also opposite to the one that brought these beautiful new ideas into the world in the first place—indeed, what brings things of great importance into the world generally. The existence of physical law is, in fact, astonishing and should be just as troubling to a thinking person today as it was in the seventeenth century when the scientific case for it was first made. We believe in universal physical law not because it ought to be true but because highly accurate experiments have given us no choice. (pp. 28-29)

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