Tag Archives: philosophy

Ideas Live!

Philosophy involves the study of ideas. Yet some (like Stephen Hawking) say philosophy is dead. Others (such as Neil deGrasse Tyson) say philosophy may be alive but its ideas have no use in physics. Both of these exemplars hold the degree of Doctor of Philosophy so they should know. But so do I and I […]

One Thing About All This . . .

We need a New Year’s Revolution. (No typo: Revolution with a v.) Last week I suggested that the Large Hadron Collider may find no superparticles and that this could lead to a big change in physics. Indeed a common theme in last year’s posts was the need to complete the Physics Revolution that began a […]

Atoms Are Not A-toms

So, nat’ralists observe, a flea Hath smaller fleas that on him prey, And these have smaller still to bite ’em And so proceed ad infinitum. Jonathan Swift (1733) Once upon a time the world had a conversation about an idea called the atom. Greek philosopher Democritus kicked off the conversation around 400 BCE, saying matter’s […]

At the Same Time . . .

Sir Isaac Newton was a serious two timer long before that term took on its modern meaning. In 1687 he spoke of two kinds of time: Absolute, true, and mathematical time, of itself, and from its own nature flows equably without relation to anything external, and by another name is called duration; [and] relative, apparent […]

Saving Time

Last week’s post looked at how physics turned its back on time. It had consequences. Today, leading physicists speak of time in despairing terms. Some propose to abandon it. Though buried deep in science journals, this situation eats at the roots of our economy. Is time lost beyond recall? Let’s recap: In 1905 Albert Einstein […]

Losing Time

Time matters to us all. We are defined by time. Mostly we don’t think about it. But it’s easier to think about than you might expect. Time became important in the 15th century. It came to be synonymous with clocks. Accurate chronometers would help sailors figure where they were at sea. Many made bold voyages—or […]

Thinking the Unthinkable: How Big Is the Universe?

It’s a question many ponder. We know the universe is big. But is it finite or infinite? And why does this matter? It’s 1584. Dominican friar and Neapolitan philosopher Giordano Bruno publishes De l’infinito universo et Mondi. He argues that God, being infinite, would create an infinite universe. He has no evidence to back his […]

Buddha, Physics and the End of Zen

A history by writer Thomas Hoover tells us that the words and actions of Zen masters through the ages all strive to an end: That end is an intuitive realization of a single great insight―that we and the world are one. … Our rational intellect merely obscures this truth, and consequently we must shut it […]