[Marxism] Fwd: Has this physicist found the key to reality?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Oct 25 06:03:35 MDT 2016


Has this physicist found the key to reality?
Whenever we have ventured into new experimental territory, we’ve 
discovered that our previous “knowledge” was woefully incomplete. So 
what to make of Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli?

Reality Is Not What It Seems: the Journey to Quantum Gravity by Carlo 
Rovelli. Translated by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre is published by 
Allen Lane (255pp, £16.99)

Albert Einstein knew the truth. “As far as the laws of mathematics refer 
to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they 
do not refer to reality.” However good we are at maths – or theoretical 
physics – our efforts to apply it to the real world are always going to 
mislead. So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that reality is not what 
it seems – even when, like the Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli, you’ve 
done the maths.

It is a lesson we could certainly learn from the history of science. 
Whenever we have ventured into new experimental territory, we’ve 
discovered that our previous “knowledge” was woefully incomplete. With 
the invention of the telescope, for instance, we found new structures in 
space; Jupiter’s moons and sunspots were just the beginning. The 
microscope took us the other way and showed us the fine structure of the 
biological world – creatures that looked uninteresting to the naked eye 
turned out to be intricate and delicate, with scales and hooks and other 
minute features. We also once thought that the atom lacked structure; 
today’s technology, such as the particle colliders at the Cern research 
centre in Geneva and Fermilab in the United States, have allowed us to 
prove just how wrong that idea was. At every technological turn, we have 
redefined the nature of reality.

full: 
http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2016/10/has-physicist-found-key-reality



More information about the Marxism mailing list