Monday, June 27, 2011

Three Things about Physics

Thoughts about physics, mostly stolen or adapted from others:

(1) The ideas of physics are relatively simple; but they are also quite subtle, especially in how they make contact with the real world, which is (undoubtedly) messy and complex. Understanding how simple ideas interface with the complex real world lies at the heart of understanding physics.

(2) Physics is not quite the study of natural phenomena nor the study of philosophy; rather physics lives in and around the boundaries of the real and the ideal. Physics, thus, flirts with the notion that our most complex experiences are quite simple and that our simplest experiences are quite complex.

(3) Physics begs us to problematize that which is not intuitively or initially problematic, and then to wonder whether and if our approaches to the unproblematic will be useful somewhere entirely different. For this reason, the world is both the source and target of our ideas, but the distances those ideas must traverse can be staggering.

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