Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Meandering, meandering, meandering we go . . .

Today is the birthday of Percy Williams Bridgman (April 21, 1882 – August 20, 1961), physicist. He won the 1946 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Percy W. Bridgman was also one of the 11 signatories to the Russell-Einstein Manifesto.

"By far the most important consequence of the conceptual revolution brought about in physics by relativity and quantum theory lies not in such details as that meter sticks shorten when they move or that simultaneous position and momentum have no meaning, but in the insight that we had not been using our minds properly and that it is important to find out how to do so." - Percy W. Bridgman

"Not only are there meaningless questions, but many of the problems with which the human intellect has tortured itself turn out to be only 'pseudo problems,' because they can be formulated only in terms of questions which are meaningless. Many of the traditional problems of philosophy, of religion, or of ethics, are of this character. Consider, for example, the problem of the freedom of the will. You maintain that you are free to take either the right- or the left-hand fork in the road. I defy you to set up a single objective criterion by which you can prove after you have made the turn that you might have made the other. The problem has no meaning in the sphere of objective activity; it only relates to my personal subjective feelings while making the decision." - Percy W. Bridgman

"There is no adequate defense, except stupidity, against the impact of a new idea." - Percy W. Bridgman

Bridgman image source (1)

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