Saturday, 24 January 2009

Strange Matters

- undiscovered ideas at the frontiers of space and time by Tom Siegfried.

I picked this up in the library after reading Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking as I was looking for a more current update of what was being investigated now and although this is from 2004 I found it an interesting read.

Couple of notes:
'Duality permits string theory to appear in many disguises, but also allowed Edward Witten to realise that the five superstring theories were just five doors to the same M-theory house. All this progress points to an underlying unity in a hard-to-see reality. And that unity is our strongest hint of objective reality, however dimly we perceive it.[...] Science must deal with the fragments of nature accessible to human perception. To Spinoza (and, apparently, to Einstein), all the fragments are pieces of an infinite puzzle. The whole puzzle is a unified "substance" at reality's foundation. Spinoza's substance is only imperfectly perceptible, as humans have access only to its manifestations, not its inherent unity.'

I'm not totally 100% on why I like this idea but it seems important to consider that an object can be perceived as a totally different object from different angles - like redefining its personality, an ambiguous state?

'"Great caution must be exercised," Max Planck said, "in using the word, real." Poincare expressed similar caution. "What this world consists of, we cannot say or conjecture; we can only say what is seems, or might seem to be to minds not too different from ours." What we learn about reality are relationships, expressed in maths. The objects of reality we think we have discerned are merely images that allow us to visualise the relationships that math reveals.'

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