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In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded. Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies
The physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose. J Robert Oppenheimer, MIT lecture 25th November 1947
All science is either physics or stamp collecting. Ernest Rutherford
The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach them. Albert Einstein, cited Principles of Research 1918
The supreme task of the physicist is the discovery of the most general elementary laws from which the world-picture can be deduced logically. But there is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance, and this Einfühlung is developed by experience. Albert Einstein, preface Max Planck’s Where is Science Going? 1933
E=MC²: Energy equals Mass multiplied by the Speed of Light squared. Albert Einstein
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning. Albert Einstein
Nothing happens until something moves. Albert Einstein
The external world of physics has thus become a world of shadows. In removing our illusions we have removed the substance, for indeed we have seen that substance is one of the greatest of our illusions. Arthur Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World, 1928
If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation. ibid.
I am standing on the threshold about to enter a room. It is a complicated business. In the first place I must shove against an atmosphere pressing with a force of fourteen pounds on every square inch of my body. I must make sure of landing on a plank travelling at twenty miles a second round the sun – a fraction of a second too early or too late, the plank would be miles away. I must do this whilst hanging from a round planet, head outward into space, and with a wind of aether blowing at no-one knows how many miles a second through every interstice of my body. ibid.
Galileo’s work became the rock on which modern physics is founded. Dara O’Briain’s Science Club II, BBC 2012
What is nothing? ... Nothing lies at the heart of physics. ibid.
There is no such thing as the Ether. ibid.
‘Nothing doesn’t exist.’ ibid. Jim Al-Khalili
Gravitational waves … Ripples in space-time. ibid.
What I am going to tell you about is what we teach our physics students in the third or fourth year of graduate school ... It is my task to convince you not to turn away because you don't understand it. You see my physics students don’t understand it ... That is because I don’t understand it. Nobody does. Richard Feynman, QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, 1985
Physics isn’t the most important thing. Love is. Richard P Feynman
Physicists like to think that all you have to do is say, These are the conditions – now what happens next? Richard P Feynman
We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified – how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don’t know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know. Richard P Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P Feynman
The same laws of physics apply everywhere throughout the cosmos. Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan, Cosmos: The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean, PBS 1980
It’s the comprehensibility of the Laws of Physics that makes the Anthropic Principle work. Dr David Deutsch
The tiny electrons appeared to be defying the laws of physics. Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design: The Key to the Cosmos, Discovery 2012
The people who actually make the advances in theoretical physics don’t think in these categories that the philosophers and the historians of science subsequently invent for them. Stephen Hawking, Black Holes and Baby Universes
Most people don’t have time to master the very mathematical details of theoretical physics. Stephen Hawking
By 1928 Physics was struggling with a big problem. The two most important theories that describe how the universe worked didn’t agree with each other. Jim Al-Khalili, Everything & Nothing: Nothing, BBC 2011
How did humans acquire the power to transform the planet like this? Looking at the Earth at night reveals to us just how successful we’ve been in harnessing and manipulating energy, and how important it is to our existence. Energy is vital to us all. We use it to build the structures that surround and protect us. Order and Disorder With Jim Al-Khalili I: Energy, BBC 2012
Energy is essential to life itself. ibid.
What exactly is energy? And what makes it so useful to us? ibid.
Scientists would come up with a strange set of laws that would link together everything from engines to humans to stars. ibid.
Almost no-one had understood the fundamental nature of the steam engine; very few were aware of the cosmic principle that underpinned it. ibid.
Left alone energy always seems to go from being concentrated to being dispersed. ibid.
The second law of thermodynamics and it turned out to be stranger and more beautiful, more universal ... All things that gave off heat were in some way connected together. All things that gave off heat were part of an irreversible process that was happening everywhere. A process of spreading out and dispersing, a process of increasing entropy. It seemed that somehow the universe shared the same fate as a cup of tea. ibid.
Entropy – why was it always increasing? ibid.
Entropy was in fact a measure of the disorder of things. ibid.
The universe itself must one day die. ibid.
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. ibid.
We are surrounded by order. Over the last 300 years we’ve developed amazing new ways to harness energy. Order and Disorder with Jim Al-Khalili II: The Story of Information
Another type of invisible order ... Something we call Information. ibid.
By combining different sounding pictures, the ancient Mesopotamians could express any idea imaginable. ibid.
A new information carrying medium – electricity. ibid.
Just like Jacquard’s punch cards, the genius of Morse and Vail’s code lay in its simplicity. ibid.
The telegraph system would spread around the entire globe. ibid.