Page 14

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Title Ivory Ghetto, The
Subject Science
Description The 33rd Annual Frederick William Reynolds Lecture
Creator Dick, Bertram Gale, 1926-
Publisher Division of Continuing Education, University of Utah
Date 1969-02-17
Date Digital 2008-05-29
Type Text
Format image/jpeg
Digitization Specifications Original scanned on Epson Expression 10000XL flatbed scanner and saved as 400 ppi uncompressed tiff. Display images generated in PhotoshopCS and uploaded into CONTENTdm Aquisition Station.
Resource Identifier http://content.lib.utah.edu/u?/reynolds,898
Source Q171 .D525
Language eng
Relation Digital reproduction of "The Ivory Ghetto," J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections
Rights Digital Image Copyright University of Utah
Metadata Cataloger Seungkeol Choe; Ken Rockwell
ARK ark:/87278/s62v2d2c
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-07-29
ID 320157
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s62v2d2c

Page Metadata

Title Page 14
Description 14 THE THIRTY-THIRD ANNUAL REYNOLDS LECTURE study of experimental physics? There is no question that the connection exists. Mathematics is surely the language in which physical laws find their most natural, if not their only, possible expression. It is overstating the case to say that mathematics is the only conceivable way one can try to describe the regularities in nature. Ascribing all phenomena to the active intervention of spirits is a form of physical theory that can explain everything. Early physical theories that moved beyond this approach tried to understand the apparent organization of nature in analogy to a living organism. The parts behave as they do because they are fulfilling their roles as do organs in an animal. They are moved by purpose. For Aristotle, falling bodies accelerate because, as they get nearer home, they rush more jubilantly to their destination. But the mathematical way of describing regularities in nature has been the only one that has allowed prediction, not only prediction of what was already built into the mathematical theory but also prediction of events unknown when the theory was constructed. Thinking of the solar system as an organism could scarcely have led to the prediction of the existence of the planet Nepture. Mathematical statement of the laws of motion and gravitation did just that. John Couch Adams in England and Leverrier in France independently, from calculations based on the observed motion of the planet Uranus, told astronomers where to point their telescopes to find a new planet. Using these calculations, astronomers at the Berlin observatory found the new planet, Neptune, on the first evening of their search but after it had been overlooked for centuries. There are hundreds of thousands of such examples. The relationship between mathematics and physics is even more curious when one realizes that the two are, by no means, identical. The same equations describe heat conduction, a form of elastic deformation of a solid, gravitational attraction, and the interaction between electric charges. If we knew nothing but what is expressed in the mathematical formulae, there would be nothing to distinguish among these phenomena. The relationship between mathematical equations and physical phenomena is not one to one. Another curiosity is that the degree of logical rigor which mathematicians demand is seldom essential in the application of mathematics to physical problems. Physicists are most usually rather sloppy mathematicians, but this fact doesn't seem seriously to interfere with the effectiveness of their application of mathematics to physics. This effectiveness has haunted physicists. Sir Arthur Eddington, a distinguished British theoretical physicist of this century, became, toward the end of his career, obsessed with the idea that it ought to be possible to deduce observed numbers (such as the ratio of the mass of the proton to that of the electron) from mathematical reasoning alone. He pointed
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 016-RNLT-DickG_ Page 14.jpg
Source Original Manuscript: The Ivory Ghetto by Bertram G. Dick.
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-07-29
ID 320148
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s62v2d2c/320148