||16 THE THIRTY-THIRD ANNUAL REYNOLDS LECTURE and it sits there, unapproachable by most people. It is a little as if the whole of our musical and artistic tradition were being preserved and pushed forward in a few monasteries. Imagine the new Renaissance that would occur as people began to discover and understand the treasures that had been hidden away. Physics is too good a thing to remain the property of physicists alone. Take an example: one of the great monuments of human endeavor is quantum theory. This is a set of physical laws which accounts in a logically connected way for the periodic table of the elements, the origin of magnetism, the color of gems, the nature of light, all of chemistry, the nature of electricity, the hardness of diamond and the softness of graphite (both carbon), and the structure of organic molecules. The list could go on and on. The quantum theory is based on a profound revision of what a short time ago seemed common sense. As such, it is an extension of our whole consciousness. In it consciousness itself plays a role not present in earlier forms of physical theory.7 The history of the development of quantum theory is an adventure of the highest order. It is expressed in mathematical language of peculiar beauty. It can be learned by millions more than know it now. And yet, we educate people so that enjoying quantum mechanics is almost impossible. "Enjoying quantum mechanics!" It sounds like a parody or a contradiction in terms, a little like "the joy of logarithms." Physics has earned a bit of respect but produces little joy. This is a pity. It is not widely appreciated that physics has been and continues to be basically an aesthetic pursuit. Another example: the special theory of relativity. This arose from what seemed to be a fundamental contradiction between the two great pillars of 19th century physics, what we now call classical mechanics and the classical theory of electromagnetism. Both had had great successes: an understanding of the solar system, t sufficiendy detailed understanding of motion to make the design of complicated machinery possible, a unification of the phenomena of electricity, magnetism and optics. And yet, difficulties of the most fundamental sort arose in connection with the interpretation of the measured speed of light. Einstein's resolution of these difficulties required performance of the stupendous feat of revising our almost instinctive and intuitive notions of space and time. Nothing is more difficult than analysis of the intuitively obvious. What emerged from Einstein's analysis was a revolution in thought which features, as one of its most characteristic themes, an emphasis on the role of the observer in the relationship between ourselves and what we see, a theme which has continued to be a dominating one in the physics of the Twentieth Century. The resulting resolution of the contradiction between 7 See, for instance, E. P. Wigner, loc. cit., Ch. 13.