Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Saint of Insight

Saint of Insight

Imagine that there is a world you can never see, but what happens in that world affects everything in your world. From the wood that makes up your desk, to the sugar that goes in your tea. The very dirt you live on top of has an entire world inside it. Now imagine you live before anyone understood what that world looked like, or what the rules were. No Scanning Tunnelling Electron Microscopes to show you what the world of the Atom really looked like. No Femto-Pulse lasers to show you what happens as chemicals react. Yet you want to know what this world is like. Since you can't see it you need a tool to tell you how it all works. There is only one tool that can tell you how the world of the Atom works, Math. So you take that Math, and you see the perceived properties, and you work it all out. I mean ALL out. You can describe in detail what every single Atom and Molecule in the entire universe looks like, and what they behave like. From that you can make predictions about chemical properties in the real world based on the mathematical fantasy world you have built through nothing but physics. Our Saint of Insight saw a world that everyone knew was there but could make no sense of, and he put that world down on paper in such a way that we leapt forward from the Industrial age to the Chemical age. I speak of course of Niels Bohr, Nobel Prize winner for the feat of intellectual gymnastics that so few people have ever accomplished. It is of interest that Niels almost became a philosopher, and the logic that he learned in those studies served him well in delving into the mystery of Atomic Physics.

Niels Bohr is one of my favorite Saints. The stories told of his unconventional approaches to everything are both entertaining and enlightening. I wish that more people could learn to look at current problems and even solutions to find the right solution at the right time. Niels did this throughout his whole life and for this he is one of the great Saints of Science.

Today our understanding of the interaction of Matter and Energy are because of the work of this Atomic philosopher and his ability to chart the unseen world of the Atom. Thank you sir.

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