Lee Smolin quote

"But in spite of the obvious effectiveness of mathematics in physics, I have never heard of a good a prioriargument that the world must be organised to mathematical principles."

Lee Smolin

Born: 1955

Occupation: Physicist

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Having begun my life in science searching for the equation beyond time, I now believe that the deepest secret of the universe is that its essence rests in how it unfolds moment by moment in time.

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Science is not about what's true or what might be true, science is about what people with originally diverse viewpoints can be forced to believe by the weight of public evidence.

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Deep, persistent problems are never solved by accident; they are solved only by people who are obsessed with them and set out to solve them directly.

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There is nothing outside the universe

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We know no more than we did in 1975 - and that's not good

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A successful unification of quantum theory and relativity would necessarily be a theory of the universe as a whole. It would tell us, as Aristotle and Newton did before, what space and time are, what the...

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It can no longer be maintained that the properties of any one thing in the universe are independent of the existence or non-existence of everything else. It is, at last, no longer sensible to speak of...

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The revolution which began with the creation of quantum theory and relativity theory can only be finished with their unification into a single theory that can give us a single, comprehensive picture of...

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Lee Smolin

But in spite of the obvious effectiveness of mathematics in physics, I have never heard of a good a prioriargument that the world must be organised to mathematical principles.

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Any two particles in the universe attract each other through the gravitational interaction.

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Just like an ordinary guitar string, a fundamental string can vibrate in different modes. And it is these different modes of vibration of the string that are understood in string theory as being the different...

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Related quote

Lee Smolin

But in spite of the obvious effectiveness of mathematics in physics, I have never heard of a good a prioriargument that the world must be organised to mathematical principles.

Read more


Etienne Klein

It seems that every practitioner of physics has had to wonder at some point why mathematics and physics have come to be so closely entwined. Opinions vary on the answer. ..Bertrand Russell acknowledged..'Physics...

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Israel Gelfand

Eugene Wigner wrote a famous essay on the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in natural sciences. He meant physics, of course. There is only one thing which is more unreasonable than the unreasonable...

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Hippolyte Taine

The more I study the things of the mind the more mathematical I find them. In them as in mathematics it is a question of quantities; they must be treated with precision. I have never had more satisfaction...

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Paul Dirac

A good deal of my research in physics has consisted in not setting out to solve some particular problem, but simply examining mathematical equations of a kind that physicists use and trying to fit them...

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Balfour Stewart

I do not think the division of the subject into two parts - into applied mathematics and experimental physics a good one, for natural philosophy without experiment is merely mathematical exercise, while...

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Paul Dirac

What makes the theory of relativity so acceptable to physicists in spite of its going against the principle of simplicity is its great mathematical beauty. This is a quality which cannot be defined, any...

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Edith Wharton

I have never known a novel that was good enough to be good in spite of its being adapted to the author's political views.

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G. H. Hardy

I have never done anything 'useful'. No discovery of mine has made, or is likely to make, directly or indirectly, for good or ill, the least difference to the amenity of the world... Judged by all practical...

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Roger Bacon

All science requires mathematics. The knowledge of mathematical things is almost innate in us. This is the easiest of sciences, a fact which is obvious in that no one's brain rejects it; for laymen and...

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G. H. Hardy

Most people have some appreciation of mathematics, just as most people can enjoy a pleasant tune; and there are probably more people really interested in mathematics than in music. Appearances suggest...

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Keith Devlin

Mathematical thinking is not the same as doing mathematics - at least not as mathematics is typically presented in our school system. School math typically focuses on learning procedures to solve highly...

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Roger Penrose

We have a closed circle of consistency here: the laws of physics produce complex systems, and these complex systems lead to consciousness, which then produces mathematics, which can then encode in a succinct...

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Don DeLillo

We feel certain that the extraterrestrial message is a mathematical code of some kind. Probably a number code. Mathematics is the one language we might conceivably have in common with other forms of intelligent...

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John D. Barrow

All our surest statements about the nature of the world are mathematical statements, yet we do not know what mathematics "is"... and so we find that we have adapted a religion strikingly similar to many...

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Tim Tharp

This stage in the life of the buzz is truly fabulous. It’s not even a buzz anymore. It’s a roar. The world opens up and everything’s yours right here, right now. You’ve probably heard the expression—All...

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Paul Dirac

I learnt to distrust all physical concepts as the basis for a theory. Instead one should put one's trust in a mathematical scheme, even if the scheme does not appear at first sight to be connected with...

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Hermann Weyl

It is impossible to discuss realism in logic without drawing in the empirical sciences... A truly realistic mathematics should be conceived, in line with physics, as a branch of the theoretical construction...

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James R Newman

Mathematical economics is old enough to be respectable, but not all economists respect it. It has powerful supporters and impressive testimonials, yet many capable economists deny that mathematics, except...

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Joseph Conrad

Do not talk to me of Archimedes' lever. He was an absent-minded person with a mathematical imagination. Mathematics commands my respect, but I have no use for engines. Give me the right word and the right...

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Paul Dirac

The fundamental laws necessary for the mathematical treatment of a large part of physics and the whole of chemistry are thus completely known, and the difficulty lies only in the fact that application...

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