Oct 042009
 

Richard Feynman is a great popularizer of physics. He mastered the mathematics of light and wrote the QED, which is the most accurate and detailed description of the behavior of light, which is accessible to a lay audience. The following links are to a series of videos on You Tube. Similar to Six Easy Pieces, where Feynman brings hard to understand, mathematical and physical facts to a lay audience.

To one degree or another, Feynman is an embodiment of what this site is all about. He is Prometheus, has been to the brink and has brought fire back from the Gods.

Rules of Chess

Inertia and Epistemology

Jiggling Atoms

Fire

Rubber Bands

Electricity

Magnets and Why

The Mirror

The Train

Seeing Things

Ways of Thinking

In this last video, Feynman is talking about the limitations of language to “map” reality. This is true of all maps. Maps are by definition, limited. We have a word for space and a word for time, but these maps are limited. When this map begins to wear thin, we make a more useful, larger, map, called space-time. And this is how it is as we delve deeper and deeper into “reality”. Our maps wear thin and we find we need more precise, larger maps. As we try to “map” the atom, our map grows more and more unwieldy.. “and this difficulty, we are in.”

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