Monday, October 10, 2005
Christopher Columbus realized that if he sails a few thousand miles to the West, he has to get to some of the richest countries in the world such as India, Vietnam, and North Korea. As you can see on the map, he was essentially right. It's equally important that he received some Spanish royal grants to realize his ideas. Although he only found the Americas, instead of a better trajectory to India, it may have been a pretty good investment for the queen anyway. The physicists' search for a better understanding of the Universe often resembles the stories of Columbus. There are some objectively existing structures around; we have to discover them; we have a pretty good idea about the fundamental principles; and sometimes there can be some subtle errors in our mental picture. Happy Columbus day.