Monday, October 10, 2005

Columbus day



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.

7 comments:

  1. As I was thinking about ways in which to percieve alternate valuations to perspective I came across this statement.

    Say my friend and I were in our tropical paradise near the equator. Paradise is boring he says, let's go north. We start out 100 feet apart and walk due north. Euclid told us that so long as we walk in perfectly straight lines, we should never meet, yet we all know that my friend and I will meet at the north pole. In my ignorance, I might say that there is a strange attractive force between my friend and I and label that "gravity". But in truth what happened was the surface of the earth curved beneath us as we walked

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  2. > Say my friend and I were in our tropical paradise near the equator.

    Yes.

    > Paradise is boring he says

    No, it is not. Actually it is very interesting.

    By the way, Columbus landed in The Bahamas and so I have to assume he had some tax problems at home.

    PS: Lubos, I just saw the movie "up and down" which is about Prague and its people. Have you seen it?

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  3. Dear Wolfgang,

    as far as I remember, I still have not seen the movie but I have a detailed blog article about its content anyway:

    Up and down.

    Send my best regards to Viktor today. ;-)

    Cheers
    Lubos

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  4. No, it is not. Actually it is very interesting.

    If you were, "Gauss or Reimann" I would understand your referencing to paradise.

    "Money is the root of all evil." I think Pink Floyd said that.

    Try their rendition of Money?:)

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  5. > "Money is the root of all evil." I think Pink Floyd said that.

    I like Pink Floyd, but they are wrong in this case.

    The "root of all evil", if there is such a thing, is the unlimited stupidity of human beings.
    In my experience, people with some money tend to be (a bit) less stupid than others.

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