fredag 7 mars 2014

Confessions by Planck: The Absolute of Relativity and Quantum of Action

       While an instructor in Munich, I waited for years in vain of an appointment to a professorship.

From the Scientific Autobiography of Max Planck we quote:
  • I have always looked upon the search of the absolute as the noblest and most worth while task of science.
  • The Theory of Relativity is based on something absolute, namely, the determination of the matrix of the space-time continuum; and it is an especially stimulating undertaking to discover the absolute which alone makes meaningful something given as relative.
  • In the first place, the Theory of Relativity  confers an absolute meaning on the magnitude which is classical theory has only a relative significance: the velocity of light.
  • The velocity of light is to the Theory of Relativity as the elementary quantum of action is to the Quantum Theory: it is absolute core.
  • I have satisfied my inner need for bearing witness, as fully as possible, both to the results of my scientific labors to the gradually crystallized attitude to general questions - such as the meaning of exact science, its relation to religion, the connection between causality and free will - by always complying with the ever increasing number of invitations to deliver lectures before Academies, Universities, learned societies and before the general public….
We read that Planck shares the experience of Einstein of being propelled to a fame beyond control and rationale. We read that Planck considers the Theory of Relativity (and Quantum Theory) to be a Theory of  the Absolute. The inner contradiction of modern physics cannot be more clearly expressed.

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