Frasi di John David Barrow

John David Barrow foto
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John David Barrow

Data di nascita: 29. Novembre 1952

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John David Barrow è un cosmologo inglese, professore di matematica all'Università di Cambridge.

Frasi John David Barrow

„In general, the shorter the possible representation... the less random... On this view we recognize science to be the search for algorithmic compressions.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: We say that the string is 'random' if there is no other representation of the string which is shorter than itself. But we will say that it is 'non-random' if there does exist such an abbreviated representation.... In general, the shorter the possible representation... the less random... On this view we recognize science to be the search for algorithmic compressions.<!--Ch. 1, p. 11

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„Parmenides' influential arguments against the concept of empty space“

— John D. Barrow
Context: The Greek tradition was a complete contrast to that of the Far East.... the Greeks placed logic at the pinnacle of human thinking. Their sceptical attitude towards the wielding of 'non-being' as some sort of 'something' that could be subject to logical development was exemplified by Parmenides' influential arguments against the concept of empty space.... He maintained that you can only speak about what is: what is not cannot be thought of, and what cannot be thought of cannot be.... more unexpected was the further conclusion that time, motion nor change could exist either. chapter one "Zero—The Whole Story"<!-- p. 40-->

„Just focusing on what exists now seems a bit exclusive.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: Just focusing on what exists now seems a bit exclusive. And if we include everything that has ever existed as part of the universe, why not include the future as well? This seems to leave us with the definition that the universe is everything that has ever existed, does exist, or will ever exist.<!--ch. 1, p. 3

„The Indian system of counting is probably the most successful intellectual innovation ever devised by human beings. It has been universally adopted. ...It is the nearest thing we have to a universal language.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: The Indian system of counting is probably the most successful intellectual innovation ever devised by human beings. It has been universally adopted.... It is the nearest thing we have to a universal language. chapter one "Zero—The Whole Story"<!-- p. 42-->

„Where there is life there is a pattern, and where there is a pattern there is mathematics.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: Where there is life there is a pattern, and where there is a pattern there is mathematics. Once that germ of rationality and order exists to turn a chaos into a cosmos, then so does mathematics. There could not be a non-mathematical Universe containing living observers.<!-- Ch. 5, p. 230

„This may be the low-impact evolutionary path you need to follow in order to survive into the far, far future.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: Continual miniaturisation allows resources to be conserved, efficiency to be increased, pollution to be reduced, and the remarkable flexibilities of the quantum world to be tapped. Very advanced civilizations elsewhere in the universe may have been force to follow the same technological path. Their nano-scale space probes, their atomic-scale machines and nano-computers, would be imperceptible to our course-grained surveys of the universe.... This may be the low-impact evolutionary path you need to follow in order to survive into the far, far future.<!--ch. 2, pp. 23-24

„Aristotle believed that the world did not come into being at some time in the past; it had always existed and it would always exist, unchanged in essence for ever. He placed a high premium on symmetry“

— John D. Barrow
Context: Aristotle believed that the world did not come into being at some time in the past; it had always existed and it would always exist, unchanged in essence for ever. He placed a high premium on symmetry and believed that the sphere was the most perfect of all shapes. Hence the universe must be spherical.... An important feature of the spherical shape... was the fact that when a sphere rotates it does not cut into empty space where there is no matter and it leaves no empty space behind.... A vacuum was impossible. It could no more exist than an infinite physical quantity.... Circular motion was the most perfect and natural movement of all.<!--ch. 1, pp. 12-13

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„Location is not, as the estate agents say, everything. We must also consider our place in history.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: Location is not, as the estate agents say, everything. We must also consider our place in history.<!--ch. 2, p. 23

„It is not hard to see why the Eastern holistic perspective made scientific progress so difficult. It denies the intuition that one can study the parts of the world in isolation from the rest—that one can analyze the world“

— John D. Barrow
Context: It is not hard to see why the Eastern holistic perspective made scientific progress so difficult. It denies the intuition that one can study the parts of the world in isolation from the rest—that one can analyze the world...<!--Ch. 2, p. 15

„If we used our discriminatory power to full, we could generate an undulating sea of sound that displayed continuously changing frequency rather like the undersea sonic songs of dolphins and whales.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: Our sensitivity to changes of pitch... is underused in musical sound. Western music, in particular, is based on scales that use pitch changes that are at least twenty times bigger than the smallest changes that we could perceive. If we used our discriminatory power to full, we could generate an undulating sea of sound that displayed continuously changing frequency rather like the undersea sonic songs of dolphins and whales.<!-- Ch. 5, p. 225

„Scientific pictures are often not just about science.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: Scientific pictures are often not just about science. They may... have an undeniable aesthetic quality. They may even have been primarily works of art that possess a scientific message. Introduction

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„It is enigma enough that the world is described by mathematics; but by simple mathematics, of the sort that a few years energetic study now produces familiarity with, this is an enigma within an enigma.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: Scanning the past millennia of human achievement reveals just how much has been achieved during the last three hundred years since Newton set in motion the effective mathematization of Nature. We found that the world is curiously adapted to a simple mathematical description. It is enigma enough that the world is described by mathematics; but by simple mathematics, of the sort that a few years energetic study now produces familiarity with, this is an enigma within an enigma.<!--Ch. 1, p. 2

„What had stopped them both in their tracks was Gamow's suggestion that the laws of physics could describe something being created out of nothing.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: Einstein had spent the previous thirty years showing how we could understand the behaviour of whole universes with simple maths. Gamow saw that those universes must have had a past that was unimaginably different to the present. What had stopped them both in their tracks was Gamow's suggestion that the laws of physics could describe something being created out of nothing.<!--ch. 1, p. 2

„There was always something left: a vacuum energy that permeated every fibre of the Universe.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: The quantum revolution showed us why the old picture of a vacuum as an empty box was untenable.... Gradually, this exotic new picture of quantum nothingness succumbed to experimental exploration... in the form of vacuum tubes, light bulbs and X-rays. Now the 'empty' space itself started to be probed.... There was always something left: a vacuum energy that permeated every fibre of the Universe. chapter nought "Nothingology—Flying to Nowhere"<!-- p. 10-->

„The living world is not a marble palace.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: The living world is not a marble palace. It is a higgledy-piggledy outcome of natural selection and the competition between many interacting factors. The outcome is often neither elegant nor symmetrical.<!--Ch. 2, p. 18

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