The day in which the man contradicted himself

A publication by Steven Wolf

The day in which the man contradicted himself

 

We live in a world based on the principle of non-contradiction according to which everything is identical to itself. On this principle Aristotle based his philosophy, Galileo laid the principles for modern science and some philosophers like Leibniz believed that even God was subordinated to this same principle. However, it would be enough to ask a simple question to a physician that this principle, the basement of humanity, would be proven wrong: “What is light?”

The corpuscular theory

The first scientist to explain the nature of light was Isaac Newton in 1600. His theory saw the light as a set of particles, called photons, that behaved like the common matter. The corpuscular theory explained the majority of the phenomena then known, like the propagation of light in a straight line, the formation of shadows and the refraction.

The wave model

In 1637 the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens proposed a model completely different from the previous one, affirming the undulatory nature of light. It compared light to a wave (what is transported, then, is energy and not matter, the same way as a sound wave).

Up to 1801, for the sake of simplicity, the corpuscular model was considered correct, as long as Thomas Young didn’t discover other properties of light like the diffraction and the interference. Being this last one an exclusive characteristic of waves, people started to suppose the truthfulness of the wave model.

Along the years, however, it remained unsolved the problem of the non-ability of light, unlike waves, to circumvent the obstacles, even though some theory explained this problem supposing that light would have a microscopic wavelength.

The turning point: the dualism particle-wave

Who undermined the wave model was Albert Einstein that, with the experiments on the photoelectric effect, demonstrated the groundlessness of Huygens’ theory. This effect consists of a phenomenon that takes place in the conductors that, exposing them to light, emit electrons from the surface. The only possible explanation was considering the light as corpuscular again. This discovery made Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.

Quantum mechanics

In order to avoid paradoxes, it was then necessary to admit that it was possible to explain some light phenomena with the corpuscular theory and other ones with the wave model. So is the light made of particles or is it a wave? In 1924 the scientist De Broglie affirmed that all the matter would manifest itself with this dualism particle-wave, developing this way the theory of the quantum mechanics. In the end, it was Bohr (colleague and friend of Einstein) to definitively elaborate the principle of complementarity, according to which the wave and particle aspects of a phenomenon can’t be observed at the same time.

This was the day the profession stereotypically more rational, the scientist, declared the failure of the principle of non-contradiction. The discovery of the light dualism has taken the humanity to a even greater level of open-mindedness. And who knows if in the future the researchers won’t discover that we human beings are composed both of particles and of waves and that maybe this wave can exactly be what we have always called “soul”.

Stephen Wolf

“If you have nothing in quantum mechanics, you will always have something”

Lawrence Krauss

L’Aurora e La Porta

Un percorso lungo la temporalità. Dai primi versi sbocciati nel 1995 all’attraversamento di un Porta al di la dello spazio e del tempo. Cosa ci aspetterà in questo eterno viaggio?

Origami

Anche le parole possono prendere pieghe inaudite per spiccare il volo in un soffio comune

Perché scrivere?

Quante volte hai sentito la necessità di buttare fuori in qualche modo quel groviglio di emozioni e stimoli che ti tieni dentro?
Ognuno di noi ha bisogno di dar sfogo al proprio impulso creativo, ma in che modo farlo?
Vale davvero la pena condividere con gli altri quello che abbiamo “creato”?

Ama

È quando c’è più bisogno di amore che occorre amare. In quel momento l’amore si moltiplica perché ha necessità di amare e farsi amare per imprimersi nel profondo.

The Blank Page

We have changed the paper sheet with the digital one. Ready to be turned off in a moment and get lost forever.

Cos’è meditazione?

Una personale intuizione su una domanda che può interessare ogni libero ricercatore

Sull’identità personale

Chi sono realmente? Qual è l’essenza che mi caratterizza e mi distingue dagli altri? Dall’arcaico “Conosci te stesso” quest’ossessione per l’identità personale non è mai venuta meno. Oggi, con secolari studi alle nostre spalle, possiamo forse dare qualche risposta a riguardo; ciò non solo al caso dell’identità personale ma dell’essenza dell’essere umano in generale.

The thought from the road

A reflection on the nature of evil

Il giorno in cui l’uomo contradisse se stesso

La nostra percezione è basata sulla dualità: qualcosa è o non è. Aristotele denominò questo principio logico “principio di non contraddizione” e noi uomini lo abbiamo posto come fondamenta per il nostro edificio del sapere. Tremiamo, dunque, perché la dualità così come la concepiamo logicamente è giunta alla sua estinzione. Un breve scritto giovanile stilato per un concorso alla Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa che dà uno spiraglio di luce ad una teoria scientifica sul concetto di “anima”.

The day in which the man contradicted himself

Our perception is based on duality: something is or isn’t. Aristotle named this logical principle “principle of non-contradiction” and we humans have put it as the foundation for our building of knowledge. We shiver, then, because the duality, as we logically conceive it, has come to its extinction. A short juvenile essay produced for a contest of the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa that gives a glimpse of light on a scientific theory on the concept of “soul”.

>
error: Attenzione: Il contenuto è protetto da copyright!