Frases de John David Barrow

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John David Barrow

Data de nascimento: 29. Novembro 1952

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John David Barrow FRS é um cosmólogo, físico e matemático inglês. É atualmente professor pesquisador de ciências matemáticas da Universidade de Cambridge. Barrow é também um popular escritor de ciências e dramaturgo amador.

Citações John David Barrow

„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.“

— 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

„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

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„The laws of Nature are based upon the existence of a pattern,“

— John D. Barrow
Context: The laws of Nature are based upon the existence of a pattern, linking one state of affairs to another; and where there is pattern, there is symmetry. Yet... the symmetries that the laws enshrine are broken in... outcomes. Suppose that we balance a needle on its point and then release it. The law of gravity, which governs its subsequent motion, is perfectly democratic. It has no preference for any particular direction in the Universe: it is symmetrical in this respect. Yet, when the needle falls, it must fall in a particular direction. The directional symmetry of the underlying law is broken, therefore... By the same token, the fallen needle hides the symmetry of the law... Such 'symmetry-breaking' governs much of what we see in the Universe... It allows a Universe governed by a small number of symmetrical laws to manifest an infinite diversity of complex, asymmetrical states. This is how the Universe can be at once, simple and complicated.<!-- Ch. 2, pp. 36-37

„Medieval students... believed all forms of harmony to derive from a common source“

— John D. Barrow
Context: Ancient belief in a cosmos composed of spheres, producing music as angels guided them through the heavens, was still fluorishing in Elizabethan times.... There is a good deal more to Pythagorean musical theory than celestial harmony. Besides the music of the celestial spheres (musica mundana), two other varieties of music were distinguished: the sound of instruments...(musica instrumentalis), and the continuous unheard music that emanated from the human body (musica humana), which arises from a resonance between the body and the soul.... In the medieval world, the status of music is revealed by its position within the Quadrivium—the fourfold curriculum—alongside arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy. Medieval students... believed all forms of harmony to derive from a common source. Before Boethius' studies in the ninth century, the idea of musical harmony was not considered independently of wider matters of celestial or ethical harmony.<!-- Ch. 5, pp. 201-202

„Mathematics became an experimental subject. Individuals could follow previously intractable problems by simply watching what happened when they were programmed into a personal computer.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: Mathematics became an experimental subject. Individuals could follow previously intractable problems by simply watching what happened when they were programmed into a personal computer.... The PC revolution has made science more visual and more immediate.... by creating films of imaginary experiences of mathematical worlds.... Words are no longer enough. Introduction

„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

„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

„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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„If one looks at the special problems that were the mainsprings of progress along the oldest and most persistent lines of human inquiry, then one finds Nothing, suitably disguised as something, never far from the centre of things.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: If one looks at the special problems that were the mainsprings of progress along the oldest and most persistent lines of human inquiry, then one finds Nothing, suitably disguised as something, never far from the centre of things. Preface

„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

„While we have no reason to expect that our position in the universe is special in every way, we would be equally misled were we to assume that it could not be special in any way.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: While we have no reason to expect that our position in the universe is special in every way, we would be equally misled were we to assume that it could not be special in any way.<!--ch. 2, p. 22

„Gradually, over the last twenty years, the vacuum has turned out to be more unusual, more fluid, less empty, and less intangible than even Einstein could have imagined.“

— John D. Barrow
Context: The spooky ether was persistent. It took an Einstein to remove it from the Universe.... Gradually, over the last twenty years, the vacuum has turned out to be more unusual, more fluid, less empty, and less intangible than even Einstein could have imagined. Its presence is felt on the very smallest and largest dimensions over which the forces of Nature act. Preface

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„The quantum revolution showed us why the old picture of a vacuum as an empty box was untenable“

— 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-->

„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-->

„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

„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

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