'Nature and the Greeks' and 'Science and Humanism'

Cambridge University Press, 1951 - 172 pagina's
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Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger was one of the most distinguished scientists and philosophers of the twentieth century, and his lectures are legendary. Here the texts of two of Schrödinger's most famous lecture series are made available again. In the first, entitled "Nature and the Greeks," Schrödinger offers a historical account of the scientific world picture. In the second, called "Science and Humanism," he addresses fundamental questions about the link between scientific and spiritual matters. As Roger Penrose confirms, these are the profound thoughts of a great mind, and as relevant today as when they were first published in the 1950s.

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The motives for returning to ancient thought
The competition reason v senses
The Pythagoreans
The Ionian Enlightenment
The religion of Xenophanes Heraclitus of Ephesus
The Atomists
What are the special features?
Form not substance the fundamental concept
The nature of our models
Continuous description and causality
The intricacy of the continuum
The makeshift of wave mechanics
The alleged breakdown of the barrier between subject and object
Atoms or quanta the counterspell of old standing to escape the intricacy of the continuum
Would physical indeterminacy give free will a chance?

The spiritual bearing of science on life
The practical achievements of science tending to obliterate its true import
A radical change in our ideas of matter
The bar to prediction according to Niels Bohr

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Over de auteur (1951)

Born and educated in Vienna, Erwin Schrodinger received his Ph.D. in 1910 from the University of Vienna. He developed the theory of wave mechanics (1925--26). For this theory, which furnished a solid mathematical explanation of quantum theory, Schrodinger shared the Nobel Prize in 1933 with Paul Dirac. Schrodinger was dissatisfied with Niels Bohr's early quantum theory of the atom, objecting to the many arbitrary quantum rules imposed. Building on Louis-Victor De Broglie's idea that a moving atomic particle has a wave character, Schrodinger developed a famous wave equation that describes the behavior of an electron orbiting the nucleus of an atom. When applied to the hydrogen atom, the equation yielded all the results of Bohr and De Broglie, and was also used as a tool to solve a wide range of new problems in which quantization occurs. In 1927 Schrodinger succeeded Max Planck at the University of Berlin but resigned in 1933 when the Nazis came to power. He left then for England, becoming a guest professor at Oxford University. In 1936 he returned to Austria, but then fled in 1938 under the threat of Nazi arrest and was invited to Dublin's newly established Institute for Advanced Studies. He remained there from 1940 until his retirement in 1956, when he returned to his native Austria and to the University of Vienna, where he held his last chair in theoretical physics. In 1944 Schrodinger published What Is Life? The Physical Aspects of a Living Cell, a book that had a tremendous impact on a new generation of scientists. The book directed young physicists who were disillusioned by the Hiroshima bombing to an unexplored discipline free of military applications---molecular biology. Schrodinger proposed the existence of a molecular code as the genetic basis of life, inspiring an entire generation to explore this idea.

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