Thursday, August 28, 2008


Physicist Werner Heisenberg, quoted in Gino Segrè's Faust in Copenhagen (2007) at 93:
We were on the steamer from America to Japan and, so, for instance, I took part in the dances in the evening. Paul [Dirac], somehow, didn't like that too much but he would sit on a chair and look at the dances. Once I came back from a dance and took the chair beside him and he asked "Heisenberg, why do you dance?" I said, "Well, when there are nice girls, it is a pleasure to dance." He thought for a long time about it, and after about five minutes he said, "Heisenberg, how do you know beforehand that the girls are nice?"


OBloodyHell said...

My favorite physicist quote:

(On a paper submitted by a physicist colleague):
"This isn't right. This isn't even wrong."
- Wolfgang Pauli

Lesser, but still good, is a "response" to Einstein's famous statement about uncertainty and quantum mechanics, which he was never comfortable with:

"Actually, God DOES play dice with the Universe, but they're LOADED dice!"
- Joseph Ford -

Some others about the universe, not necessarily attributed:

The universe is simple - it's the explanation that's complex.

"Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man doesn't have to experience it."
- Max Frisch -

There IS intelligent life in the universe. It's ignoring us.

(I'm in the mood for quotes)


Carl said...

One of my favorites is here.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I have never seen the Uncertainty Principle applied to girls before.

Carl said...


I believe you take my point--and I've no doubt about it.

OBloodyHell said...

> I have never seen the Uncertainty Principle applied to girls before.

AVI, what possible mechanism do you ascribe to how they set their minds on things?

It's completely quantum mechanical -- a fuzzy cloud of decision where the only way to identify its location is to indicate a specific time of observation. Any other time it could be anywhere in all of known space.

With males, decisions tend to be inertial -- it falls into a slot and takes notable new information to change it. Women (as a group, not necessarily applicable to any individual) are not thus encumbered. Any position is within a probability cloud, which can radically change from one instant to the next without any clear causation.