02 July 2019

Steven Weinberg - Collected Quotes

“Nothing in physics seems so hopeful to as the idea that it is possible for a theory to have a high degree of symmetry was hidden from us in everyday life. The physicist's task is to find this deeper symmetry.” (Steven Weinberg, American Scientist, 1977)

“Our mistake is not that we take our theories too seriously, but that we do not take them seriously enough. It is always hard to realize that these numbers and equations we play with at our desks have something to do with the real world.” (Steven Weinberg, “The First Three Minutes”, 1977)

“How surprising it is that the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quantities had slightly different values.” (Steven Weinberg, "Life in the Quantum Universe", Scientific American, 1995)

 “It seems that scientists are often attracted to beautiful theories in the way that insects are attracted to flowers - not by logical deduction, but by something like a sense of smell.” (Steven Weinberg, “Physics Today”, 2005)

“The progress of science has been largely a matter of discovering what questions should be asked.” (Steven Weinberg, "To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science", 2015)

“Mathematics is the means by which we deduce the consequences of physical principles. More than that, it is the indispensable language in which the principles of physical science are expressed.” (Steven Weinberg, "To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science", 2015)

“The distinction between mathematics and science is pretty well settled. It remains mysterious to us why mathematics that is invented for reasons having nothing to do with nature often turns out to be useful in physical theories.” (Steven Weinberg, "To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science", 2015)

“The proper measure of a philosophical system or a scientific theory is not the degree to which it anticipated modern thought, but its degree of success in treating the philosophical and scientific problems of its own day.” (Steven Weinberg, "To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science", 2015)

“There is a beauty in these laws that mirrors something that is built into the structure of the universe at a very deep level” (Steven Weinberg, "To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science", 2015)

"The universe is an enormous direct product of representations of symmetry groups." (Steven Weinberg)

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