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we must hang on to the basic ideas of logic at all costs.


Paul Adrian Maurice Dirac

[“Methods in Theoretical Physics”, in From a Life of Physics  (World Scientific, Singapore, 1989)]

How Well Do Physicists Understand the Universe?


"Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the "Old One." I, at any rate, am convinced that He is not playing at dice. Waves in three-dimensional space whose velocity is regulated by potential energy (for example, rubber bands) . . ."

- Albert Einstein

[M. Born, The Born–Einstein Letters 1916–1955: Friendship, Politics and Physics in Uncertain Times, Macmillan, New York (2005), p. 88.]


". . . there are circumstances in which mathematics will produce results which no one has really been able to understand in any direct fashion. An example is the Dirac equation, which appears in a very simple and beautiful form, but whose consequences are hard to understand."

- Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton, and Matthew Sands

[The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. I (Addison-Wesley, Reading, 1963), p. 20-6.]


"It is now generally accepted that spacetime should carry a nonvanishing torsion at least locally at those points which are occupied by spinning elementary particles… The precise equations of motion for the torsion field, on the other hand, are still a matter of speculation."

- Hagen Kleinert

[Path Integrals in Quantum Mechanics, Statistics, and Polymer Physics (World Scientific, Singapore, 1995), Second edition, p. 420.]


“ . . . our present thinking about quantum mechanics is infested with the deepest misconceptions.

- Stephen Gull, Anthony Lasenby, and Chris Doran

["Imaginary Numbers are not Real – the Geometric Algebra of Spacetime," Found. Phys., 23(9): 1175, 1993]


"According to the statistical interpretation, the electron is a point particle . . ."

- David Hestenes

["The Zitterbewegung Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics," in Found. Phys. 20(10) 1990, pp. 1213-1232.]


". . . strictly speaking, there cannot be any point particles in general relativity. They have to be much larger than their Schwarzchild radius . . ."

- Hagen Kleinert

[Gauge Fields in Condensed Matter (World Scientific, Singapore, 1989), Vol II, Part I, p. 1387.]


"Several questions remain to be answered. . . . Are all these eighteen parameters really independent?"

-  W. N. Cottingham and D. A. Greenwood

[An Introduction to the Standard Model of Particle Physics (Cambridge University Press 1998), p. 184.]



Created: 27 February 2006;  Last updated: 24 January 2008

Copyright © 2006-2007  Robert A. Close