The Rediscovery of the Observer
The impact of the developments in physics over the last
century can be thought of under four headings:
rediscovery of time through relativity theory.
rediscovery of the observer through quantum theory.
Bang cosmology, leading to a possible rediscovery of purpose.
rediscovery of complexity through chaos theory.
Towards the end of the 19th Century Lord Kelvin had warned of
two clouds on the horizon of Newtonian Physics:
The failure of the Michelson-Morley Experiment to detect the
motion of the Earth through the aether (the medium through which it was assumed
that light must be propagated).
The failure of classical physics to account for the colour of
hot objects - the spectrum of black-body radiation.
Einsteins explanation of 1) led to the rediscovery of
timeand its importance.
The explanation for 2) has led to even more radical changes in our
understanding of the world, which must now be understood in terms of quantum
In these topics we shall see how problems interpreting
black-body radiation led to the ultraviolet catastrophe and the first
proposal in quantum theory, how Einstein helped the development of early
quantum theory through his work on the photo-electric effect.
See collapsing atoms to learn about radioactivity and the
structure of the atom, and wave-particle duality to investigate the paradoxical
behaviour of light and subatomic particles.
Finally, see the quantum revolution to learn how these discoveries
were brought together in an overall theory.
link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr.
Source: God, Humanity and the
Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999)