Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for December 9th, 2018

The scientist in private

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The feeling of understanding is [as] private as the feeling of pain. The act of understanding is at the heart of all scientific activity; without it any ostensibly scientific activity is as sterile as that of a high school student substituting numbers into a formula. For this reason, science, when I push the analysis back as far as I can, must be private…The public level is tremendously important, and most of our individual and social living is done on this level. Our language is so constructed that we are almost forced to talk on this level…But always beyond the public level, waiting for a deeper analysis, is the private level. It is on the private level that I realize my essential isolation; here is my awful freedom that I can hardly face.

Percy Williams Bridgman, Reflections of a Physicist

Written by nevalalee

December 9, 2018 at 7:30 am

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