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Steven Weinberg PDF

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FACING UP StatueofTychoBrahe,atthesiteofhisobservatory ontheislandofHven FACING UP Science and Its Cultural Adversaries õ STEVEN WEINBERG Harvard University Press Cambridge,Massachusetts London,England Copyright©2001byStevenWeinberg Allrightsreserved PrintedintheUnitedStatesofAmerica Secondprinting,2003 FirstHarvardUniversityPresspaperbackedition,2003 LibraryofCongressCataloging-inPublicationData Weinberg,Steven,1933– Facingup : scienceanditsculturaladversaries / StevenWeinberg. p. cm. Includesbibliographicalreferencesandindex. ISBN0-674-00647-X(cloth) ISBN0-674-01120-1(paper) 1.Science. I.Title. Q171.W419 2001 500—dc21 2001024219 To Louise and Elizabeth Contents Preface ix 1. ScienceasaLiberalArt 1 2. Newtonianism,Reductionism,andtheArtof CongressionalTestimony 7 3. Newton’sDream 26 4. ConfrontingO’Brien 42 5. TheHeritageofGalileo 49 6. NatureItself 57 7. TheBoundariesofScientificKnowledge 70 8. TheMethodsofScience... andThosebyWhichWeLive 83 9. NightThoughtsofaQuantumPhysicist 93 10. ReductionismRedux 107 11. PhysicsandHistory 123 12. Sokal’sHoax 138 13. ScienceandSokal’sHoax:AnExchange 155 14. BeforetheBigBang 162 15. ZionismandItsAdversaries 181 16. TheRedCamaro 184 17. TheNon-RevolutionofThomasKuhn 187 18. T.S.Kuhn’sNon-Revolution:AnExchange 207 viii = Contents 19. TheGreatReduction: PhysicsintheTwentiethCentury 210 20. ADesignerUniverse? 230 21. “ADesignerUniverse?”:AnExchange 243 22. FiveandaHalfUtopias 247 23. LookingforPeaceintheScienceWars 264 Sources 273 Index 275 Preface Inthefirstyearthatweweremarried,mywifeandIlivedinanat- tic apartment on the coast road running along the Danish side of the strait between Denmark and Sweden. From our living room window we could see a little island in the strait, near the Swedish side. Our landlord told us that the island was named Hven. After returning to America we learned that Hven was the island where inthe1570stheDanishastronomerTychoBrahehadbuilthisob- servatory, Uraniborg. Without a telescope, but using giant naked- eyeinstrumentsanchoredtomassivefoundations,Brahemadehis- toric measurements of angles between stars and planets. It was partly the great precision of these measurements that allowed Ty- cho’s successor Johannes Kepler to infer that the planets move on ellipsesratherthancircles,aresultthatlaterwasofcrucialimpor- tancetoIsaacNewtonindevelopinghistheoryofgravitation. Yearsafter,onavisittoCopenhagenonesummer,mywifeandI and our daughter finally had a chance to visit Hven. We took the ferry across the strait to the island, and drove out in a taxi to the site of Uraniborg. All around was farm land, with nothing left of the observatory but its impressive foundations. Above ground there was only a granite statue of Brahe, carved in 1936 by the Danish sculptor Ivar Johnsson. A photo of the statue appears fac- ing the title page of this book. As can be seen, the statue shows Braheinapostureappropriateforanastronomer,facingup. That is only part of the reason for my choice of Facing Up for thetitleofthiscollectionofessays.(Braheisnotoneofmyspecial heroes; he rejected the idea of Copernicus that the earth goes around the sun, and he was a rotten landlord.) The researches of

Facing up : science and its cultural adversaries / Steven Weinberg. p. cm. point that is rationalist, reductionist, realist, and devoutly secular. Facing up is, after Most of my working life has been devoted to research in physics man spirit. ing soybeans and showing the Grand Canyon to tourist
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