Friday, April 08, 2005

New York Times editorial on the 50th anniversary of Einstein's death

For those of us that bemoan the lack of scientifically accurate commentary and reporting for lay people, there is an excellent discussion of quantum physics and relativity in today's New York Times Op-Ed page. I'm not sure why a 50th anniversary prespective on Einstein's life and work belongs on the Op-Ed page, but the content itself is excellent.


Blogger finou said...

this is a very well written piece that's easy to follow... why aren't there more of those?

4/08/2005 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

If you like that, Briane Green has done a recent book (and PBS mini-series) on string theory. As I don't have a TV, I was pleased to be able to watch the PBS mini-series on the web.

Two minor nitpicks...

"It told the world that matter can be converted into energy - and a lot of it - since the speed of light squared (c2) is a huge number."

As the author clearly knows, the speed of light is not a number and nor is there a scientific reason to call it huge. The speed of light is a velocity and the choice of unity system can make the "number" portion of it arbitrarily large or small. Ironically, he probably sets it equal to one in most of his scientific work.

Second, he choose to refer to a electron's position while avoiding the issue of the uncertainty principle. Not really an error, but I think that simplification does lose an important part of quantum physics.

But overall, I agree it is a nice historical piece and agree it should have been given a better home than the Op-Ed page.

4/08/2005 03:17:00 PM  

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