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Back from holiday...


Eise
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And three things are worth more or less mentioning in a science forum:

  1. In Pisa, I did not find any souvenir that somehow refers to Galileo throwing weights from the Leaning Tower.¬†ūüėĘ
     
  2. If in Newton's time such fine fabrics as nowadays used in flags would have existed, the question if light is particles or waves would have decided immediate against him:

    Interferenz.jpg

    (My own picture of a patch of light seen through the Italian flag)
     
  3. I've been reading Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps: Empires of Time, by Peter Galison. It is a great book, showing how Poincaré and Einstein were in very close contact with the practical problems of timekeeping. Poincaré was even in charge in France for establishing good world-wide synchronised timekeeping for commercial and practical purposes, and especially for creating better maps. Einstein on the other hand, in his work at the patent office, had to evaluate many proposals for precise timekeeping devices, and for synchronising them. I think I agree with the linked review that Einstein would also have come with SR without his work at the patent office, but obviously the whole topic 'was in the air'. However, what I find convincing is the style of Einstein's On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies: it contains nearly no references to other authors or scientific articles: this was the usual style of patent requests, because of course these requests should show itself as original as possible. The book also explains quite well why Poincaré could not make the final step of completely abandoning the idea of the æther. Poincaré was a kind of conservative, in the good sense, i.e. he saw science as a gradual changing discipline, keeping all ideas that had proved to work so well for many years (Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's electromagnetism), where Einstein was more or less a rebel, prepared to throw useless ideas overboard.
    The only other criticism I have on the book is its detailedness about all the expeditions in South America, negotiations between companies, governments etc about establishing coordinated time. A shorter overview would have done just as well. But for everybody interested in the history of science, and how it is embedded in wider culture, it is a must-read.

 

Edited by Eise
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I'm glad you're back.

Very interesting comments. It seems that the best scientists in history, the ones who guided the major breakthroughs, were people at crossroads between conservatism and revolution, between the practical and the abstract.

I'm thinking of Kepler too. In his case, driven all his life by the desire to confirm Plato's ideas (conservative drive), but anchored to the experimental facts, which in that case embodied the change in paradigm.

Anyway. Welcome back. I hope you're ready to roll.

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

You went on holiday in Italy ( Pisa ) ?

Yes. But I did not stay in Pisa, it was extremely hot, so we were there only one morning. And our stay was at the countryside. 

1 hour ago, MigL said:

Haven't you heard of Coronavirus ?

No, what is that?¬†ūüėČ

I looked at the official figures of Italy and compared them with Switzerland. Switzerland was worse:

(New Infections, per Million inhabitants, against time, i.e. days since the first 0.1/million cases)

image.thumb.png.0967141516b52454314667ee62123036.png

We left August,4th.

Maybe I should have decided to stay in Italy until Switzerland has solved its Corona-crisis?

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1 hour ago, Eise said:

Yes. But I did not stay in Pisa, … And our stay was at the countryside. 

I hope you enjoyed yourselves ( and the food/wine and beautiful countryside ), and the Tuscans were welcoming.
I found Switzerland expensive. Your exchange rate must make it favorable to vacation in Italy, or even southern Germany.

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14 hours ago, Curious layman said:

Was this taken with a normal camera facing the flag or did you have to adjust any settings?

Both? I was sitting about 2 meters behind the flag, and zoomed in to the maximum. To be sure that the autofocus would not focus on the flag itself instead of the interference pattern, I focused manually, and exposed 2 stops (That is what they call it in Dutch) less than the lighting meter would normally do. And then on the computer I increased contrast, made it even a bit darker, and cropped to the pattern itself, so yes, it is pretty magnified. With my bare eyes I nearly could not see the colours.

13 hours ago, MigL said:

I hope you enjoyed yourselves ( and the food/wine and beautiful countryside ), and the Tuscans were welcoming.

It was super, everything, everybody. I especially enjoyed the wine: very light, maybe only 6% alcohol, so I could drink much more than usual without getting tipsy or having a headache the next morning.

13 hours ago, MigL said:

I found Switzerland expensive. Your exchange rate must make it favorable to vacation in Italy, or even southern Germany.

Yes, that is definitely an advantage of living (and having salary) in Switzerland, nearly everything foreign including holidays, is cheap. Why, at the moment of writing, I realise I soon could buy the USA. I will think about a few improvements I could make then... ⚡

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