Angel "Java" Lopez en Blog

Publicado el 8 de Junio, 2015, 7:04

Sigo leyendo el libro "The Quantum Revolution: A Historical Perspective", de Kent A. Peacock, que mencioné en el post de ayer. Al comienzo, el autor comenta la importancia del estudio de la historia en una ciencia.

Learning a little history of science is one of the most interesting and painless ways of learning a little of the science itself, and knowing something about the people who created a branch of science helps to put a human face on the succession of abstract scientific concepts.

Furthermore, knowing at least the broad outlines of the history of science is simply part of general cultural literacy, since we live in a world that is influenced deeply by science. Everyone needs to know something about what science is and how it developed. But the history of modern physics, especially quantum physics, presents an especially interesting puzzle to the historian. In the brief period from 1900 to 1935 there occurred one of the most astonishing outbursts of scientific creativity in all of history. Of course, much has been done in science since then, but with the perspective of hindsight it seems that no other historical era has crammed so much scientific creativity, so many discoveries of new ideas and techniques, into so few years. Although a few outstanding individuals dominate—Albert Einstein (of course!), Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Paul Dirac, and Erwin Schrödinger stand out in particular—they were assisted in their work by an army of highly talented scientists and technicians.

La historia de este tema, el surgimiento de la mecánica cuántica, es fascinante. El aspecto científico de su desarrollo lo estoy tratando en mi serie Hacia la Mecánica Cuántica. Pero también me gustaría tratar el tema del desarrollo personal, las relaciones que se tejieron, las ideas en lucha, los modelos propuestos, las influencias recibidas por cada uno de los protagonistas. Es interesante lo que menciona el autor a continuación, sobre la aceptación de la sociedad por el desarrollo de la ciencia:

This constellation of talented people arose precisely at a time when their societies were ready to provide them with the resources they needed to do their work, and also ready to accept the advances in knowledge that they delivered. The scientists who created quantum theory were (mostly) not embattled heretics like Galileo, because they did not have to be—their work usually was supported, encouraged, and welcomed by their societies (even if their societies were at times a bit puzzled as to what that work meant). The period in which quantum mechanics was created is thus comparable to a handful of other brilliant episodes in history—such as ancient Athens in her glory, or the England of Elizabeth I—when a multitude of historical factors somehow
combined to allow the most talented people to do the best work of which they were capable.

Exactly why do these amazing outbursts of creativity occur? And what could we do to make them happen more regularly? These questions certainly can"t be answered in this modest book, but the history of quantum mechanics is an outstanding case study for this large and very important problem.

Lo bueno de esta historia, es que es relativamente reciente, y bastante documentada. Y pone en juego todo lo que conocemos como actividad científica, principalmente la creación de modelos, la compulsa con el experimento, y la formación de conceptos.

Nos leemos!

Angel "Java" Lopez

Por ajlopez, en: Ciencia