Toward the end of the nineteenth century the accumulation of inconsistencies of theory with experiment had set the stage for a far-reaching reconsideration of the foundations of classical physics. As a result, by 1925 two great new theories had grown up to supplant and extend Newtonian dynamics and Maxwellian electromagnetism. One of these, the general theory of relativity, had profound observable consequences in the realm of the very large and provided a revolutionary new approach to the origin, development, and structure of the universe on the cosmic scale. The equally profound consequences of the other new theory, quantum mechanics, were primarily observable in the realm of the very small, of atomic and subatomic spatial dimensions and the brief time intervals characteristic of the changes in the configuration of these microscopic systems. Although these theories appear to deal with disjoint extremes along the continuum of physical size, both of them were the result of novel and profound investigations of the nature of measurement and a re-assessment of the extent to which information can be acquired as the result of experimental observations.
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