Beauty in Revolution: The Aesthetics of Scientific Progress

  • Ernst Peter Fischer


Sometimes science makes philosophers clueless. Why is it, they keep asking, that research in the natural sciences is so successful and that very often it is actually possible to know and explain a thing? Not only the blue of the sky on a cloudless day or the red of clouds at sunset, both brought about by the simple scattering process of particles, but also all of the colors of a metal heated long enough to show its incandescence. To be able to explain these colorful pallets that depend on temperature, physicists have to know not only that there are atoms, they also have to understand how these atoms are built and what gives them stability. How do scientists know this? How do they know that they know anything—for example, that planets move in an elliptical orbit around the sun, or that atoms have a positively charged nucleus and that negatively charged electrons move around the nucleus symmetrically but do not make a classical orbit? How do they know that light travels across a vacuum at the speed of light in the form of electromagnetic waves and can at the same time appear as a packet of energy? How do they know that bacteria have genes whose variations (mutations) take place spontaneously and arbitrarily and are not induced?


Circular Orbit Elliptical Orbit Inductive Logic Scientific Revolution Necker Cube 
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Copyright information

© Elizabeth Oehlkers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernst Peter Fischer

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