Niels Bohr cytaty

Niels Bohr Fotografia
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Niels Bohr

Data urodzenia: 7. Październik 1885
Data zgonu: 18. Listopad 1962
Natępne imiona: Нильс Бор

Niels Henrik David Bohr – duński fizyk, laureat Nagrody Nobla w dziedzinie fizyki w 1922 za opracowanie badania struktury atomu.

Jego prace naukowe przyczyniły się do zrozumienia budowy atomu oraz rozwoju mechaniki kwantowej. Wikipedia

„Przeciwieństwa się uzupełniają.“

—  Niels Bohr

Contraria sunt complementa. (łac.)
dewiza Bohra.

„(…) twoja teoria jest szalona, jednak za mało szalona, aby być prawdziwą.“

—  Niels Bohr

Inna wersja: (…) twoja teoria jest szalona. Nie możemy się jednak zgodzić co do tego, czy jest ona wystarczająco szalona.
do Wolfganga Pauliego; cytat przypisywany.

„Albert Einstein: Bóg nie gra w kości.
Niels Bohr: Albercie, przestań wreszcie mówić Bogu, co ma robić.“

—  Niels Bohr

reakcja Bohra, gdy Einstein po raz kolejny powtórzył swój słynny aforyzm.
Źródło: Olga Andriejewa, W głowach uczonych, „Russkij Rieportior”, tłum. „Forum”, 27 września 2010.

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„Nie wierzę, ale słyszałem, że to działa, nawet jeśli się nie wierzy.“

—  Niels Bohr

cytat przypisywany Bohrowi przez Heisenberga, odpowiedź fizyka na pytanie, czy wierzy w działanie zawieszonej na ścianie w jego domu podkowy.
Źródło: Jostein Gaarder, Świat Zofii. Cudowna podróż w głąb historii filozofii, Warszawa 1995, tłum. Iwona Zimnicka, s. 396.

„Stop telling God what to do with his dice.“

—  Niels Bohr

A response to Einstein's assertion that "God doesn't play dice"; a similar statement is attributed to Enrico Fermi
Disputed
Wariant: Einstein, don't tell God what to do.
Wariant: Don't tell God what to do with his dice.
Wariant: You ought not to speak for what Providence can or can not do. – As described in The Physicists: A generation that changed the world (1981) by C. P. Snow, p. 84

„We must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry.“

—  Niels Bohr

In his first meeting with Werner Heisenberg in early summer 1920, in response to questions on the nature of language, as reported in Discussions about Language (1933); quoted in Defense Implications of International Indeterminacy (1972) by Robert J. Pranger, p. 11, and Theorizing Modernism : Essays in Critical Theory (1993) by Steve Giles, p. 28
Kontekst: We must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images and establishing mental connections.

„Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods of ordering and surveying human experience.“

—  Niels Bohr

"The Unity of Human Knowledge" (October 1960)
Kontekst: Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods of ordering and surveying human experience. In this respect our task must be to account for such experience in a manner independent of individual subjective judgement and therefore objective in the sense that it can be unambiguously communicated in ordinary human language.

„I consider those developments in physics during the last decades which have shown how problematical such concepts as "objective" and "subjective" are, a great liberation of thought.“

—  Niels Bohr

Remarks after the Solvay Conference (1927)
Kontekst: I consider those developments in physics during the last decades which have shown how problematical such concepts as "objective" and "subjective" are, a great liberation of thought. The whole thing started with the theory of relativity. In the past, the statement that two events are simultaneous was considered an objective assertion, one that could be communicated quite simply and that was open to verification by any observer. Today we know that 'simultaneity' contains a subjective element, inasmuch as two events that appear simultaneous to an observer at rest are not necessarily simultaneous to an observer in motion. However, the relativistic description is also objective inasmuch as every observer can deduce by calculation what the other observer will perceive or has perceived. For all that, we have come a long way from the classical ideal of objective descriptions.
In quantum mechanics the departure from this ideal has been even more radical. We can still use the objectifying language of classical physics to make statements about observable facts. For instance, we can say that a photographic plate has been blackened, or that cloud droplets have formed. But we can say nothing about the atoms themselves. And what predictions we base on such findings depend on the way we pose our experimental question, and here the observer has freedom of choice. Naturally, it still makes no difference whether the observer is a man, an animal, or a piece of apparatus, but it is no longer possible to make predictions without reference to the observer or the means of observation. To that extent, every physical process may be said to have objective and subjective features. The objective world of nineteenth-century science was, as we know today, an ideal, limiting case, but not the whole reality. Admittedly, even in our future encounters with reality we shall have to distinguish between the objective and the subjective side, to make a division between the two. But the location of the separation may depend on the way things are looked at; to a certain extent it can be chosen at will. Hence I can quite understand why we cannot speak about the content of religion in an objectifying language. The fact that different religions try to express this content in quite distinct spiritual forms is no real objection. Perhaps we ought to look upon these different forms as complementary descriptions which, though they exclude one another, are needed to convey the rich possibilities flowing from man's relationship with the central order.

„Nowadays, the individual seems to be able to choose the spiritual framework of his thoughts and actions quite freely, and this freedom reflects the fact that the boundaries between the various cultures and societies are beginning to become more fluid. But even when an individual tries to attain the greatest possible degree of independence, he will still be swayed by the existing spiritual structures — consciously or unconsciously.“

—  Niels Bohr

Remarks after the Solvay Conference (1927)
Kontekst: In mathematics we can take our inner distance from the content of our statements. In the final analysis mathematics is a mental game that we can play or not play as we choose. Religion, on the other hand, deals with ourselves, with our life and death; its promises are meant to govern our actions and thus, at least indirectly, our very existence. We cannot just look at them impassively from the outside. Moreover, our attitude to religious questions cannot be separated from our attitude to society. Even if religion arose as the spiritual structure of a particular human society, it is arguable whether it has remained the strongest social molding force through history, or whether society, once formed, develops new spiritual structures and adapts them to its particular level of knowledge. Nowadays, the individual seems to be able to choose the spiritual framework of his thoughts and actions quite freely, and this freedom reflects the fact that the boundaries between the various cultures and societies are beginning to become more fluid. But even when an individual tries to attain the greatest possible degree of independence, he will still be swayed by the existing spiritual structures — consciously or unconsciously. For he, too, must be able to speak of life and death and the human condition to other members of the society in which he's chosen to live; he must educate his children according to the norms of that society, fit into its life. Epistemological sophistries cannot possibly help him attain these ends. Here, too, the relationship between critical thought about the spiritual content of a given religion and action based on the deliberate acceptance of that content is complementary. And such acceptance, if consciously arrived at, fills the individual with strength of purpose, helps him to overcome doubts and, if he has to suffer, provides him with the kind of solace that only a sense of being sheltered under an all-embracing roof can grant. In that sense, religion helps to make social life more harmonious; its most important task is to remind us, in the language of pictures and parables, of the wider framework within which our life is set.

„The objective world of nineteenth-century science was, as we know today, an ideal, limiting case, but not the whole reality.“

—  Niels Bohr

Remarks after the Solvay Conference (1927)
Kontekst: I consider those developments in physics during the last decades which have shown how problematical such concepts as "objective" and "subjective" are, a great liberation of thought. The whole thing started with the theory of relativity. In the past, the statement that two events are simultaneous was considered an objective assertion, one that could be communicated quite simply and that was open to verification by any observer. Today we know that 'simultaneity' contains a subjective element, inasmuch as two events that appear simultaneous to an observer at rest are not necessarily simultaneous to an observer in motion. However, the relativistic description is also objective inasmuch as every observer can deduce by calculation what the other observer will perceive or has perceived. For all that, we have come a long way from the classical ideal of objective descriptions.
In quantum mechanics the departure from this ideal has been even more radical. We can still use the objectifying language of classical physics to make statements about observable facts. For instance, we can say that a photographic plate has been blackened, or that cloud droplets have formed. But we can say nothing about the atoms themselves. And what predictions we base on such findings depend on the way we pose our experimental question, and here the observer has freedom of choice. Naturally, it still makes no difference whether the observer is a man, an animal, or a piece of apparatus, but it is no longer possible to make predictions without reference to the observer or the means of observation. To that extent, every physical process may be said to have objective and subjective features. The objective world of nineteenth-century science was, as we know today, an ideal, limiting case, but not the whole reality. Admittedly, even in our future encounters with reality we shall have to distinguish between the objective and the subjective side, to make a division between the two. But the location of the separation may depend on the way things are looked at; to a certain extent it can be chosen at will. Hence I can quite understand why we cannot speak about the content of religion in an objectifying language. The fact that different religions try to express this content in quite distinct spiritual forms is no real objection. Perhaps we ought to look upon these different forms as complementary descriptions which, though they exclude one another, are needed to convey the rich possibilities flowing from man's relationship with the central order.

„Two sorts of truth: profound truths recognized by the fact that the opposite is also a profound truth, in contrast to trivialities where opposites are obviously absurd.“

—  Niels Bohr

As quoted by his son Hans Bohr in "My Father", published in Niels Bohr: His Life and Work (1967), p. 328
Unsourced variant: The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
As quoted in Max Delbrück, Mind from Matter: An Essay on Evolutionary Epistemology, (1986) p. 167. It is the hallmark of any deep truth that its negation is also a deep truth

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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