EDWARD'S LECTURE NOTES:

More notes at http://tanguay.info/learntracker

C O U R S E

Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

Larry Lagerstrom, Stanford University

C O U R S E L E C T U R E Dirac, Einstein, and Mathematical Beauty Notes taken on June 23, 2015 by Edward Tanguay |

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"make things as **simple** as possible, but not simpler"

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we don't want to multiply hypotheses unnecessarily

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strike a **balance** between explanatory power and over-complexity

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"Our experience hitherto justifies us in trusting that nature is the realization of the simplest that is **mathematically** conceivable."

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how is it that mathematics is so **successful** in describing the physical reality and nature, especially in the field of physics

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Einstein believes that examining things mathematically, by thinking mathematically, we can get at the **essense** of nature

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others looked for the **beauty** in mathematics

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Paul Dirac

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the generation after Einstein

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although they were **contemporaneous**

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applied relativity to the new theory of **quantum** mechanics

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famous for always saying that he looked for beauty in his **equations**, that how he knows they are true

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but there are many cases when beauty can lead one **astray**

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you may find beautiful, very **symmetric** equations, which, however, do not match reality

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there is room for debate here

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quantum electrodynamics

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1930s - 1940s

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theory **predicts** certain values to 8 or 9 decimal places

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experiments verify this