Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'd heard of these discoveries before, but the author of "In Search of Schrodinger's Cat" helped make it all clearer by saying that at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, scientists made important discoveries about the insides of the atom before they had a correct idea of how the atom was made.

So I have read about these discoveries of X-rays and various other rays and when I read I had it over the discoverers because I have a vaguely accurate picture of an atom in my mind. Sort of like a solar system with lots of empty space. Without the precise solid location that planets have, but sort of kind of solar systemy.

Whereas the people noticing X-rays and all the gang were barely into the age of believing in atoms and not into the age of knowing what it was like. They tended to think that atoms were lumps with even texture throughout--missing the emptiness which is basic and counter intuitive.

John Gribben saying that in many ways they discovered things in the wrong order was helpful. They were not in a mental position to understand what they discovered.

The fog we are all partly in. And I have that solar system picture, which is also wrong, because the electrons orbiting are not like planets but like clouds, like a fog, like something only people very good at equations can understand. And I and everything I've ever met is made of this structure I can't understand. But that I understand in some ways better than the people who started to understand it. Life is a a fog, but a changing and interesting one.