Saturday, July 21, 2018
The counter-intuitive science.........
...............of sea levels. A very interesting interview. Do read it.
There are so many interesting problems in our science that you can see with your eyes. But your eyes can fool you. Richard Feynman, the great physicist, used to start his physics lectures by showing students their intuition could take them a long way. They could do things just through intuition that would get them roughly the right answer. Then he used to throw some counterintuitive examples at them. Then he said, “This is why you need physics. You need to understand when your intuition might go wrong.” I firmly am a Feynman acolyte. There are some things that you can explain, but as a scientist you’re always going to face things that are counterintuitive. You’re never going to understand that water is falling near an ice sheet from your everyday experiences of the bathtub. You need to bring in something more; in this case, Newton’s second law of gravitation. You have to bring in physics; otherwise, you’re never going to explain that.