booberfish.com booberfish.com

Spacetime and Geometry coverThere’s something about this book that looks very inviting. It’s got a nice velvety matte burgandy cover, simple text layout, and a artistic phographic inset right in the middle. I see this book and I think it will be filled with similar artistic renderings, bright and colourful, illustrating all the wonders of the universe, like an art history of cosmology. But alas, upon opening it, we see the same old stuff from every one of my plain cover physics and math textbooks:

Spacetime and Geometry, open to chapter 2

I suppose I just built myself up for disappointment. But there’s something deeper going on here. I think everybody, at some point or another, gets a semester or at least one class in their university careers where everything starts being woven together. For me I suddenly saw complex variables being applied in signal processing, differential equations solving mechanics problems, mechanics in quantum physics, quantum physics explaining particle behavior, and looking at particles in special relativity. Suddenly it was obvious that all these classes were talking about the same thing. Here it happens again, except this time the connection is of a much different nature.

It is this: The page above, in my General Relativity textbook, covers the same material as a textbook in one of my philosophy classes, even with the same terminology. I always said there was a connection between physics and philosophy.

Such thoughts always bring me to think about where I want to take my studies after undergrad. I still can’t decide if I like philosophy because it’s just one step higher in abstraction than cosmology (one step too far, say some), or if I like cosmology because it’s one of the areas of physics that has the most philosophical implications. I tell people that I want to study “Philosophy and Physics” but not “Philosophy of Physics”. Unfortunately there are many graduate programs in the latter but only a couple of the former.

But what would a program in “Philosophy and Physics” be, anyway? Today I realised what was lacking about the phrase, and refined it. What I’m really interested in, what’s been my motivation all along is this: The Philosophical Consequences of Physics. In particular, the philosophical consequences of cosmology. Now all I have to do is find a graduate program for it.

Random FAQ Comments (0)

Leave a Reply