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Re: Chapter 9: The Mighty Atom
I'm enjoying the book, though not necessarily finding it comment-worthy in the manner of other books we read. That happens sometimes. And I think Bill Bryson isn't a big one for controversy, anyway.
This chapter gets into the heaviest weeds as far as the tough concepts that science began to uncover toward the mid 20th Century. I suppose there is no reasonable chance I'll understand quantum theory, but there's consolation in some physicists admitting they don't understand it, either. Science seemed to contribute to our ability to make sense of the world and to predict, to an extent, what could happen in the short term. Then, with quantum theory emphasizing the unpredictability of the action of atoms in certain conditions, I wonder whether we should just accept a limit to our ability to control our world. The impossibility of predicting the human future might have a parallel or even an origin in the sub-atomic world. I'm thinking, too, of evolution, where it appears impossible to predict the ways that organisms will evolve. In hindsight evolution might look tidy and headed down a path, but in reality there is no path, and the way things are is one of millions of ways it could have been.
I'm sure there is a more sophisticated way to look at the concepts Bryson deals with here.
Last edited by DWill on Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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