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Edward Witten Quotes
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We know a lot of things, but what we don't know is a lot more.
Edward Witten
I don't care about movies. I tend to play badminton once a week.
Edward Witten
Movies
,
Care
,
Week
As for the forces, electromagnetism and gravity we experience in everyday life. But the weak and strong forces are beyond our ordinary experience. So in physics, lots of the basic building blocks take 20th- or perhaps 21st-century equipment to explore.
Edward Witten
Life
,
Experience
,
Strong
I just think too many nice things have happened in string theory for it to be all wrong. Humans do not understand it very well, but I just don't believe there is a big cosmic conspiracy that created this incredible thing that has nothing to do with the real world.
Edward Witten
Nice
,
Understand
,
Wrong
Even before string theory, especially as physics developed in the 20th century, it turned out that the equations that really work in describing nature with the most generality and the greatest simplicity are very elegant and subtle.
Edward Witten
Work
,
Nature
,
Greatest
Quantum mechanics brought an unexpected fuzziness into physics because of quantum uncertainty, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. String theory does so again because a point particle is replaced by a string, which is more spread out.
Edward Witten
Again
,
Point
,
Unexpected
One of the basic things about a string is that it can vibrate in many different shapes or forms, which gives music its beauty.
Edward Witten
Music
,
Beauty
,
Gives
As of now, string theorists have no explanation of why there are three large dimensions as well as time, and the other dimensions are microscopic. Proposals about that have been all over the map.
Edward Witten
Time
,
Three
,
Large
I have a tendency, more than most other physicists, to try to figure out everything all at once, before I publish. And even to try to figure out everything in my head, without pencil and paper.
Edward Witten
Head
,
Figure
,
Paper
As far as extra dimensions are concerned, very tiny extra dimensions wouldn't be perceived in everyday life, just as atoms aren't: we see many atoms together but we don't see atoms individually.
Edward Witten
Life
,
Together
,
Far
I wouldn't have thought that a wrong theory should lead us to understand better the ordinary quantum field theories or to have new insights about the quantum states of black holes.
Edward Witten
Understand
,
Wrong
,
Black
One very important aspect of string theory is definitely testable. That was the prediction of supersymmetry, which emerged from string theory in the early '70s.
Edward Witten
Early
,
Definitely
,
Theory
Having those extra dimensions and therefore many ways the string can vibrate in many different directions turns out to be the key to being able to describe all the particles that we see.
Edward Witten
Ways
,
Key
,
Therefore
If I take the theory as we have it now, literally, I would conclude that extra dimensions really exist. They're part of nature. We don't really know how big they are yet, but we hope to explore that in various ways.
Edward Witten
Nature
,
Hope
,
Ways
I'm actually, for the most part, a complete agnostic politically.
Edward Witten
Complete
,
Agnostic
Quantum mechanics brought an unexpected fuzziness into physics because of quantum uncertainty, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
Edward Witten
Unexpected
,
Physics
,
Brought
You have that one basic string, but it can vibrate in many ways. But we're trying to get a lot of particles because experimental physicists have discovered a lot of particles.
Edward Witten
Ways
,
Basic
,
Discovered
Technically you need the extra dimensions. At first people didn't like them too much, but they've got a big benefit, which is that the ability of string theory to describe all the elementary particles and their forces along with gravity depends on using the extra dimensions.
Edward Witten
Ability
,
Along
,
Using
If you are a researcher, you are trying to figure out what the question is as well as what the answer is.
Edward Witten
Question
,
Figure
,
Answer
But the beauty of Einstein's equations, for example, is just as real to anyone who's experienced it as the beauty of music. We've learned in the 20th century that the equations that work have inner harmony.
Edward Witten
Music
,
Work
,
Beauty
It's indeed surprising that replacing the elementary particle with a string leads to such a big change in things. I'm tempted to say that it has to do with the fuzziness it introduces.
Edward Witten
Change
,
Indeed
,
Leads
It's an exaggeration to say that I came up with M-theory.
Edward Witten
Came
In Einstein's general relativity the structure of space can change but not its topology. Topology is the property of something that doesn't change when you bend it or stretch it as long as you don't break anything.
Edward Witten
Change
,
Space
,
General
There was a long history of speculation that in quantum gravity, unlike Einstein's classical theory, it might be possible for the topology of spacetime to change.
Edward Witten
Change
,
History
,
Might
Regardless of any deviations, it was clear I was supposed to end up in math and physics.
Edward Witten
Clear
,
Physics
,
Supposed
Biography
Nationality:
American
Type:
Mathematician
Born:
August 26
, 1951
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