Einstein on Intuition

Nyc [yes it is a first name pronounced like NICK]:

Here’s some more from Einstein on the subject:

“Man tries to make for himself in the fashion that suits him best a simplified and intelligible picture of the world. He then tries to some extent to substitute this cosmos of his for the world of experience, and thus to overcome it.

He makes this cosmos and its construction the pivot of his emotional life in order to find in this way the peace and serenity which he cannot find in the narrow whirlpool of personal experience.

The supreme task—is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction.

There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach them.”

Not that I am at all clever about math or physics for I am not; but I once stumbled across an utterly startling remark allegedly made by Einstein to the effect that NO ONE could ever have arrived at Relativity through inductive reasoning from observed phenomena. I took this to mean that someone of the stature of an Einstein or Godel or Tesla or Euler simply browse through the kaleidoscope of axiomatic systems in their mind until they stumble upon a curious correlation between what is axiomatic and what is phenomenal. Imaginary number were initially so named because no one dreamed that there might be some analog in the real world but I am told that wave mechanics requires the imaginary square root of -1 [ i ]. An Annapolis tutor who never made tenure, William Pitt, told me about “model theory” which is sort of like what this is all about. Namely, Copernicus’s epicycles accurately predict the positions of heavenly bodies to within a certain degree of accuracy but is there an actual physical analog in nature to an epicycle?


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