Quantum mechanics and Archimedes

A couple of citations from Lucio Russo, The Forgotten Revolution, How Science Was Born in 300 BC and Why it Had to Be Reborn

The departure of physics from the ancient scientific method started at the turn of the twentieth century, when an enormous increase in the range of observed phenomena demanded the creation of new scientific theories, toward which no light could come from reading Archimedes nor yet from browsing through all of Plutarch.”

Instead of proposing a third scientific theory, scientists such as de Broglie and Bohr postulated ‘particle-wave duality’ and the ‘complementary principle’. Faced with the inappriority of two mutually incompatible theories, a culture that still confused theoretical entities with real objects found it normal to attribute the nature inconsistency of science itself.

And perhaps, too, when the Pythagorean school ran into an impasse in classifying the diagonal of the square, someone resorted to Eastern teachings and the inherently contradictory nature of the world, and proposed a solution: to declare the diagonal a profoundly ambiguous entity featuring a duality or complementary between even and odd.”


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