Max Born was a distinguished German mathematician and physicist. He played a pivotal role in the development of quantum mechanics. He made huge contribution to the field of optics and solid-state physics. During 1920s and 1930s he also supervised the work of many pronounced physicists. His work in ‘fundamental research in Quantum Mechanics, specifically in the statistical elucidation of the wave function’ made him earn ‘Nobel Laureate’ in Physics in 1954. Born was also a friend and collaborator of Albert Einstein. However, Born had to struggle a lot to make his presence felt during his early and mid-career. Despite making path-breaking discoveries in maths and physics he was under-appreciated and over shadowed by others. However his work, thoughts, contributions and developments towards the field of maths and quantum physics made the subjects what they are today. Let us browse through some of the most famous quotes and sayings by Max Born, the eminent physicist and mathematician of all times.
I believe that ideas such as absolute certitude, absolute exactness, final truth, etc. are figments of the imagination which should not be admissible in any field of science... This loosening of thinking seems to me to be the greatest blessing which modern science has given to us. For the belief in a single truth and in being the possessor thereof is the root cause of all evil in the world.
Science is not formal logic-it needs the free play of the mind in as great a degree as any other creative art. It is true that this is a gift which can hardly be taught, but its growth can be encouraged in those who already posses it.
It is a fascinating fact that father and son have given the most striking evidence for the apparently contradictory properties of the electron: the father proving its character as a particle, the son its character as a wave... Thomson was extremely proud of his son's success and tried to assimilate the new results into his old convictions.
Something which is against natural laws seems to me rather out of the question because it would be a depressive idea about God. It would make God smaller than he must be assumed. When he stated that these laws hold, then they hold, and he wouldn't make exceptions. This is too human an idea. Humans do such things, but not God.
And the continuity of our science has not been affected by all these turbulent happenings, as the older theories have always been included as limiting cases in the new ones.
Intellect distinguishes between the possible and the impossible; reason distinguishes between the sensible and the senseless. Even the possible can be senseless.
If God has made the world a perfect mechanism, He has at least conceded so much to our imperfect intellect that in order to predict little parts of it, we need not solve innumerable differential equations, but can use dice with fair success.
I have tried to read philosophers of all ages and have found many illuminating ideas but no steady progress toward deeper knowledge and understanding. Science, however, gives me the feeling of steady progress: I am convinced that theoretical physics is actual philosophy. It has revolutionized fundamental concepts, e.g., about space and time (relativity), about causality (quantum theory), and about substance and matter (atomistics), and it has taught us new methods of thinking (complementarity) which are applicable far beyond physics.
If alpha [the fine-structure constant] were bigger than it really is, we should not be able to distinguish matter from ether [the vacuum, nothingness], and our task to disentangle the natural laws would be hopelessly difficult. The fact however that alpha has just its value 1/137 is certainly no chance but itself a law of nature. It is clear that the explanation of this number must be the central problem of natural philosophy.
During my span of life science has become a matter of public concern and the l'art pour l'art standpoint of my youth is now obsolete. Science has become an integral and most important part of our civilization, and scientific work means contributing to its development. Science in our technical age has social, economic, and political functions, and however remote one's own work is from technical application it is a link in the chain of actions and decisions which determine the fate of the human race. I realized this aspect of science in its full impact only after Hiroshima.
The difficulty involved in the proper and adequate means of describing changes in continuous deformable bodies is the method of differential equations. ... They express mathematically the physical concept of contiguous action.
Einstein's Theory of Relativity
His [Erwin Schrödinger's] private life seemed strange to bourgeois people like ourselves. But all this does not matter. He was a most lovable person, independent, amusing, temperamental, kind and generous, and he had a most perfect and efficient brain.
The human race has today the means for annihilating itself--either in a fit of complete lunacy, i.e., in a big war...or by the careless handling of atomic technology, through a slow process of poisoning and of deterioration in its genetic structure.
It is natural that a man should consider the work of his hands or his brain to be useful and important. Therefore nobody will object to an ardent experimentalist boasting of his measurements and rather looking down on the 'paper and ink' physics of his theoretical friend, who on his part is proud of his lofty ideas and despises the dirty fingers of the other.
Experiment and Theory in Physics
The problem of physics is how the actual phenomena, as observed with the help of our sense organs aided by instruments, can be reduced to simple notions which are suited for precise measurement and used of the formulation of quantitative laws.
Experiment and Theory in Physics