Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Supremacy of Theory

Einstein on the supremacy of (correct) theory:
Suddenly Einstein interrupted the reading and handed me a cable that he took from the window-sill with the words, "This may interest you." It was Eddington's cable with the results of the famous eclipse expedition. Full of enthusiasm, I exclaimed, "How wonderful! This is almost the value you calculated!" Quite unperturbed, he remarked, "I knew that the theory is correct. Did you doubt it?" I answered, "No, of course not. But what would you have said if there had been no confirmation like this?" He replied, "Da k├Ânnt' mir halt der liebe Gott leid tun. Die Theorie stimmt doch" ("I would have had to pity our dear God. The theory is correct all the same").
– Ilse Rosenthal-Schneider, Reality and scientific truth. Discussions with Einstein, von Laue and Planck (1980).

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