Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Deep Point

Frank Wilczek, a Nobel Prize winner, physicist, related that when he was about to begin teaching in Princeton, he consulted a friend and mentor who showed him a “ well-worn paperback manual" that was allegedly used to teach "navy recruits to set up and use radio communications.” His mentor told him to look at the first chapter, titled “Ohm’s Three Laws”. Frank Wilczek said that he was “familiar with one Ohm’s law, the famous relation V=IR
that connects voltage(V) , current (I), and resistance ( R ) in an electric circuit.” That was Ohm's first law. He was curious to find the other 2 laws and he turned over the pages and discovered that the second law is I=V/R and of course the third law is R=V/I.
Obviously the “three laws are all equivalent to each other and the story becomes a joke.” What’s the point? There is a deep point to this story. There is a shallow point which he said his mentor wants him to absorb-“When teaching beginners, you should try to say the same things several times in slightly different ways. “Connections that experts understand easily may not be obvious to beginners. What’s the deeper point? “The deep point connects with a statement made by the great theoretical physicist Paul Dirac. When asked how he discovered the new laws of nature, Dirac responded, ‘I play with equations.’ The deep point is that different ways of writing the same equation can suggest very different things, even if they are logically equivalent.”( taken from the book, The Lightness of Being by Frank Wilczek)

I am student of photography and I'm trying to learn from the expert photographer the art and science of taking beautiful pictures. Angles and perspectives of the same objects or composition- a matter of repetition, analysis and reflection-my ways of learning.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Thank you for sharing. As I teach on topics which are quite redundant for me, I need to continually remember and realize it is something totally new for the participants.