The discovery that a fundamental law of physics cannot be precisely defined challenges the ability of mathematics as we know it to describe reality completely
WHAT links a heap of sand, the edge of a cloud and actor Patrick Stewart’s baldness? If you are only vaguely grasping what I am getting at, you are on the right track: they are all examples of imprecision in our description of the world. How many grains of sand can you take away from the heap and still call it a heap? Where exactly does the cloud end and the sky begin? How many hairs is Patrick Stewart allowed to have, and of what length, before he is classed as not bald? It is hard – perhaps impossible – to tell.
Such vague concepts, with their messy boundaries and borderline cases, are all around us. Until now, we have tended to assume they represent imperfections in our state of knowledge, our ways of communication or our modes of…
Eddy Keming Chen
Read full article