This week’s quotation on Soft Machines comes from that pioneer of British empiricism, Sir Francis Bacon:
It cannot be that axioms established by argumentation can suffice for the discovery of new works, since the subtlety of nature is greater many times than the subtlety of argument.
I write this with Philip Moriarty in mind, since he’s going to be taking a break from participating in debates on Soft Machines and elsewhere. I would like to record my gratitude to Philip, because he’s made a tremendous contribution to this blog in the last couple of months. I think he’s made a really important contribution to the debate, not least by forcibly reminding us how subtle and complex surface physics can be. As another oft-quoted saying goes (usually attributed to Wolfgang Pauli):
God made solids, but surfaces were the work of the devil.