Quotation – March 27, 2013

In ancient days two aviators procured to themselves wings.  Daedalus flew safely through the middle air and was duly honored on his landing.  Icarus soared upwards toward the sun till the wax melted which bound his wings and his flight ended in fiasco …  The classical authorities tell us, of course, that he was only “doing a stunt”; but I prefer to think of him as the man who brought to light a serious constructional defect in the flying machines of his day.  So, too, in science.  Cautious Daedalus will apply his theories where he feels they will safely go; but by his excess of caution their hidden weaknesses remain undiscovered.  Icarus will strain his theories to the breaking-point till the weak joints gape.  For mere adventure?  Perhaps partly, that is human nature.  But if he is destined not yet to reach the sun and solve the riddle of its construction, we may at least hope to learn from this journey some hints to build a better machine.

Sir Arthur Eddington, 1927

Carpe Diem


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