Friday, August 21, 2009

FROM THE CLASSIC ARCHIVES, DOSSEY'S SPACE, TIME AND MEDICINE: The relationship of scientific observation and world-view was the subject of an interchange between two of this century's eminent scientists, Albert Einstein and Werner Heisenberg. Heisenberg relates how he as a young scientist initially met Einstein. While discussing how the scientific endeavour proceeds and how scientists go about their work, Einstein discounted Heisenberg's view, which expressed the traditional belief that scientists observe, measure, and then form conclusions dispassionately from the data thus collected. Einstein contended that the reverse is true, that the scientist begins with a belief or a model, and that this preconceived view determines to a major extent what is observed.

- Werner Heisenberg, "Quantum Mechanics and a Talk with Einstein (1925-1926)," in Physics and Beyond (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), pp. 59-69.