– By Robert U. Ayres
From early childhood I have been fascinated by learning “how things work”. I suppose that is quite natural for children, but for one reason or another, most children are discouraged at an early age. The world is too complicated, there are too many “things” to learn about, there are conflicting short-term needs for time, they are told that parents or teachers or priests will explain it all in due course when we are “ready”, etc.
For some reason, however, I found a book called “The Strange Story of the Quantum” that introduced a curious idea, namely that there is an underlying simplicity that can be grasped by human intelligence, and that understanding “things” can sometimes be approached from “below”, so to speak rather than from the usual perspective “above”. I read that a fizzy-haired man named Albert Einstein had already found a way to put that underling simplicity in a single mathematical equation, a “theory of everything”. It is why I was attracted to physics.