New Wine Merge May 2 b 2020.pdf


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Richard Feynman (May 11, 1918 - Feb 15, 1988) was already an accomplished theorist when hired
by Caltech in 1961 to teach an introductory physics course. He soon distinguished himself as an
enchanter of the classroom, deservedly monikered The Great Explainer. On his blackboard he wrote
“If I cannot create it, I do not understand it,”
where it remained for eight years. His lectures went on to become cultural classics, blending brilliant
yet accessible explanations of scientific principles with poignant meditations on life’s most profound
questions – eventually collected and made publically available as “Feynman Lectures on Physics”
Among the most beautiful and inspiriting, the third lecture “Relation of Physics to Other Sciences”
In this eloquent portrayal of cosmic connectedness found in Vol I, ¶ 3-10, he leaves in a single
paragraph, an indispensable message for future generations: A poet once said:
“The whole universe is in a glass of wine.” We will probably never know in what
sense he said that, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we
look in the glass of wine closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the
things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and
weather, the reflections in the glass, and our imagination adds the atoms. The glass
is a distillation of the earth’s rocks and in its composition we see the secrets of the
universe’s age and the evolution of the stars. What strange array of chemicals are in
the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the
substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization: all life
is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering the
cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the
consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide the
glass of wine – this universe, into parts – physics, biology, geology, astronomy, and
so on – remembering that nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together,
not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let us give one more final pleasure: drink it
and forget it all!

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