October 16, 2009

common sense & happiness

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
- Albert Einstein

What happens to, say, nuclear spin systems in strong magnetic fields is governed by the relevant equations, but may have little to do with expectations born of your daily experience -- unless and until your daily experience includes lots of nuclear magnetic resonance!

It's fun to learn how physical systems behave, and why, but it's perhaps especially fun when phenomena that formerly would have violated your idea of common sense, begin to seem, well, sensible.

Phenomena such as:
Like Popper, I believe that great joy can come when our common sense is changed by our experiences:

"One of the many great sources of happiness is to get a glimpse, here and there, of a new aspect of the incredible world we live in, and of our incredible role in it."
- Karl Popper

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