Murray Gell-Mann Quotes

Image, My colleagues in elementary particle theory in many lands [and I] are

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My colleagues in elementary particle theory in many lands [and I] are driven by the usual insatiable curiosity of the scientist, and our work is a delightful game. I am frequently astonished that it so often results in correct predictions of experimental results. How can it be that writing down a few simple and elegant formulae, like short poems governed by strict rules such as those of the sonnet or the waka, can predict universal regularities of Nature?

Murray Gell-Mann

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Image, The mathematics clearly called for a set of underlying elementary objects-at that

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The mathematics clearly called for a set of underlying elementary objects-at that time we needed three types of them-elementary objects that could be combined three at a time in different ways to make all the heavy particles we knew. ... I needed a name for them and called them quarks, after the taunting cry of the gulls, "Three quarks for Muster mark," from Finnegan's Wake by the Irish writer James Joyce.

Murray Gell-Mann

Image, Three principles – the conformability of nature to herself, the applicability of

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Three principles - the conformability of nature to herself, the applicability of the criterion of simplicity, and the "unreasonable effectiveness" of certain parts of mathematics in describing physical reality - are thus consequences of the underlying law of the elementary particles and their interactions. Those three principles need not be assumed as separate metaphysical postulates. Instead, they are emergent properties of the fundamental laws of physics.

Murray Gell-Mann

Image, What is especially striking and remarkable is that in fundamental physics, a

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What is especially striking and remarkable is that in fundamental physics, a beautiful or elegant theory is more likely to be right than a theory that is inelegant. A theory appears to be beautiful or elegant (or simple, if you prefer) when it can be expressed concisely in terms of mathematics we already have. Symmetry exhibits the simplicity. The Foundamental Law is such that the different skins of the onion resemble one another and therefore the math for one skin allows you to express beautifully and simply the phenomenon of the next skin.

Murray Gell-Mann