New Pathways in Science

New Pathways in Science

New Pathways in Science

New Pathways in Science

Excerpt

This volume contains the Messenger Lectures which I delivered at Cornell University in April and May 1934. Chapters II and VIII have been added; the remaining chapters correspond to the twelve lectures of the course. It was one of the conditions of the lectureship that the lectures should be published.

Except for a small book on the Expanding Universe, my last spell of writing was about six years ago, when Stars and Atoms (1927), The Nature of the Physical World (1928) and Science and the Unseen World (1929) practically exhausted all that it was then in my mind to say. A scientific writer is placed in a difficulty by his earlier books; either his new book will appear as a rather disjointed addendum to them, or he must perfunctorily go over again a great deal of matter which he has no wish to rewrite. Being unwilling to adopt the second alternative, I determined to make what I could of whatever had come to my mind in the last six years. Accordingly I spoke at Cornell on a variety of topics, using as a nucleus the material contained in a number of addresses and lectures which I had had occasion to deliver since 1929, and adding other subjects to which I had been giving attention. The general plan was that each lecture should have a separate theme, except that Indeterminism was spread over two lectures. The choice of subjects has allowed a certain amount of continuity of treatment; but there has been no attempt to provide a systematic introduction to modern scientific thought. Perhaps the biggest gap is the absence of any account of the elementary ideas of the theory of relativity . . .

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