Mr Tompkins in Wonderland, Or, Stories of C, G, and H

Mr Tompkins in Wonderland, Or, Stories of C, G, and H

Mr Tompkins in Wonderland, Or, Stories of C, G, and H

Mr Tompkins in Wonderland, Or, Stories of C, G, and H

Excerpt

From early childhood onwards we grow accustomed to the surrounding world as we perceive it through our five senses; in this stage of mental development the fundamental notions of space, time and motion are formed. Our mind soon becomes so accustomed to these notions that later on we are inclined to believe that our concept of the outside world based on them is the only possible one, and any idea of changing them seems paradoxical to us. However, the development of exact physical methods of observation and the profounder analysis of observed relations have brought modern science to the definite conclusion that this "classical" foundation fails completely when used for the detailed description of phenomena ordinarily inaccessible to our everyday observation, and that, for the correct and consistent description of our new refined experience, some change in the fundamental concepts of space, time, and motion is absolutely necessary.

The deviations between the common notions and those introduced by modern physics are, however, negligibly small so far as the experience of ordinary life is concerned. If, however, we imagine other worlds, with the same physical laws as those of our own world, but with different numerical values for the physical constants determining the limits of applicability of the old concepts, the new and correct concepts of space, time and motion, at which modern science arrives only after very long and elaborate investigations, would become a matter of common knowledge. We may say that even a primitive savage in such a world would be acquainted with the principles of relativity and quantum theory, and would use them for his hunting purposes and everyday needs.

The hero of the present stories is transferred, in his dreams, into several worlds of this type, where the phenomena, usually inaccessible to our ordinary senses, are so strongly exaggerated that they could be easily . . .

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