1. SCIENTIFIC METHOD

Religion is considered by the common man as a truth,

by the wise as a lie and by the rulers as useful.

- Seneca. Roman empire. 54 BC

 

Estimated year of creation: 800 BC

Main exponents of Science in antiquity: Democritus, Anaximenes, Anaximander, Thales, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Euclides and Pythagoras.

Symbols of Science in ancient times:

Symbols of Science today:

 

E = mc²

Main authors of Science: Plato, Euclid, Pythagoras, Aristotle, Copernicus, Galileo, Bacon, Descartes, Newton, Tesla, Einstein, Bohr, Dirac, Feynman, Hawking, to name a few.

 

Main deities of Science: None. - Practitioners of the Scientific Method can presuppose the existence of deities, but Science proclaims, above all, not to know anything, and therefore, it should not presuppose the existence of a God.

Number of practitioners in the world: Unknown.

Brief description of the Scientific Method:

This is not the place to describe the profound effects that the scientific method has had on all civilizations in the world, but rather to describe its progress in a general way. Its origin can be found in ancient Greek culture, as it is the laws of logic, written for the first time, by Aristotle (384-322 BC), which established this method of thought. The complete set of Aristotle's works on logic (known, as: Organon , "instrument"), was not available in the West until it was translated into Latin in the 12th century. From then on, Aristotelian logic would become an important field of study and would form the basis of the advancement of medieval Christian scholars, (who considered Aristotle as "The Philosopher", in large part, due to the influence that his works had about Thomas Aquinas ). The interest and importance that was given to logic as the basis of rational investigation is manifested in all the systems of logic developed since then, but Aristotle's progress is accompanied by the intellectual advance of other thinkers, such as:

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Pythagoras (572 BC - 496 BC)

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Greek philosopher and mathematician who was born in Ionia, on the island of Samos, around 572 BC In Crotona he created a philosophical-religious sect inspired by Orphism, whose members lived in a community of goods, participating in a set of beliefs and knowledge that remained secretly for the uninitiated. The influence exerted in Crotona by happiness was considerable, apparently, reaching the enmity of the people who rebelled against the rule exercised by the Pythagorean sect and, in the course of that popular revolt, set fire to their properties and expelled them from the city. Pythagoras took refuge in Metaponto, where he died shortly after, around 496 BC.

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There is little information about the life of Pythagoras that can be considered reliable, since his status as the founder of a religious sect led to the early emergence of a legendary tradition around him. Some sources indicate that the Pythagorean community was always surrounded by mystery; the disciples had to wait several years before being presented to the teacher and always keep strict secrecy about the teachings received. Women could be part of the brotherhood; the most famous of his adherents was Teano, wife perhaps of Pythagoras himself and mother of a daughter and two sons of the philosopher.

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Pythagoras is credited with transforming mathematics into a liberal teaching by abstractly formulating results, regardless of context. The effort to rise to the generality of a mathematical theorem from its fulfillment in particular cases exemplifies the Pythagorean method for the purification and perfection of the soul, which taught to know the world as harmony. By virtue of this, the universe was a cosmos, that is, an ordered set in which the celestial bodies kept a harmonic arrangement that caused their distances to be in proportions similar to those corresponding to the intervals of the musical octave; the celestial spheres, when turning, produced the so-called music of the spheres, inaudible to the human ear because it was permanent and perpetual. In a sensible sense, the harmony was musical; but its intelligible nature was numerical, and if everything was harmony, number turned out to be the key to all things. While almost all his predecessors and contemporaries (from the Milesian philosophers Thales , Anaximander and Anaximenes to Heraclitus and the Eleatas Xenophanes and Parmenides ) sought the arche or constitutive principle of things in physical substances ( water , air, fire, earth ), the Pythagoreans saw such a principle in number: numerical laws and proportions govern natural phenomena, revealing the order and harmony that prevails in the cosmos. Only with the discovery of such laws and proportions do we come to an exact and true knowledge of things. The unitary will of the Pythagorean doctrine was reflected in the relationship it established between the cosmic and moral order; For the Pythagoreans, man was also a true microcosm in which the soul appeared as the harmony of the body. In this sense, they understood that medicine had the function of restoring the harmony of the individual when it was disturbed, and, being music an instrument par excellence for the purification of the soul, they considered it, for the same reason, as a medicine for the body. .

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The sanctity preached by Pythagoras implied a whole series of hygienic norms based on taboos such as the prohibition of consuming animals, which seems to have been directly related to the belief in the transmigration of souls; It is said that Pythagoras himself declared himself the son of Hermes, and that his disciples considered him an incarnation of Apollo. The belief in metempsychosis, an idea foreign to the Greek tradition, implied the conception of the soul as an immortal rational entity imprisoned in the body and responsible for its actions, so that the being in which it would reincarnate afterwards would depend on its conduct in life. the death of the body.

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Likewise, there are few references to his work among the ancients, including those of Plato and Aristotle, but abundant from them (which raises many doubts about its authenticity) and in which, in addition, legend and legend are mixed. reality, or what could be taken as a real reference to Pythagoras or the Pythagoreans (today we know, for example, that the attribution to Pythagoras of the discovery of the theorem that bears his name is not defensible - The Pythagorean Theorem establishes the relationship between the sides of a right triangle: the square of the hypotenuse (the longest side) is equal to the sum of the squares of the legs (the short sides that form the right angle). From the practical use of this relationship there are testimonies from other civilizations prior to the Greek (such as the Egyptian and Babylonian), but Pythagoras is credited with the first proof of the theorem, as well as numerous other advances.) -. It is also difficult to determine which doctrines belong to Pythagoras and which could have been developed by his later disciples: Alcmeon or Philolaus, for example. Pythagoras' philosophy develops in two ways: one mystical-religious and the other mathematical-scientific.

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h ttps: //www.webdianoia.com/presocrat/pitagoras.htm

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https://www.biografiasyvidas.com/biografia/p/pitagoras.htm

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Plato (428- 347 BC)

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Arístocles of Athens, nicknamed Plato (Πλάτων = "the one with broad shoulders"), was born around 428 BC in Athens, or perhaps in Aegina.

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More than a century after the death of Pythagoras, during a trip to southern Italy made before the founding of the Academy, Plato learned of Pythagorean philosophy through his disciples. It has been claimed that the conception of number as the principle of all things paved the way for Platonic idealism. In any case, the influence of Pythagoras is clear, at least in the Platonic doctrine of the soul (immortal and prisoner of the body), which achieves its liberation through knowledge. In this way, through Plato, various Pythagorean conceptions would become recurring or controversial themes in Western philosophy; Still in the seventeenth century, the astronomer, Kepler , who was responsible for the discovery of the elliptical orbits of the planets, still believed in the music of the spheres. Other concepts of his, such as harmony and proportion, would be incorporated into music and the arts. Pythagoras has also been seen as the precursor of an aspiration that would have a reputation after Galileo's scientific revolution: the mathematical formalization of knowledge.

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There are solid grounds for considering Plato as the true founder of philosophy as a new 'institutionalized discipline', as an academic discipline (which cannot be confused with what we now call university philosophy, from professors for professors). It could then be said that before Plato there was no proper philosophy, but prehistory of philosophy, pre-Socratic philosophy, as Panecius the Stoic designated all the thinkers who preceded Socrates, such as Anaximander (everything arises from the "apeiron"), Anaximenes (the air it is the foundation of all that is), Thales of Miletus (water is the foundation), Heraclitus (fire is the foundation) and Democritus (first idea of ​​the atom as an essential "being" of all that is).

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During the year 399 the sentence and death of Socrates took place, which would clear the subsequent paths of the father of academic Philosophy. Fearing being bothered by his condition of friend and disciple of Socrates, Plato takes refuge in Megara where he probably stayed three years, entering into a relationship with the school and with Euclid of Megara. Later he left for Africa, visiting, first, Egypt and, later, Cyrenaica, where he visited Aristipo de Cirene and the mathematician Theodore. From this moment on, various versions of his travels are given. For some he returns directly to Athens, for others he goes to southern Italy in order to see the Pythagorean sees and Archytas of Tarentum. Plato continued his work at the head of the Academy in Athens until 347, the date of his death. One of the main fields of investigation of the Academy was dialectics, conceived as the art of thinking linked to language, as a grammar of ideas, technical elaboration of concepts and their relationships. Dialectics is the supreme form of pedagogical activity (discussion, discourse, argumentation). The other field of investigation was constituted by the mathematical-astronomical construction of the cosmos. The Academy became the seat of Greek mathematics where men like Theaetetus and Eudoxus of Knidos (400-347) shone. On its frontispiece was the following inscription: "No one enters here without knowing geometry." The study of the different parts of mathematics (geometry, arithmetic and number theory) constituted the necessary propaedeutic to dialectics. Astronomy was not understood as a discipline of the astral phenomenon, but as a geometry of the stars, as a stereometry that leads to the application of proportions and the explanation of the stars themselves (Republic, 529 CE).

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Plato was very little known throughout the Middle Ages. At the end of the 15th century, thanks to the patronage of Lorenzo de Medicis, when the printing press had only been in operation for 25 years, the first printed edition of Plato's complete works appeared, in Latin translation. As the Greek manuscript that Ficino and his collaborators used for their translation is now lost, this first Latin version acquires more importance.

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Dialogues Ed. JB Bergua, Madrid 1932-1960, incomplete.

Platonic dialogues. Ed. Hernando, Madrid 1936.

Dialogues Ed. Zeus, Madrid 1972.

Complete works. Introd. by JA Míguez. Tr. and various notes. Aguilar, Madrid 1977.

Complete works. Tr. Garcia Bacca. Presidency of the Republic and Central Univ., Caracas 1978-82.

Dialogues 5 vols. Introduc. by E. Lledó. Tr. and various notes. Gredos, Madrid 1981-1988.

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https://redhistoria.com/biografia-de-platon/

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http://www.filosofia.org/bio/platon.htm

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Euclid (330 - 265 BC)

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Euclid was born in Alexandria, around 330 BC, and stands out as a philosopher and mathematician, the father of geometry. He created various works, among which "Elements" stands out, which is a collection of works by other characters such as Chios and Hippocrates . Among the most important theorems of this work, we find:

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  • The sum of the interior angles of a triangle, add up to 180 degrees.

  • In a right triangle the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the legs (in reference to the Pythagorean theorem).

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Euclid's geometric principles are fundamental in areas such as physics and astronomy, and served as inspiration for the Ptolemaic theory of the Universe to be formulated in the second century. His work, Elements, has had more than a thousand editions since it was first published in 1482, which is why it is affirmed that Euclid is one of the most widely read mathematicians in history. It is believed that the end of Euclid's contributions and research occurred in 265 BC, at which time he died.

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https://www.biographyonline.net/scientists/euclid.html

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The number of Greek thinkers who made substantial contributions to the scientific method over the next several centuries is vast and scattered, but we know little about them because their advances were almost completely lost to the Latin West during the Middle Ages. In these times, science was protected and cultivated for centuries by the Arab culture, and was influenced by the Chinese and Indian cultures. The main contribution of Indian culture came to Europe, through Al-Khwārizmī (780 - 850 AD), with the place value number system, essential for the creation and development of arithmetic and algebra.

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Ibn al-Haytham (965-1040)

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Later, the work Book of Optics by the Muslim scientist Ibn al-Haytham (also known as Alhazen, 965-1040), emphasized the role that experimentation should have within the scientific method. And finally, Aristotelian logic was also studied by Jewish and Islamic scholars, such as Ibn Rushd (Averróes, 1126-1198) and Moisés Maimonides (1135-1204).

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Robert Grosseteste (1175-1253)

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Robert Grosseteste (1175-1253), was one of the first scholastic thinkers of Europe who understood the dual nature of scientific reasoning as conceived by Aristotle: a process, which from particular observations can reach universal laws, and then returns from the universal laws to the prediction of particular phenomena.

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Roger Bacon (1220-1292)

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Roger Bacon (1220-1292), inspired by the writings of Grosseteste, described a method that consists of a repetitive cycle of observation, hypothesis and experimentation, and also postulated the need for independent verification, surprisingly ahead of what William Whewell He would call many centuries later, in his History of Inductive Sciences (1837), the "hypothetico-deductive method". However, the admiration for Aristotle was not universal. Francis Bacon and René Descartes must be counted among the first thinkers to question the philosophical authority of the ancient Greeks and Catholic scholars.

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Francis Bacon (1613-1617)

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The reductionisms of Bacon and Descartes

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Francis Bacon published, in 1620, his Novum Organum ("The New Organon") with the intention of replacing the traditional logic with a new system that he determined superior. Bacon harshly criticized Aristotle, "who made his natural philosophy a mere slave to his logic" (Book I, Aphorism 54). According to Aristotle, scientific knowledge pursues universal truths and their causes, and this is achieved only through deductive reasoning in the form of syllogisms: it is deduction that allows scientists to infer new truths from those already established. On the contrary, while inductive reasoning is sufficient to discover universal laws by generalization, it fails to identify the causes of observed phenomena (that is, it describes the phenomena, but does not expose them). Therefore, although empirical observation has its own place in the Aristotelian method, knowledge acquired by induction cannot be scientific and reliable. In contrast, Francis Bacon determined that the primacy to investigate the causes of phenomena must be given to the induction of the particular to the general. In successive steps known as: method of agreement, method of difference and method of concomitant variation. Bacon compares different situations in which the phenomenon occurs, does not occur, and occurs in different degrees, thus seeking to find a factor that can be hypothesized as the cause of the phenomenon under investigation. The proposed hypothesis must be analyzed and compared with other hypotheses, in order to achieve an approach, through a gradual ascent, to the truths of "natural philosophy" (that is, the laws of nature). Bacon's work was left unfinished, so the method was never fully described. However, this inductive method had already been described before by the Persian philosopher, Avicenna (Ibn Sina), in his book The Canon of Medicine (1025).

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René Descartes (1596-1650)

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On the other hand, René Descartes follows a different approach than Bacon's experimental and practical method. In his works, Rules for the direction of the mind (1619) and his Discourse on the method (1637), he emphasizes the theoretical and rational aspects based on deduction, in order to avoid the deception of the senses (the Evil Genius). Both Descartes and Bacon propose to discover the laws of nature, either by deduction, from the first principles, or by induction, from observations. While Descartes doubts the accuracy of the information provided by the senses, Bacon highlights the intellectual obfuscations suffered by the mind and which hinder reasoning (his famous idols of the Tribe, the Cave, the Market and the Theater). The result is a certain fracture between two methods of reasoning, deduction and induction, which should cooperate to reach the truth, instead of competing as enemies to show which is more accurate.

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Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

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Disregarding induction as a means of discovering the laws of nature is not so much a teaching of Aristotle, but of those who cling to the "Aristotelian doctrine." For Aristotle, deduction is superior to induction, but both play their role in scientific investigation. What Aristotle did reject was the use of mathematical reasoning in other sciences than mathematics, such as physics: thus, his arguments for finding the natural causes of phenomena are purely qualitative, which makes his physics poorer than his logic. The merit of combining rational thinking, observation, experimentation, quantitative measurements and mathematical proofs, belongs mainly to the scientist, Galileo Galilei , who is credited with the saying: measure what can be measured, and what cannot be measured. can measure, make it measurable . This is perhaps the most daring, important and innovative step that Galileo took in terms of improving the scientific method, since the usefulness of mathematics in obtaining scientific results was far from evident at that time when mathematics was not considered they were suitable for discovering causes (which was the main objective of Aristotelian science). As the founder of the experimental scientific method, Galileo did not disregard theoretical reasoning in favor of experimental evidence. One of his most famous demonstrations was presented in the form of a "thought experiment," recounted in his Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Related to Two New Sciences (1638), his definitive scientific work.

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Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

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Isaac Newton finally consolidated the scientific method with an extraordinary development of applied mathematics, and laid the foundations of classical mechanics, whose inductive-deductive approach tried to emulate other sciences. His treatise, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687) is one of the most important scientific books ever written. His "rules of reasoning" are a recreation of Galileo's method, which, in essence, is still valid and is used by scientists today.

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Nikola Tesla (1856 - 1943)

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One of the best known phrases of Nikola Tesla, scientist of astro-Hungarian origin (today, Croatia), is the following -

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"Science is nothing but perversion in itself, unless its ultimate goal is to improve humanity."

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This phrase summarizes in some way the vision that Tesla had about science, and that distinguishes him, not only as a great scientist who understood the ethical purpose of Science, but, as an inventor who would never give up in the search for the natural causes of the universe and progress. This is why he was considered by different intellectuals as the best inventor of the 20th century. Tesla was an enigmatic, controversial and visionary man, who lived in a world that was not yet ready to receive and apply his theories and inventions. For example, he was just coming to New York when he was hired by Thomas Alva Edison. However, their employment relationship did not prosper, as Edison was a supporter of direct electric current and Tesla, of alternating electric current, and because Edison did not want to risk his fortune because of an employee who had just started. arrived from Europe, and discredited Tesla's work. Another example is that of the Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing company, which Tesla founded in 1886. Early investors disagreed with Tesla's plans for the development of an alternating current motor, and relieved him of his position at the company. But, Nikola Tesla did not give up and worked as a laborer in New York from 1886 to 1887, in order to survive and earn money for his next project.

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Without a doubt, one of Tesla's most advanced inventions was the creation of the induction motor, as it revolutionized the industry in every way. This invention offered for the first time the opportunity to use electrical energy in a sustainable and functional way as mechanical energy.

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https://www.tesla.com

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https://historia.nationalgeographic.com.es/a/nikola-tesla-genio-electricidad_14494

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Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955).

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Among all the advances that Albert Einstein contributed to contemporary physics, one of the most astonishing was his theory of relativity, which posits that absolute time must be replaced by a new absolute, the speed of light. With this idea, Einstein departed from the physical principles of classical physics, and imagined a reality where space and time are relative, and the speed of light is absolute (at the time, it was thought that space and time were absolute and the speed of light relative). Einstein also verified the equivalence between mass and energy, which would result in his famous formula "E = mc2", and challenged the wave theory of light, suggesting that light can also be considered as a collection of particles. These theories would open up the new world of quantum physics. Einstein won the Nobel Prize, in 1921, for his ideas in this work.

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https://www.britannica.com/biography/Albert-Einstein

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https://www.bibalex.org/Einstein2005/Achievements.htm

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(Niels Henrik David Bohr; Copenhagen, 1885 - 1962)

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Niels Bohr was a Danish physicist, considered one of the most dazzling figures in contemporary physics and, for his theoretical contributions and practical work, as one of the fathers of the atomic bomb. Bohr was awarded the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his research on the structure of atoms and the radiation emanating from them."

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Despite contravening principles of classical physics, his atomic model, which incorporated Rutherford's model of the planetary atom and the notion of quantum, of action introduced by Planck, made it possible to explain both the stability of the atom and its emission and absorption properties of radiation. In this theory, the electron can occupy some stationary orbits in which it does not radiate energy, and the emission and absorption processes are conceived as transitions of the electron from one stationary orbit to another.

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In 1913, Niels Bohr achieved worldwide celebrity in the field of physics by publishing a series of essays in which he revealed his particular model of the structure of the atom. Immersed in his research on the atom and quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr enunciated, in 1923, the principle of correspondence, to which he added in 1928 the principle of complementarity. As a result of this last contribution, the so-called Copenhagen School of quantum mechanics was formed around his figure, whose theories were fought by Albert Einstein (1879-1955). Despite these differences, always held on a theoretical level, the father of the theory of relativity recognized the Danish physicist as "one of the greatest scientific researchers of our time."

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A pioneer in the organization of international symposia and conferences on the peaceful use of atomic energy, in 1951 he published and disseminated throughout the world a manifesto signed by more than a hundred eminent scientists, in which it was stated that the public authorities should guarantee the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. For all this, in 1957, he received the Atoms for Peace award, convened by the Ford Foundation, to promote scientific research aimed at the progress of humanity.

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https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/1922/bohr/biographical/

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https://www.biography.com/scientist/niels-bohr

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Paul Dirac (Bristol, United Kingdom, 1902 - Tallahassee, United States, 1984)

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British physicist, son of a French teacher, of Swiss origin, Paul Dirac, studied at the school where his father taught, where he soon showed particular flair for mathematics. His reasoning was based on the assertion that a theory that tried to explain fundamental laws of the behavior of nature and that could be solidly constructed on the basis of approximations suggested by intuition, without being certain of what the events actually are. , given that these can become of such complexity that they can hardly be described with accuracy, for which the physicist must be content with only an approximate knowledge of reality. His was also the revolutionary idea according to which the behavior of the electron can be described by four wave functions that simultaneously satisfy four differential equations. It follows from these equations that the electron must rotate around its axis (electronic spin), and also that it can be found in energy states with a negative sign, which does not seem to correspond to physical reality.

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These and other brilliant contributions, such as the quantum theory of radiation or the statistical mechanics of Fermi-Dirac, earned him the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics, shared with Erwin Schrödinger , after having obtained the Lucasian chair of mathematics in the previous year. Cambridge, which he maintained until 1968. He eventually moved to the United States, where he was appointed Emeritus Professor at the University of Tallahassee in 1971.

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https://physicsworld.com/a/paul-dirac-the-purest-soul-in-physics/

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https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/1933/dirac/biographical/

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https://www.biografiasyvidas.com/biografia/d/dirac.htm

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Stephen William Hawking (1942 - 2018)

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Stephen Hawking, like Einstein, is one of the most influential physicists in contemporary science. He revolutionized physics with his theories of space-time, the 'big bang' and the radiation of black holes, which he reflected in his work "Brief history of time", published in 1988, and which became a great success at the level. worldwide, with more than 25 million copies sold. In addition to having a privileged mind, Hawking was a scientific popularizer who shared his theories about black holes and the formation of the universe, so that they are understandable by the general public. But, above all, the most surprising of Hawking's contributions was that he gave an alternative to the physics proposed by Einstein's theory of relativity, despite the limitation that his physical capacities imposed on him, and the progression of the degenerative disease he suffered from. Hawking was a fighter and a winner, an example of vitality and strength in the face of the cruelty of fate.

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https://www.eitb.eus/es/noticias/tecnologia/detalle/5462372/biografia-stephen-hawking-uno-mayores-cientificos-historia/

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https://www.biografiasyvidas.com/biografia/h/hawking.htm

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Elon Reeve Musk (1971 -).

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Elon Musk is a business tycoon, engineer, industrial designer and philanthropist, creator of the computer game, Space Invaders, and of the companies Sip2, Paypal (co-creator), Tesla, The Boring Company, Neuralink and Space X - the company largest in the world, in terms of earnings since 2020, and competes for the first place of the richest man in the world -.

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Musk is distinguished by having exceptionally combined the Scientific Method with industrial production. Some of his most impressive achievements have been the following:

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  • Create a digital method to carry out capital exchanges, which eliminates financial institutions from the process, and, therefore, reducing the cost considerably.

  • Lead humanity towards the transition from the use of combustion engines to electric engines with the production of electric cars in large volumes, (resulting in the safest, fastest and most technologically advanced cars of the moment).

  • Produce tunnel excavators to create a new high-speed underground transport system, and design, among many other machines, a transport system known as HyperLoop.

  • Produce various space vehicles that can safely land or be recovered,

  • Produce various space vehicles that can travel to Mars, return to Earth and be ready for their next lift-off in less than an hour, or use them to make air travel about twenty times faster than they are now.

  • Create an advanced interface (100 times more advanced than what existed at the time), which allows people to connect with the digital world, through the implantation of a chip inside the brain.

Today, his cultural, astrophysical, industrial and scientific achievements are considered on a par with those of Christopher Columbus, Nicholas Copernicus, Henry Ford, Thomas Alva Edison, Nikola Tesla and Steve Jobs, to name a few.

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https://www.tesla.com/elon-musk

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https://www.biography.com/business-figure/elon-musk