Re: virus: Memetic evolution

Mitchell Porter (
Wed, 20 Mar 1996 20:54:21 +1000 (EST)

[C. David Noziglia]
> Mitchell Porter wrote:
> >
> > > Task: You are one of the caretakers of 20th century scientific knowledge,
> > > and a severe budget crisis is forcing your program out of existence. You
> > > may save the knowledge of only 5 twentieth century scientific ideas or
> > > technologies for posterity. What ones do you choose and why?
> >
> > Here's an initial proposal, on the plane of ideas only:
> >
> > 1. General relativity
> Let me play the part of devil's advocate, critic, and gadfly. On this one,
> why General and not Special? Can you understand General without Special?
> Are they one idea, or two?

When I proposed "quantum field theory", I was hoping to get both special
relativity and quantum mechanics at one go. So general relativity was
listed separately because it involves ideas not yet incorporated into
quantum field theory. If you'll allow me, I'll rewrite the first two items
on the list as

1. Special and general relativity
2. Quantum mechanics and quantum field theory

> > 2. Quantum field theory
> Which one? QED? The Standard Model? Superstrings? Whose version?
> Feynman? Schwinger? Tomonaga?

QED, the standard model and string theory would all be nice to hang onto,
but more important is the idea of a quantum field in general. I would
want to include both a formal approach to field quantization (involving
operators) and Feynman's sum-over-histories concept.