private thoughts of a physicist and chessplayer
“Luck is the residue of design”
(Courtesy Francesco Stiffoni)
Yeah, in other words, there ain’t no such thing as Luck.
After several decades, the most important thing I can tell about engineering design is that one works in an environment with a very large number of degrees of freedom.
The first principle is that one never does anything for just one reason.
The second principle is that finding the best design will require a great deal of tries and a certain amount of learning.
I would guess that theoretical physics is the same.
I think luck is sometimes a mis-used term. We give that name to what we do not understand, if it favors us; others use more religious hues. I think we should reserve the term to benign fluctuations of truly random processes, which are few in our everyday life.
Carl, I think it is true of mechanical engineering, of software engineering alike, and of most human occupations involving some degree of creativity. Now, designing a physical theory should not be creative IMO, but evidence-driven. However, there are other occupations of the theoretical physicist which do involve careful design as well as creativity. But I am not qualified to talk about it…
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