|Born||Hannes Olof GÃ¶sta AlfvÃ©n
30 May 1908
|Died||2 April 1995
|Fields||Electrical engineering and Plasma physics|
University of Uppsala
|Alma mater||University of Uppsala|
|Doctoral advisor||Manne Siegbahn
Carl Wilhelm Oseen
Carl-Gunne FÃ¤lthammar
Nobel Prize in Physics (1970)
There is no rational reason to doubt that the universe has existed indefinitely, for an infinite time. It is only myth that attempts to say how the universe came to be, either four thousand or twenty billion years ago.
I have always believed that astrophysics should be the extrapolation of laboratory physics, that we must begin from the present universe and work our way backward to progressively more remote and uncertain epochs.
Most people today still believe, perhaps unconsciously, in the heliocentric universe every newspaper in the land has a section on astrology, yet few have anything at all on astronomy.
We have to learn again that science without contact with experiments is an enterprise which is likely to go completely astray into imaginary conjecture.
We should remember that there was once a discipline called natural philosophy. Unfortunately, this discipline seems not to exist today. It has been renamed science, but science of today is in danger of losing much of the natural philosophy aspect.
To try to write a grand cosmical drama leads necessarily to myth. To try to let knowledge substitute ignorance in increasingly larger regions of space and time is science.