What is more important, physicist’s knowledge or imagination?

On trust to the own imagination

Without the knowledge accumulated in centuries, one fails even to make a step in physics. On the other hand, without the imagination, how can you perceive new things that are absolutely unknown yet. Therefore, Einstein assigned a major role in his discoveries to his imagination. Another person featured by a free flight of thought was Niels Bohr, whose imagination had put the beginning of quantum picture of the micro-world, which has been then developed by his disciples. Both of these genius were not so universal in physics and masterly in its mathematical apparatus as Lev Landau was, who has deepened knowledge in so many areas of fundamental physics. However, his mind of a highly educated theorist was not inclined to go beyond the usual, as if was orthogonal to searches in the dark. Landau was selecting his disciples by difficult exams that required to have in-depth knowledge in physics. But it happens that knowledge exclude imagination and unbiased thinking. Perhaps this is why Landau once asked Bohr how he managed to concentrate around himself the creative youth.

Bohr and Landau discussed the importance of imagination for the  development of physics

The accumulation of knowledge in physics is slowing down when its mathematical apparatus replaces theory while experiment turns into computing, where there is less room for imagination.


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