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Category Archives: The New Sciences

The Manager’s Stone

We have seen that philosophers of all ages have sought both to understand how the world works, and to discover the key that explains it all – better yet, that unlocks it all; that enables us to manipulate the laws of physics at will. We seek the secret core at the center of all the complexity, the buttons we can push that will unfailingly produce the results we want, so that we can go back to ignoring all the impossibly convoluted unfolding of events between the pushing of those buttons and the emergence of the consequences we desire. . .

The Philosopher’s Stone

The first alchemists sought the now legendary “philosopher’s stone” – a special material that could be used to turn common metals into gold. In time, it came to be believed that this magic substance could solve other intractable problems in life as well, not least among them the conquering of death itself. And serious philosophers really searched for this material . . .

The alchemists

An astronomer concluded a discussion of the likelihood of life elsewhere in the universe by enthusing about how fulfilling it would be to find it, because it would help us learn more about who we are. But the quantum physicists argue that the question is, at bottom, irrelevant because, not to put too fine a point on it, so are we. . .

The Management Uncertainty Principle

We’ve seen how physicists have discovered the limitations on their ability to attain precise and comprehensive knowledge about the characteristics of an object at a given moment in time. How certain, in the face of this from physics, are we in our own field that we can even identify precisely the vital components of management – or, even more implausibly, of individual leadership . . .

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

One of the most peculiar phenomenon uncovered in physics over the past century is known as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. This states – to the great frustration and irritation of many – that we cannot know with precision both elements of certain pairs of characteristics of an object. Most commonly, position and velocity are used, and the meaning of the principle is that the more precise is our knowledge about an object’s position, the less so is our knowledge of its speed, and vice versa. There is some debate about what this principle is saying to us at a fundamental level . . .