About this blog

Virgil wrote these wise words many a century ago:

Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.
(Happy is he who can know the causes of things).

— Virgil, in Georgicon, 29 BCE.

A cool phrase by its own right, only made cooler by being written in Latin, it should come as no surprise that those last three words not only name this blog, but are also the motto of several institutions.

And that, in a nutshell, is what this blog will be about: the pursuit of happiness through knowledge of the causes of things. Or as the tagline puts it, working out the details of the physical world.

In doing so we will heavily rely on the language best suited for such exploits: that of mathematics. I know that this may be a let down for many potential readers, but there really is no way around it, a point made as clear as it can be by Ernesto Sábato, an Argentinian physicist turned writer:

Someone asks me for an explanation of Einstein’s theory. Enthusiastic, I tell him about tensors and tetradimensional geodesics.

– I didn’t understand a word – he tells me, astonished.

I think for a while and then, with less enthusiasm, provide him with a less technical explanation, keeping some of the geodesics, but involving airplane pilots and shooting guns.

– I think I get most of it – my friend tells me, happily. But something still escapes me: those geodesics, those coordinates…

Depressed, I go into deep concentration and give up on geodesics and coordinates; ferociously, I devote myself exclusively to airplane pilots that smoke as they travel at the speed of light, chiefs of station that shoot a gun in their right hand, while they take times with a stopwatch in their left one, trains and bells.

– Now! Now I do understand relativity! – says my friend happily.

– Yes, – I answer bitterly -, but now it isn’t relativity anymore.

– Ernesto Sábato, in One and the Universe, 1968.


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