The concept is rather interesting. Each program in this series consists of two people having a conversation for half an hour. The program covers a wide variety of topics — recent discussions ranged from the Israeli healthcare system to Arab culture.
I was asked to have a conversation with Dr. Robert Aumann, a mathematician who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2005. We were supposed to talk about the nature of mathematics and its role as the language of science, but the conversation wandered into the nature of science in general.
In particular, we both agreed that while there is no doubt that some physical reality independent of humans exists out there (Otherwise, as Woody Allen once said: “If nothing really exists, I definitely overpaid for my last carpet”), our DESCRIPTION of that reality — what we call “science” — is heavily influenced by human perception and concepts.
As an example, take a simple statement such as: We are held by the force of gravity onto a sphere called Earth. This statement is loaded with concepts that are creations of the human mind. What is a sphere? It is the collection of all the points that are at an equal distance from a certain point in space. But what is a point? What is distance? What is space? What is a force?
Aumann and I also agreed, however, that the human endeavor to uncover the “laws of nature” would not have been possible at all had such laws not existed in the first pace. In other words, if a hydrogen atom on Earth behaved very differently from a hydrogen atom in a galaxy that is a million light years away, or if the results of experiments in Alabama produced entirely different results from those of the same experiments carried out in New Mexico, all our attempts to understand the universe would have been doomed.
Nature has been kind to us, being governed by universal laws, rather than by some parochial bylaws. This way, even with our biased human minds, we have a chance at deciphering Nature’s grand design.