Thursday, 23 April 2009

This is a Story...

This is a story from the 17th Century.
It was a fine morning in the city of Greece. The town square was packed with people. Three people were about to be executed on the guillotine; a priest, a lawyer and a Theoretical Physicist. The priest was to go first. He was made to place his head in position and then asked if he had any last words. He said “Yes, yes, I do! I want everyone here to know that I am innocent. I believe in God and am sure that he will not let me die.” And so the blade of the guillotine was lifted up and the rope was let go. To everyone’s amazement the blade stopped just inches above the priest’s neck. The priest was set free.
It was now the Lawyer’s turn. He too was asked to position his head correctly and if he had any last words. He said “I do not believe in God, but Justice shall save me.” And so the blade was lifted again and again, the rope was let go. And again the blade stopped just inches above the lawyer’s neck. The lawyer too was set free.
And now it was the Physicist’s turn. Like before he too was asked if he had any last words. And he said “I don’t believe in God and I am not familiar with the workings of Justice but I do believe in Science. And if you look up” he continued “you will see that the rope has a knot which gets stuck in the pulley as it comes down. If you remove the knot, the guillotine will work properly again.”
And that, my dear friends was the end of the Physicist.

I heard this told by Michio Kaku, one of my favourite physicists. 
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