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Foundations of Physics from Galileo and

Newton to Modern Ideas of Synergy

Ida Acobian
Institute of Philosophy, Sociology and Law,
Yerevan, Armenia
Foundations of Modern Science
Galileo and the Concept of Inertia
Perhaps Galileo's greatest contribution to physics was his formulation of the concept of inertia: an
object in a state of motion possesses an ``inertia'' that causes it to remain in that state of motion
unless an external force acts on it. The idea of inertial motion became a cornerstone
of Newton's laws of motion.

Newton's First Law of Motion

1564 - 1642
Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external
force is applied to it.

• By foundations we will understand origins and beginnings of Science. Physics of Galileo

and Newton starts from The Law. This is First Law of Newton, Law of Inertia. Newton
calls it postulate.

3. Galilieo notices that inertial systems do not exist in Nature since any physical body is
under action of many forces, which could be eliminated only mentally.

• Strictly speaking Modern Science begins with Logic, or with Science about Laws of
Thought: A ≡ A, A is the object lacking in inner activity. Newton
1643 - 1727
• We should remember that Physics of Aristotle was based on the “principle of perfection
of circular motion” as said Galileo.

• It is very important to note that Ancient perception was based not on the Identity law, but
on the law of analogies of Hermes Trismegistus.
Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus

1. It is true, without falsehood, and most

2. What is below is like that which is above,
and what is above is like that which is
below, to accomplish the miracle of the
one thing.
Symmetry in Logic
• Aristotle’s Law of Identity; A ≡ A This is first simplest definition of

384 - 322 BC
• This law of formal Logic or law of consistency in thinking underlies all
mathematical science in its classical part. In due course this law
revealed tendency to “localization” in specified intervals of abstraction.

• If law of consistency is based on absolute Symmetry, then logical

thinking is asymmetric, i.e. it should consist of only “right” or true
propositions and nowhere be “left” or false ones.
Rotation as Equilibrium

Rotation is a special kind of motion. Here rest and motion are

indistinguishable. And they define absolute equilibrium, measure
and place of things.
Symmetry in Mathematics
• Mathematics is the kingdom of Symmetry.
• The principle of Symmetry lies in the foundations of Mathematics as
well as of Logic .
• But Symmetry in Mathematics is not absolute. Since Pythagoras
there is also primordial incommensurability or Asymmetry. In
Geometry side and diagonal of square; circuit and diagonal of circle
are incommensurate. That is the problem of incommensurability of
ideas of discreteness and continuity at conceptual level.
• During its history Mathematics gone through crisis three times.
a) First crisis is connected with Zenon’s Paradox.
b) Second crisis is the problem of infinity.
c) Third one is the Paradox of Cantor’s set theory. This crisis has
lead to the issue of the challenge of substantiation and creation of
• The Symmetry is the principle unifying “the tower of Babel” of
modern Mathematics. Pythagoras
• At the same time if we could get rid of paradoxes Mathematics
would become into grand tautology. 569 - 475 BC
Method of Transitions
• To reveal origins and foundations of Physics we perform transitions into the
fields of Logic and Mathematics.
• Nicolaus Copernicus was first to apply Method of Transitions at translation
of reference frame from geocentric to heliocentric one.
• The method of Copernicus for us will be not like revolutionary deed made
once but rather working tool at transitions from Physics to Logic and
Mathematics, from Physics to History of New Science, from Physics to
Philosophy and Biology, etc..
• The goal of the method of transitions to see whole picture of Physics
development from the very beginning to nowadays.
Nicolaus Copernicus

• Wolfgang Goethe used knowingly method of transitions in his natural

• Golden rule of the method of transitions is to remember that measure or
metrics of any system contains in itself and can’t be introduced or imposed
from outside.
• This is only method allowing to investigate Nature without its fragmentation.
Therefore Method of Transitions could be called as Method of Freedom in

Wolfgang Goethe
Symmetry in Physics
• Symmetry has entered in Science and later in mathematical natural science due to
Group Theory of Evarist Galois. He introduced Group conception in Mathematics and
proposed to classify algebraic equations by their groups of symmetry.
• Symmetry opens new page in Natural Science by creating a basis for the integration of
all fragmented parts of scientific knowledge and merging them into one whole “picture
of the world”.

• We figured out that Symmetry is principle, language and method lying in the basis of
Logic and Mathematics.
• But at the same time we detect that Symmetry is not absolute.
Evarist Galois
1811 - 1832
• To construct physical theory it is insufficient to know only law but initial or boundary
conditions are also necessary.
• Physical theory from one is side symmetries or regularities of physical laws, from
another side is irregularities, randomness, i.e. asymmetries of real physical world taken
out of brackets into the field of initial or boundary conditions.
• Choice of initial conditions is rather arbitrary since it’s out of any physical theory.

• “How artificial wouldn’t seem such a fragmentation of world’s structure, abstraction lying
in the basis of such fragmentation belongs to the number of most fruitful ideas
advanced by human reason. Namely that allowed to create natural sciences.”
E. Wigner

• But we should not forget that this abstraction, which is the reason of accuracy and
Eugene Wigner
strictness in mathematical thinking has its limits, determined by Physics of null 1902 - 1995
organization (expression of Albert Ducrocq). This abstraction leads Physics either into
over-complications or paradoxes when it goes out of that limits.
1. “Demon of Laplace” is able to comprehend by glance “evolution” of the
world and restore the past and predict the future with almost absolute
accuracy by given initial conditions. This is the world of classical Physics,
determinism and necessity.

• Only after the discovery of Second Law of Thermodynamics allowing some

“randomnicities” in the form of fluctuations, i.e. a little bit of asymmetry in
body of physical theory, it becomes clear that development of Laplace’s
world from the past to the future completely reversible in any point is rather Pierre-Simon Laplace
“caricature of evolution” (I. Prigogine). 1749 - 1827
• Law of degradation of energy is the only law in Physics talking about
evolution of the system, about unidirectionality and irreversibility of its

• Ludwig Boltzmann hardly tried to prove illusion of entropy reversibility with

aid of fluctuation hypothesis. According to that hypothesis irreversibilty of
entropy increase has probability character and the universe has to be in
thermodynamical equilibrium or Warmetod.
• Toward this end new statistical thermodynamics was developed based on
mathematical theory of probabilities.
• This is very important landmark in the history of Physics not only from point
of view of creation of Statistical Physics but also because asymmetry is not
carried out into the field of initial conditions anymore but it is inside of Ludwig Boltzmann
theory, though in form of improbable fluctuations.
1844 -1906
The Fall of Parity
• Irreversibility of time, or entropy assigning Time’s Arrow, was driven away from
Physics in every possible way since times of Clausius and Boltzmann. Time’s
Asymmetry took its fitting place only after the discovery of violation of Parity
conservation in weak interactions.
• Conservation laws seeming such an unshakable framework for physics after Chen Ning Yang
this event got their limits, got localized. 1926

• Symmetry breaking, which was perceptible as dissonance, nonconservation,

absence of order all of a sudden became a first principle of physical science or
principle of structure formation.
• Classical Physics before Parity Fall is symmetrical or Physics of null
organzization (Albert Ducrocq).
• Physics in its urge to describe real world broaden its foundations and along
Tsung-Dao Lee
with Symmetry principle has also “principle of Spontaneous Symmetry 1922
• But how so negative principle as violation of Symmetry, such a vacancy in
bagel could lie in foundations of Physics? Physics doesn’t deal with principle of
Asymmetry. Term Asymmetry is more appropriate in Biology.
• The situation in Physics after the Fall of Parity in weak interactions should be
called as crisis of foundations.
• To resolve this crisis it is necessary to make a transition into the origins of
foundations. Chien-Shiung Wu
1912 - 1997
"Philosophy is written in this grand book -- I mean the universe --
which stands continually open to our gaze; but it cannot be
understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language
and interpret the characters in which it is written. It is written in
the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles,
circles, and other geometric figures. Without these it is
humanly impossible to understand a single word of it."
Leonardo da
During five centuries history of Science since times of Leonardo da
Vinci we have sufficiently studied “language and characters” of grand
book of the universe and now we are beginning to recognize, that
mathematical language and physical writings are only its first part,
“Book of the Dead”, which has led us into new labyrinth of physics of
elementary particles and problem of life and put in front of choice
either new science being able to become “Book of the Alive” or
disgraceful self-destruction in chasm between two these “Books”.

"in any special doctrine of nature there can be only as much

proper science as there is mathematics therein" Immanuel Kant
• Time is forgotten dimension.
• Prigogine experienced a shock in front of “glaring contradiction” in scientific
approach to the problem of time, arising from second law of thermodynamics
when he was still a student.
• Prigogine has intended to solve the contradiction between two evolutionary
d) Darwin theory, discussing about tendency of systems toward complication.
e) Second law of thermodynamics, talking about degradation and destruction of Ilya Prigogine
any given structure. 1917 - 2003
• Search for one physical law or, quest of “universal criterion of evolution”,
naturally including in itself both directions of evolution has lead to better
understanding of the fact that we need completely new scientific approach.
• Prigogine is talking about revolution in physics, much more radical than all
ones which took place since times of ancient Greek.
• Starting from the “arrow of time” of law of energy degradation Prigogine and
coworkers come to new concept of time, and space with time like structure.
• Foundations of physics undergo changes. Symmetric space-time of traditional
science, where time is space like, gives way to new concept of irreversible
time and space with time like structure.
• This concept makes it possible to describe evolution and self-organization.
• However operator of asymmetric irreversible time imposed on symmetric
dynamical physical picture lead to the new concept of complexity in physics.

Problem of Life Religion