lee_smolin's picture
Physicist, Perimeter Institute; Author, Einstein's Unfinished Revolution
Smolin's Law

Smolin's First Law

Genuine advances are rarely made by accident; in fact, the outcome of a scientific investigation is usually less dramatic than originally hoped for. Therefore, if you want to do something really significant in science, you must aim high and you must take genuine risks.

Smolin's Second Law

In every period and every community there is something that everybody believes, but cannot justify. If you want to understand anything, you have to start by ignoring what everyone believes, and thinking for yourself.

This was advice given to me by my father when I was a child. Feynman said something very similar: "Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion."

Smolin's Third Law

Time does exist.

Smolin's Zeroth Law

A measure of our ignorance about nature is the extent to which our theories depend on background structures, which are entities necessary to define the quantities in the theory, that do not themselves refer to anything which evolves dynamically in time. Our understanding can always be deepened by bringing such fixed, background structures into the domain of dynamical law. By doing so, we convert absolute properties, defined with respect to background structures, into relational properties, defined in terms of relationships among dynamical degrees of freedom.