تاریخ شفاهی American Institute of Physics اخیرا با ساسکیند مصاحبه طولانی داشته که به نظرم خوندنش خالی از لطف نیست. من سعی میکنم بریدههایی از این گفتوگوی طولانی رو بدون ایجاد تغییر اینجا بذارم. متن کامل در اینجا در دسترس همگانه:
ورود به فیزیک
توی این مصاحبه ساسکیند از ماجرای ورودش به فیزیک و مسیر فیزیکدان شدنش میگه. از وضعیت و عقبه خانوادهش و تاثیر پدرش بر زندگیش. از اینکه برای مدتی همراه پدرش به شغل لولهکشی مشغول بوده و در گفتوگو با همکارهای پدرش کمکم متوجه میشه که ناخواسته سراغ شبه علم میرن! ساسکیند تعریف میکنه که کجا مدرسه و دانشگاه رفته. چی خونده و چه طور متوجه شده که رشتهای که دوست داره فیزیکه و نه مهندسی!
Harold Rothbart came around, and he was watching me, and he said, “Susskind, this is not for you. This is the wrong subject for you.” He told me he would fail me in the class unless I dropped out of engineering. … By that time, I was married. I had a child. “What am I going to do? My father is waiting for me to go into business.” “I want you to drop out of engineering.” I thought, “Well, this guy really thinks I’m stupid.” And then he said something that really touched me. He said, “You’re very, very smart. You should be a scientist. You should go into one of the sciences.”
ساسکیند از این میگه که چه طوری به درسهای پایه فیزیک علاقهمند شده. این که کتاب مکانیک کلاسیک گلدستین رو میخونه و خیلی کیف میکنه با وجود اینکه نویسنده این کتاب اصلا فیزیکدان نبوده! به نظر اون گلدستین هنوز هم کتاب خیلی استانداردی برای یادگرفتن مکانیک کلاسیکه چون خیلی خوب در مورد همیلتونیها و لاگرانژینها و کروشههای پواسون بحث کرده. یک بار هم سر کلاس مکانیک تحلیلی ساسکیند یکی ازش میپرسه که چه کتابیو پیشنهاد میکنی؟ میگه من نمیدونم چه کتابی خوبه، ترجیح میدم خودم بشینم یکی خودم بنویسم تا یکیو پیشنهاد کنم ولی یادمه وقتی اولین بار این چیزا رو خوندم از روی گلدستین خوندم و اون خیلی کتاب خوبی بود. در ادامه این مصاحبه میگه که بهترین کتابی که برای یادگرفتن کوانتوم خونده کتاب خود دیراکه. همین طور همیشه مقالههای نسبیت (خاص و عام) آینشتین روی میزشه و اونا رو میخونه ولذت میبره از سوالهای خیلی سادهای که آینشتین میپرسه و روشی که سعی میکنه به این سوالها پاسخ بده.
He made this surprising conclusion that light, as well as everything else, gravitates, from something that a 12-year-old could understand. That to me was the way that I wanted to do physics. It wasn’t that I wanted to imitate Einstein. It just felt right. This is the way to think about physics. You start with very, very simple observations about the world, and from them, you draw far-reaching conclusions. Gedankenexperiments— I really, really fell in love with the idea of thinking about physics from a very simple starting point and building on that.
در ادامه به این میپردازه که رسما استاد راهنمای خاصی نداشته ولی بعضیها توی این مسیر راهنماش بودن؛ به طور خاص به هانس بیته اشاره میکنه. اما میگه که هانس هیچ موقع نمیتونسته استاد راهنمای مناسبی برای اون باشه چون خیلی ذهن عملگرا و تجربی داشته و از نسبیت عام خوشش نمیاومده! بعدها فاینمن رو میبینه و شاید اون به معنی واقعی کلمه استاد راهنماش بوده ولی خب زمان زیادی میگذشته از این که مستقیما تحت نظارت فاینمن بخواد کاری کنه. فاینمن بیشتر دوستش بوده و ساسکیند مدل پرداختنش به فیزیک رو خیلی میپسندیده. به نظر ساسکیند، آینشتین توی لیگ غولهایی مثل نیوتون، ارشمیدس و گالیله بوده در حالی که فاینمن آدمی بوده که فوقالعاده بوده توی فیزیک. همیشه فاینمن رو به چشم یک انسان بامزه میدیده و نه خدایگان فیزیک! بعدها مری گل-من رو دیده و با این که همیشه اونو تحسین میکرده ولی آبش با اون توی یه جوی نمیرفته! برای همین گل-من هم چندان نقش راهنما براش نداشته. نکته جالب ولی اینه که میگه این روزها من راهنما دارم و اتفاقا اونا خیلی از من جوونتر هستن!
What did I—I did see something in Feynman’s physics. He also had a certain simplicity of thinking. The two examples that stand out, and I’ve talked about these publicly on occasion—well, there were three. The first was his ability to cut through the great difficulties of quantum field theory and just draw diagrams. How the hell did he figure that out? And he didn’t figure it out; he just made it up! People who tried to figure out what Feynman was doing could not get him to explain what he was doing. He just said, “Here it is. This is what it is.” … It was always, “Close your eyes, and see if you can see what the thing looks like.” In that sense, I think Feynman was a mentor. But it came a bit late for it to have really affected my own style. That already existed. I also admired Murray Gell-Mann enormously, but very different. Murray and I did not get along. In fact, I think we really disliked each other. But I could see his incredible ability to see patterns.
ساسکیند میگه افراد مختلف به شیوه های متفاوتی به فیزیک میپردازن. مدل انجام دادن اون این جوریه که به جاهایی که اصول با هم در تضاد هستن عمیقا فکر میکنه:
My friend Steve Shenker, for example, is a master of using output of calculation as data to generate new ideas or brilliant ideas. I never did a lot of calculation like that, or at least not for a long time. I did at one time, but not for a lot of time now. … My approach to physics—this was not done by design. My natural inclination is to focus on clashes of principle, on paradoxes, on Gedankenexperiments through which we view clashes of principle, and then eventually debug and understand what resolves the clashes of principle. So that’s a way of thinking that—I think it’s fairly rare. I don’t think any of my colleagues tend to do that.
علم و دین
از ساسکیند پرسیده میشه که زمانی که دانشگاه یشیوا بوده آیا محیط اونجا تحت تاثیر اندیشههای یهودی بوده یا نه.
I was at the Belfer Graduate School of Science. Which was a part of Yeshiva University, but it was separate. It was a graduate school of science. It was a very funny, idiosyncratic place. It was a marvelous place. It had some extraordinary scientists. Yakir Aharonov, Dave Finkelstein, Joel Lebowitz, Elliott Lieb. Freeman Dyson was on the faculty for a while. I was there for ten years. Wonderful mathematicians—Leon Ehrenpreis. And they were not all Jewish. Al Cameron, the great astrophysicist. James Truran, another astrophysicist. They were definitely not all Jewish. There was no religiosity there. In fact, most of the graduate students were not religious. A good fraction of them—most of the graduate students I interacted with were South American, and only a few of them were Jewish, Most not Jewish. I think there was a certain idealistic view to physics—the Aharonov view, the David Finkelstein view, the Joel Lebowitz way of approaching physics—a certain idealism about physics. I don’t mean political idealism. I mean—what should we call it? Love of Einstein, for a better word, although it wasn’t restricted to Einstein. And that may well have had to do with the origins of the Belfer Graduate School— from Rabbi Belkin. Rabbi Belkin was the president of the university at that time. Marvelous man. And he was the one who had the vision to create a graduate school of science. And I think maybe that sort of rabbinical tendency, whatever the right word is, may very well have influenced who the early faculty were. It was not a religious faculty, but it was idealistic in a certain way—depth of understanding is what counted. Is that a Jewish thing? I don’t know. Maybe—I don’t know.
توی این گفتو گو در مورد دین و دیندار بودن هم بحثهایی میشه. اینکه آیا فیزیک میتونه به سوالهایی مثل وجود خالق و دخالت اون درعالم مادی حرفی بزنه یا نه. عموما جواب ساسکیند اینه که من نمیدونم! در پاسخ به این که آیا فیزیکدونها جایگاه خاصی دارن در مورد حرف زدن در مورد وجود خدا، ساسکیند میگه:
[laugh] Oh, boy. Wow. Yeah, I don’t think he does have any privileged position. Yeah. He, she. I think I would subscribe to that view. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my own view about it. … I don’t think any scientist can answer the question of whether there was an intelligence that was at the root of the creation of the universe. That would also be getting ahead of ourselves. But still, scientists do understand the thing that we have to understand. They know what the questions are. I know when I think about the question of creation, I’m very influenced by my own scientific background. If somebody says to me, “Is there a god?” I say, “Well, I don’t really know, but you know, I’m very puzzled. If there was a god, and god did create the universe, is god susceptible to the same rules as ordinary matter? Does god satisfy the laws of quantum mechanics? Is he made out of particles?” And so forth. That’s the way my head works. I can’t help thinking that way.
I’m not an observant Jew. I didn’t have that background at all. I do not dismiss the possibility that there was –let’s call it an intelligence—that was involved in the creation of the laws of physics and the universe and all that. I do not dismiss that. But then I get myself into a logical paradox. Who created it? I don’t think this is the right way to think about it, but it’s the only way that I have available to me to think about it. So my own mental makeup is to be curious. I am a very curious person. I would like to know how the uni…and I would especially like to know, was there an intelligence? But I don’t see a way of getting at the answer.
ساسکیند به این هم اشاره میکنه که وقتی در مورد وجود خدا حرف میزنیم منظورمون وجود یک خالقه که جهان رو ایجاد کرده و دیگه هم باهاش کاری نداشته. ما با این تعریف بسیار ابتدایی (در مقایسه با تعریف و ویژگی خدا در ادیان مختلف) هم چندان حرفی برای زدن نداریم به عنوان فیزیکدان. چه برسه به اینکه بخوایم خدا رو نه تنها خالق که «موثر» در دنیای کنونی هم بدونیم:
I once had this conversation with a Vatican advisor, a Jesuit. We agreed about absolutely everything, and in particular I asked him, “When you speak of god, do you speak of god the creator, or of god the intervener?” And he said, “I only mean god the creator.” And I had to admit, then, that I had no particular reason to believe that there was no god the creator. But then we started talking about god the intervener. And once god can intervene with the world and affect the world, then if we believe in science, we have to give it a set of rules, and those rules have to conform to what—well, they both have to conform to what the reality is, and they have to conform to what we call science. So does god have to satisfy a set of physical rules? Not if he doesn’t intervene. If all he did was create—OK, he created. But if he’s also allowed to poke his finger into it and change things and stir them up, then we have to have rules for that. If there are no rules for it, it means the world has just an element of random, incomprehensible randomness. And even randomness is a rule. Even randomness is a rule.