The Power of a Beautiful Question
Frank Wilczek, Nobel Prize winner in Physics, states in his book “A Beautiful Question – Finding Nature’s Deep Design” that Sir Isaac Newton gained great power by asking questions instead of posing hypotheses. He would simply add a question mark at the end of a statement often stated in the negative. For example: “Is not the passage of light though the gravity surrounding a large object deflected by the gravitational field of the object?”
This question mark technique I believe is so powerful because it triggers a child-like curiosity. We want to know the answer. We want to know so badly we begin to investigate and test. We find a way at getting at the truth. We “cross-examine” nature as if it were a witness to the truth, testing the answers.
Extending the Technique
This same technique I suppose could be applied to the non-physical world of pure ideas or thought experiments. Einstein might do this for example by asking: Does not the existence of time depend upon the velocity of the observer moving from one vantage of observation to another, and would not another observer of the same event see the same event in a different time if motionless?
Or perhaps the technique has power when working with metaphysical ideas. Is not “God” a consciousness looking upon itself from infinite simultaneous time/space variations?
More Questions to Follow
I will be writing more about Wilczek’s ideas in future posts. His value to me, and may be for you, is that he declares false the centuries old breach between science and theology. He cites for inspiration that during Issac Newton’s more productive years as a scientist, he was also most absorbed in the study of theology, believing that one informed and elucidated the other.