James Clerk Maxwell Quotes About UniverseQuotes about: Universe
In the heavens we discover [stars] by their light, and by their light alone ... the sole evidence of the existence of these distant worlds ... that each of them is built up of molecules of the same kinds we find on earth. A molecule of hydrogen, for example, whether in Sirius or in Arcturus, executes its vibrations in precisely the same time. Each molecule therefore throughout the universe bears impressed upon it the stamp of a metric system as distinctly as does the metre of the Archives at Paris, or the royal cubit of the Temple of Karnac.
But when we face the great questions about gravitation Does it require time? Is it polar to the 'outside of the universe' or to anything? Has it any reference to electricity? or does it stand on the very foundation of matter-mass or inertia? then we feel the need of tests, whether they be comets or nebulae or laboratory experiments or bold questions as to the truth of received opinions.
Natural causes, as we know, are at work, which tend to modify, if they do not at length destroy, all the arrangements and dimensions of the earth and the whole solar system. But though in the course of ages catastrophes have occurred and may yet occur in the heavens, though ancient systems may be dissolved and new systems evolved out of their ruins, the molecules [i.e. atoms] out of which these systems are built-the foundation stones of the material universe-remain unbroken and unworn. They continue to this day as they were created-perfect in number and measure and weight.
The vast interplanetary and vast interstellar regions will no longer be regarded as waste places in the universe. We shall find them to be already full of this wonderful medium; so full that no human power can remove it from the smallest portion of space or produce the slightest flaw in its infinite continuity.
My soul is an entangled knot,
Upon a liquid vortex wrought
By Intellect in the Unseen residing,
And thine doth like a convict sit,
With marline-spike untwisting it,
Only to find its knottiness abiding;
Since all the tools for its untying
In four-dimensional space are lying,
Wherein they fancy intersperses
Long avenues of universes,
While Klein and Clifford fill the void
With one finite, unbounded homoloid,
And think the Infinite is now at last destroyed.