Monday, March 16, 2009

Physicist Bernard d'Espagnat Wins 2009 Templeton Prize

Reuters just announced that French physicist and philosopher Bernard d'Espagnat has been awarded the 2009 Templeton Prize for his work affirming the spiritual dimension of life. d'Espagnat has authored highly acclaimed books such as Physics and Philosophy and Conceptual Foundations of Quantum Mechanics.

"Award organizers said his work in quantum physics revealed a reality beyond science that spirituality and art could help to partly grasp."

From the article:

"D'Espagnat, a former senior physicist at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva and professor at French and United States universities, argues in his books that modern quantum physics shows that ultimate reality cannot be described.

Classical physics developed by Isaac Newton believes it can describe the world through laws of nature that it knows or will discover. But quantum physics shows that tiny particles defy this logic and can act in indeterminate ways.

D'Espagnat says this points toward a reality beyond the reach of empirical science. The human intuitions in art, music and spirituality can bring us closer to this ultimate reality, but it is so mysterious we cannot know or even imagine it.

"Mystery is not something negative that has to be eliminated," he said. "On the contrary, it is one of the constitutive elements of being.""