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Physics as Pilgrimage

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northern Arizona University, PO Box 6010, Flagstaff, AZ86011, USA

Special Issues: Inviting papers for a special issue on Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage typically refers to a religious quest or journey. Can science ever be viewed as a sort of pilgrimage, even retaining some of the religious hallmarks thereof? Employing the views of Joseph Campbell, a widely-known religious thinker, and Albert Einstein, creator of the special and general theories of relativity, I so argue for the case of theoretical physics—the most basic and fundamental physical science. I then sketch the centuries-long (and still ongoing) development of physical ideas of space from Newton to Einstein. These ideas, while relatively accessible to non-physicists, are of the most profound physical significance, determining the large-scale behavior of not only Earth, but the cosmos itself. I argue how their development may, in consonance with Campbell and Einstein, be viewed as a sort of pilgrimage.
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References

1. Einstein A (1930) Religion and science. New York Times Magazine November 9: 1-4.

2. Bowman G (2014) Einstein and Mysticism. Zygon 49: 281-307.    

3. Campbell J (1971) The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, New York: Harper and Row, 11.

4. Campbell J (1971) The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, New York: Harper and Row, 21.

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6. Campbell J (1971) The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, New York: Harper and Row, 31.

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8. Smith G: Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. The Stanford Encyclopediaof Philosophy (Winter 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Available from:http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/newton-principia/.

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Copyright Info: © 2016, Gary E. Bowman, licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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