Sir Arthur Eddington


Sir Arthur Eddington (1882-1944) made important contributions to the theoretical physics of the motion, evolution and internal constitution of stellar systems.  He led the famous expedition that photographed the solar eclipse which offered the first proof of Einstein’s relativity theory.  He was knighted in 1930.

His masterpiece, The Nature of the Physical World, led others to (falsely) conclude that the new quantum physics offered proof of a mystical worldview.  The famous philosopher Bertrand Russell even quipped, “Sir Arthur Eddington deduces religion from the fact that atoms do not obey the laws of mathematics.  Sir James Jeans deduces it form the fact that they do”.  This rankled Eddington to no end.

Eddington attempted to point out that classical or quantum physics cannot offer positive support for a religious-mystical worldview.  That classical physics was hostile to religion, but modern physics can only be indifferent to it.  The new physics does not support mysticism, but, according to Eddington, it cannot deny it.  He felt that quantum physics opened a philosophic door to Spirit, but mysticism, not physics, would be responsible for the proof of the metaphysical.