Later the term atom was applied to this basic form of matter. When the atom was split, it
was concluded that Newton was wrong because the basic unit had been broken into
pieces. However, it should be pointed out that Newton never said that what we called
the atom was in fact that basic, elementary, fundamental particle.|
Newton discovered the laws of motion and gravitation and successfully applied them
to describing the detailed motion of the planets and the Moon. He believed that the
entire material creation moves in a way that can be predicted with absolute accuracy.
This concept , known as determinism, should apply from the largest to its smallest
motion. Even the great scientific advances of the nineteenth century - the theory of
heat, called thermodynamics, and Maxwell's theory of light as an electromagnetic
wave - were worked within the framework of deterministic physics.|
By the end of the nineteenth century experimental physics contacted the atomic
structure of matter and found the atomic units of matter behaved in random,
uncontrollable ways which deterministic Newtonian physics could not account for.
Theoretical physics responded to these new experimental discoveries by inventing a
new physical theory, the quantum theory, between 1900 and 1926. Failure to reconcile
the quantum theory of atoms with deterministic physics, not only required an
amendment to Newtonian physics, but allowed determinism to fall. Einstein remained
deterministic and never intellectually accepted that the foundation of reality was
governed by chance and randomness. His fellow scientists, however, accepted the
premise of the ultimate randomness of reality.
I believe in determinism. I believe that even atomic structures are deterministic.
Although we have not yet deduced formulas to describe this motion, that in no way
should mean that they are not predictable. Our failure to find this connection should
not dissuade us from the deterministic view. Whether we as humans are able to
determinethe specifics of atomic motions and interactions does not have
any bearings upon the precision that may underline their behavior.|