These are the thoughts more of a man than of a physicist.
There is no calculus here and little reference to such a
language. I am free. I may think and speak critically, and
some of that free speaking is "That Little Hardback."
The earliest thoughts came from age 13, found in the
essay, "Kick a Rock." There is no intent to induce any
reader to agree with anything, with one exception: each
person should be in charge of his or her own thoughts and
beliefs; we should not let other people determine what
we are to believe. All our other freedoms are made
possible by having freedom of thought. There is an intent
to stimulate thinking and debate, which, for me, are
useful and enjoyable. Younger, I thought I knew many
things with certainty. Having grappled with physics for
more than 50 years, I know how little I know. I will never
again believe that my opinions establish facts.
They are points of view.
Each thought is given a number and space
enough to write notes. Controversy is not unfriendly just
because both sides are heard, but when someone wants
only one side to be heard. Friendly controversy is one
of our most valuable tools.
There is a little sarcasm in these pages, but not much, and
there is a little devilís advocacy, but not much. Though
these thoughts often run counter to the mainstream, they
are nonetheless actual thoughts, not insincerely contrived.
Some will be ideas repeated on other pages, in different
words. Others appear a contradiction to some other, and
they probably are. The book is not laid out chronologically.
The order was determined using a computerís random
generator, with only a few then re-positioned to fit a
picture, or to make repeated ideas not too near each other.
Since boxes of books like these sometimes end up in authorsí
garages, they may be handed out at my funeral. I would like
that better than any stone.
Do as I have done, and write your thoughts down. Journals,
diaries, or thoughts put in writing, are more valuable than
we know. If not a single copy of this little book is ever
sold, it will be worth it to have it for my own family,
including those not yet born, and for friends.