Eddington’s Two Tables

It is absolutely fascinating to see how the growth and expansion of ScienceAtHome continue to reach and inspire people from different countries and different backgrounds. One example of this is our latest collaboration with a master student from Iceland.

Master students at Iceland Academy of the Arts (IAA) have the opportunity to work on an independent research project in connection with their own area of interest and artistic practice, in order to deepen and widen their knowledge of a specific and unique specialist area.

Arnar Ómarsson from IAA, visited Aarhus University in early March when he met up with our Ph.D. student Ottó Elíasson, working in the experimental team with ScienceAtHome. Together they studied the ways in which you can visualize the outcome of an experiment, based on the ongoing experiments in Aarhus University’s physics laboratory.

Ph.D. student Ottó Elíasson in Aarhus University’s physics laboratory.

“My work focuses on our experience of places/things/objects. The main questions in my research are: how we sense the world, understand it, give it meaning? This takes me through ontology, epistemology and other philosophical tools and theories as well as science.”–says Arnar.

By building real spaces in a virtual 3D environment, Arnar seeks further understanding of space, as well as the nature of the virtual world. This leads him to a study both the idea of space and the scientific qualities of it. A metaphor for this duality was perhaps best captured by Arthur Eddington's ‘Two Tables’ paradox, which proposes that each object has a duplicate. The first Eddington’s table is a commonplace object–very familiar, substantial, ordinary and easily understandable for common-sense man. The second one is not familiar at all, it is a scientific table. There is nothing substantial about it, the table is made up of atoms, electric charges and most of all–empty space.

Arnar and Ottó working together in Aarhus University’s physics laboratory.

“I think that explains why I mix science into my research. I need to understand what objects are scientifically as well as ontologically. That's why I approached ScienceAtHome, I want to understand how we (humans) create ways to study atoms, i.e. the thing that makes up the second table of Eddington.”–says Arnar.

We wish Arnar the best of luck and hopefully, we will hear about his work in the near future!


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