16.479 Kelvin's "if ye canna, ye dinna!" ?

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Tue Feb 11 2003 - 02:50:05 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 479.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 07:32:59 +0000
             From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: source for Kelvin's "if ye canna, ye dinna!"

    William Thompson, Lord Kelvin, is often quoted as having said, "Can ye make
    a model of it? For if ye can, ye understand it, and if ye canna, ye dinna!"
    Unfortunately I have not so far been able to locate a reliable source for
    these words. In the published Baltimore lectures on wave theory and
    molecular dynamics (1884), edited by R Kargon and P Achinstein, he does
    say, though less memorably, "I am never content until I have constructed a
    mechanical model of the subject I am studying. If I succeed in making one,
    I understand. Otherwise, I do not." I would be very grateful indeed to be
    able to quote the former in good scholarly conscience, with a reference.



    Dr Willard McCarty | Senior Lecturer | Centre for Computing in the
    Humanities | King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS || +44 (0)20
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