The Science of Existence (41-3) William Kingdon Clifford

 William Kingdon Clifford

English mathematician and philosopher William Kingdon Clifford literally worked himself to death, succumbing at 34. In his short life, Clifford blazed an illuminating trail.

He with great ingenuity foresaw in a qualitative fashion that physical matter might be conceived as a curved ripple on a generally flat plane. Many of his ingenious hunches were later realized in Einstein’s gravitational theory. ~ Hungarian physicist Cornelius Lanczos

Clifford published in 1870 On the Space Theory of Matter, where he advanced the concept of reality as particles in space, though appearing from a higher dimensionality; matter as non-Euclidean disturbances viewed from a perspective of “flat” (noncurved) 3D space.

Clifford envisioned fields (electric, magnetic, gravitational, et cetera) expressed geometrically, and that particles interacted by means of these fields.

Relatively little was known about the composition of matter at the time, and so Clifford’s explanations lacked sophistication. Working from received wisdom, Clifford presaged the most advanced theories of modern physics.

Among other musings, Clifford developed the notion of consciousness as being formed from a composite of information (“mind-stuff”); and the basis of moral law as being founded upon social interdependence (“tribal self”).

It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. ~ William Clifford