Einstein's paper on the photoelectric effect was the work for which he ultimately won the Nobel Prize. It was published in 1905, and Einstein has another paper in the very same journal where it appeared - his other paper was the one that formulated the special theory of relativity. That's what it was like to be Einstein in 1905; you publish a groundbreaking paper that helps lay the foundation of quantum mechanics, and for which you later win the Nobel Prize, but it's only the second most important paper that you publish in that issue of the journal.
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One increasingly hears rumors of a reconciliation between science and religion. In major news magazines as well as at academic conferences, the claim is made that that belief in the success of science in describing the workings of the world is no longer thought to be in conflict with faith in God. I would like to argue against this trend, in favor of a more old-fashioned point of view that is still more characteristic of most scientists, who tend to disbelieve in any religious component to the workings of the universe.
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Science and religion both make claims about the fundamental workings of the universe. Although these claims are not a priori incompatible (we could imagine being brought to religious belief through scientific investigation), I will argue that in practice they diverge. If we believe that the methods of science can be used to discriminate between fundamental pictures of reality, we are led to a strictly materialist conception of the universe. While the details of modern cosmology are not a necessary part of this argument, they provide interesting clues as to how an ultimate picture may be constructed.
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