Imagine yourself standing outside a country home on an early spring morning just before dawn. Take a deep breath and shiver to the taste of the sweet morning air. Listen carefully to hear the chirping of morning birds. As the sun reaches the horizon, glinting shafts of light reach your eyes. Another deep breath and you feel a peace that comes from a resonance between you and the world at your doorstep. Your eyes close and for a fleeting moment you understand the universe in its simplest most basic terms. Savor that moment, for your eyes open again and now you are drawn back to the reality—you are reading the introduction to a book on physical chemistry. If you are mildly perturbed at being returned to this apparently less appealing reality, you have just demonstrated a facility with a key and exquisitely valuable tool in the study of science, the Gedanken experiment (thought experiment). The use of thought trips will be of fundamental importance in the approach that this book takes toward understanding biophysical processes. That virtually any student has access to one of the most profound and sophisticated theoretical techniques available to a scientist is an important lesson to learn. This is just one of the lessons that this short experiment or mind trip has pointed out to us already. Are there other lessons?
KeywordsThought Experiment Deep Breath Physical Universe Biophysical Chemistry Gedanken Experiment
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