photo by Marlies Wolf of Dick and Winifred at Barns Ness
George Mackie's dust cover design for R M Sillitto's Quantum Mechanics

Some of Dick's less formal works

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  • The McClure organ (pdf)
    "In tonight's Science Review R M Sillitto discusses the latest attempt to construct an organ which will play harmoniously in any key. This is the McClure Organ at present in the University of Edinburgh."
    [Broadcast in the BBC's Third Programme, March 1952]
  • Scientists philistines? No!
    ". . . it isn't anything in the nature of science that may make its practitioners Philistines - it's the specialisation of modern education that may make Philistines of people who pursue advanced studies in any field"
    [Opposing the motion in a debate, Edinburgh University Physical Society, about 1957]
  • Maskelyne on Schiehallion
    "Of all the bodies concerned - the Sun, the Earth and the other planets, and the moons of the planets - the body most accessible to us is the Earth. So - could one weigh the Earth? "
    [Address to the Royal Glasgow Philosophical Society, October 1990]
  • Light waves, radio waves and photons (pdf)
    "In fact, I think that if we abolished the word 'photon'from our vocabulary for ten years, we should find thatwe could get on perfectly well without it"
    [Address to the Scottish Branch, and published in the Bulletin, of the Institute of Physics, copyright © Institute of Physics 1960]
  • James Clerk Maxwell (pdf)
    "In the 18th century, as the result of a marriage between a Clerk and a memberof the much grander Maxwell family, an estate at Middlebie in the south-westof Scotland came into the possession of the Clerks, but with a condition thatthe holder of the estate must not hold a Clerk property, and must be calledMaxwell."
    [Talk for Dutch schooteachers visiting the James Clerk Maxwell building, U of E, 1990]
  • The waviness of light
    " Scott Fitzgerald, the young American writer of the 1920s, wrote that it was a mark of genius 'to be able to hold in the mind simultaneously two contrary views, ... and continue to function.'But quantum physics requires us to do just this, and - like the Cubists? - has devised formal procedures for doing it . . .
    . . . So, the complete quantum theory of optical fields contains . . . all the classical waves that describe the phenomena of optics. These waves are not approximations to some subtler truth : they are precise, valid solutions of correctly formulated problems in quantum optics."
    [Invited lecture at Strathclyde University, 1986]
  • The durability of Maxwell's equations (pdf)
    "So we believe we now understand why the Maxwell theory was so successful in supporting the design and analysis of all opticalexperiments and all optical instruments known before 1960; and why the Maxwell theory will continue to beuseful in much of optical and most of radio science in the future. But in additionwe have glimpses of a wider range of phenomena, still largely unexplored andunexploited - and still relying on the Maxwell theory for the classical foundationon which quantum optics has to be built."
    [University of Reading Department of Optics, 1994]
  • Symmetry (pdf)
    " . . . but I've been delighted and excited tosee how much insight into optical systems and diffraction comes from a systematicuse of symmetry ideas - even for someone like myself who hasn't yetachieved any grasp of group theory!"
    [Strathclyde, 1984]
  • Treiman: 'The Odd Quantum'
    "This is a spectacular finale to a remarkable book. . . . This, of course, is not the end of the story. Some day, someone will be writing about the fusion of quantum mechanics and general relativity into a true 'theory of everything'. But that is for another generation!"
    [Published in Contemporary Physics, March 2000]
  • Born and Wolf, 7th edn
    "Principles of Optics is, and will remain for many years, an indispensable and vital component in any optical library . . . It is a splendid book."
    [Published in European Journal of Physics, August 2000]
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