Roger Boscovich

Roger Boscovich (several different spellings) is an 18C Jesuit I regularly mention here as someone whose intuition of a fundamental view of physics probably influenced Mach and hence Einstein – though precious few if any direct references are discoverable.

Apart from a few Boscovich enthusiasts and a few web-pages dedicated to him (and Margaret Wertheim’s Pythagoras Trousers), I had forgotten this mainstream reference from Charles Simonyi in his response to the 2012 Edge Question. Must check where else Simonyi uses Boscovich references.

Boscovich smallest conceivable intervals of time and space are “atomic” in the true Democritan sense. For my work, these represent the smallest “fundamental particles” of information, the smallest difference between any two distinct things.

“An atom should rather be viewed as a point source of force, with the force emanating from it acting in some complicated fashion that depends on distance.”

Points than which nothing smaller can be conceived – by definition.


Blimey, small world, Simonyi also contributed a 2005 Edge answer – about his intentional  / generative software concept. Moore’s law has left computing in an evolutionary backwater without it, he says. Sure has.

Obviously very wealthy from his original Microsoft involvement sponsoring the Oxford professorship bearing his name since 1995, a multi-billionaire after selling his IntentSoft back to Microsoft in 2017, 2 x space tourist(!), mega-yacht owner and sponsor of Princeton IAS. Up there with Gates, Bezos and Musk.


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