On rockets


8 February 2007, 11.40 CET

metaphorically speaking,

Rockets are devices constructed by humans for specific purposes. Though there may be considerable systemic interactions between all the parts of a rocket which must work harmoniously together, those interactions are the result of careful design. The rocket as a whole can be decomposed into its original parts, and those parts can be independently tested to see if they meet their design criteria.

Furthermore, the aim of rocket science is usually to deliver a specific payload to a specific place at a specific time. Though it is no mean feat to get to the moon, we can least for all practical purposes calculate the future position of the moon at any time you care to name to any degree of precision. . . . [F]undamentally, rocket science is about shaping raw matter into precise forms to achieve precise tasks.

Eric Lippert

[via David Weiss]