Near and far … Contiguous

Postaday photo challenge near and far. The prompt photo is one of the most beautiful I have seen for a long time.


Two photos, one the visual for the prompt and one for what it made me think about!


first from yesterday evening, now it is September, a little cooler, a little more wind and wave, not so many tourists and the locals are on the beach every evening – my iphone can’t show the 20/30 kids and adults out paddling waiting for a wave, nor the sense of soft air and well-being I feel watching kids with health and strength and good company. But it manages “near and far” not so much as perspective, but as the sense of relative distance.


Surfing in September

But what did it make me think of? One of my favourite words, not often used, contiguous
It means that which is NEXT. Not near, though it might be, not far, though it might be. Depends on your point of view, where you are, and what it is you are thinking of.
Just next. CONTIGUOUS.


Screenshot from StarWalk app – what is ‘next’ to us in the system – depends if we are considering star or planet or galaxy.

For anyone who has been following my posts, ‘contiguous’ is another notion used by Michael Faraday in his discovery of the wave theory of electricity and magnetism – electromagnetic waves. Through years of puzzling about HOW moving magnets could produce an electrical current (one of his earlier discoveries, magnetic induction of electricity) he left Newtonian ideas centred on ‘action at a distance’ [near or far] behind.  The thoughts, theories, evidence were all over the place. I love the amazing six month delay intervals in 1840’s correspondence  with Joseph Henry in USA. Henry was inadvertently producing induction effects in the next room which hindsight says were the first recorded instance of radio waves but then-sight said what he h… is going on here? lets ask MF over in London. History is about then, not about hindsight, history of science shows scientific thinking in action, the search within confusion and the tenacity with which people kept working and thinking however the observations contradicted previous certainty, or the evidence forced them to give up a favourite theory.


In Michael Faraday’s experimental Diaries, hidden among pages of alternating sense and nonsense, possibilities and dead ends, hope and despair, sublime and mundane, Faraday kept on returning to ‘contiguous’, the distance between electrical effects might not be so important as that which was ‘next’. And then, there it is, as far as I know the first mention of the really truly new idea:

but what if space is not empty?


Once thought, it returns again and again, contiguous action and space is indeed full.




Time to get back to surfing!!! HaHa we would not have internet surfing if we had not had Faraday and Henry and all, but we might have had water surfing on wooden planks, not the light weight wonder boards riding contiguous to the land.


Weekly photochallenge: Near and Far. Two great scientists across the Atlantic, were they near or far?

Brian Cooney, thankyou for this prompt and the wonderful phots of Ireland

MICHAEL FARADAY (Photo credit: roberthuffstutter)
Portrait of Joseph Henry
Portrait of Joseph Henry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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