Ships, Dinosaurs, and Nuclei: It's the Scales that Count

The question, "Were dinosaurs warm blooded?", is explored by appealing to scales and dimensional analysis, as is the question, "What was the Royal Navy's secret weapon in the 19th century?". The question, "What is a nucleus?" is discussed from the perspective of scales. Chiral symmetry is introduced by examining the Rutherford experiment, and the influence of that symmetry on nuclear physics is discussed. Power counting (a form of dimensional analysis) and "naturalness" are introduced and are used to assess the importance of many-body forces, and to answer the question, "Is nuclear physics tractable?". An appeal is made to Gilbert's Law of Magnetism to judge the complexity of calculations in light nuclei. Recent benchmarks in our understanding of these systems are reviewed.

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