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How Far with Intuition

by bomba923
Tags: intuition
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Aug12-05, 10:45 PM
P: 236
Quote Quote by ZapperZ
Hum... you are probably correct.

The irony in all of this is that during my short stint as a college instructor (I was teaching first year intro physics), I was a stickler in emphasizing INTUITIVE APPROACH at every step of the way. This is because a lot of the stuff that is being covered really is a part of the students daily observations. I often ask them "if Newton said that a body that is being applied a force will accelerate, how come you have to push on a cart just to keep it moving at a constant velocity?", and things like that. I tried to appeal to their intuition and common sense all the time, or else they will tend to memorize the physics rather than understand them.

But notice what's the difference here. First year physics (at least the classical part) can EASILY be built upon their already established understanding of how the world around them work. We just need to tweak it a little bit. So the learning process here is a LOT simpler since we can appeal to what they have already seen and understand. We build on top of that understanding.

However, as I've said, this can't be done all the time, and certainly can't be done with QM. So you'll notice that this is consistent with my view that the best way to learn is to build the new knowledge on top of what we already know.

And just so there's no misunderstanding and before you demand an apology from me for twisting your words, I know you didn't make these claims about intuition being enough, etc.... etc. I was just continuing the the main point of the thread.


new stuff in green
When you are in school, you are riding on the intuitive ideas of the lineage of scientists before you. You did not come up with these ideas or theorem SO YOU NEED NOT INTUITION to be a student. Someone with intuition bridged the gaps for you to walk over. These are the scientists who dared to think outside the box and challenged themselves to devote their life to their work.

As students, one needs not intuition to learn anything. FORCED FED OR NOT, THE GOAL IS TO LEARN. As you said, TRUEST FORM OF LEARNING IS UNDERSTANDING. WITH UNDERSTANDING, YOU MAY BECOME MORE INTUITIVE, AND FURTHER CONTRIBUTE TO SCIENCE BY SHARING A HIGHER UNDERSTANDING. Intuition is not necessary to learn. However, it will be helpful if you intend to be great.
Aug13-05, 06:08 AM
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Quote Quote by outsider
As students, one needs not intuition to learn anything. FORCED FED OR NOT, THE GOAL IS TO LEARN. As you said, TRUEST FORM OF LEARNING IS UNDERSTANDING. WITH UNDERSTANDING, YOU MAY BECOME MORE INTUITIVE, AND FURTHER CONTRIBUTE TO SCIENCE BY SHARING A HIGHER UNDERSTANDING. Intuition is not necessary to learn. However, it will be helpful if you intend to be great.
So now it's my turn to ask, where exactly did I say that I didn't agree with this? I even said that *I* used my intuition almost every day in deciding what to and what not to do? So why are you telling me this?

Aug13-05, 04:04 PM
P: 236
Quote Quote by ZapperZ
I'd rather do science than just simply talk about science.
yes, so why did you start this discussion?

I was really gonna drop this whole thing because it's counterproductive, but since you insist on persuing it, I will entertain you:

ZapperZ, you wanted proof, here you go:
Quote Quote by ZapperZ
There's a difference between being FED the information and accepting it, and UNDERSTANDING the information that you are given.
You began your opening statement with "There's a difference" implying that I didn't realize this perhaps I've been a student of yours in the past in another carnation... there is no difference as I think we agree.
You can do homework assignments, grind through the math, etc. etc, but yet, not understand what you are doing. I see this in many students. This is especially true if the students memorize the set of info they were given.
This is where you appear to jump sides on this issue as your previous posts did not appear to be pro-intuition at all
Believe me, I agree with what you are saying, but (as devil's advocate again) if I can get through the damn system (with a lie) and earn a piece of refined pulp wood that supports a claim that I am designated, I will be off fooling my employer who will be paying me a sh- load of money... If that's my goal, Do I really need to learn (as we both define it) if I am making mad money?- haha that's up for debate, and for each individual to determine... but the basic answer is NO.
But this isn't learning in the truest sense, and if one wishes to "go far" in physics, this will NEVER do. Note that I never said that intuition isn't useful. As a practicing physicist, I RELY on my intuition almost every single day to tell me what I should and should not spend time on. However, I am completely aware that I go through the rigors of my education system JUST so I can rely on my intuition when the time comes.
exactly... we need not continue to justify... you, as a PRACTICING PHYSICIST, are now making my argument for me...
Quote Quote by ZapperZ
But can one actually LEARN physics by simply using one's intuition? I disagree.
This is where you twisted my words. I never said "someone can learn physics simply using intuition"... so you need not click "quote" to my response, then misquote me and disagree. What you really disagree with is perhaps your intuition.

I realize you are currently trying to formulate a way of making this right, when intuitively, if anyone reads your original posts they will see that you are trying to make a point to minimize the power of intuition.

The question in this thread is "How Far with Intuition" -?- My response was - not far -

Perhaps this thread's subject should be "can one actually LEARN physics by simply using one's intuition?" and really this would be begging the question rather than opening a discussion... do you get it? your position is really apparent.
I have brought up several examples just from QM alone. If we buy into the notion that for one to truly understand something, one must build one's knowlege on top of what one already understands, then QM will present a major discontinuity of that flow. There's nothing intuitive about QM - the names, words, and phrases may sound the same (spin, angular momentum, orbital, observable, measurment, etc.), but they have such a different meaning in QM, you simply cannot use what you already know in the classical world even as analogies! I can explain what a "spin-charge separation in a 1D Lutinger Liquid is" and make it sound reasonable, but this will be nothing more than a set of information that you gather without ANY connection or reference to anything else that you have already understood. This is not the way to understand and comprehend anything, at least not in physics.
hence the limitations of one's abilities using pure intuition. - are there people who really believe that average people are born with "the power" gifted to them? Get real... there are geniuses born everyday... and most of them are just too poor to break out of their situations to achieve recognition. That's when they become such things as sports athletes.
So what is familiar with QM? The mathematics! It is the only connection we have with something that we have a prior understanding of! Look at the time-dependent Schrodinger equation, and then look at a generic wave equation. Look at the solution to the hydrogen atom wavefunction and then look at the spherical harmonic expansion of a loop of charge. The intuitive concepts of QM may be very strange and unfamiliar, but the mathematics look damn familiar. You build a new set of intuition based on what you understand from the mathematics. You don't build this set of intuition based on classical intuitions.

hmm... you are spinning your own argument here.... i don't think anyone would disagree with you...

so, I think you have now answered your own question... good day.

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