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Are New Ideas Important in Physics and Astronomy?

  1. Jul 13, 2005 #1
    Are New Ideas Important in Physics and Astronomy?

    If so, then why are young scientists with new ideas based in logic, reason, and reality, so often castigated, impugned, and crucified while those who quietly, passively, and uncreatively accept the nonesensical mythologies of String Theory and M-Theory rewarded with vast salaries, health benefits, TV shows, book deals, and tenure?

    I would very much like to discuss my new theory here, but I am forbidden from even mentioning its name, as the String Theorists and other fashionistas do not approve of it. And so their multi-billion dollar myth is perpetuated at the expense of logic, reason, and physics.

    But time is on our side. And what is time? I am not allowed to say, as my theory is banned for the moment.

    The current state of physics has several Prominent Physicsists and Great Thinkers spinning in their graves:

    John Dewey
    Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of the imagination.
    — The Quest For Certainty

    Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) U. S. inventor.There ain't no rules around here! We're trying to accomplish something!


    Albert Einstein
    All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.

    Albert Einstein
    If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.

    Albert Einstein
    The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them.

    Albert Einstein
    Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by the age of eighteen.

    Albert Einstein
    The mere formulation of a problem is far more often essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science.

    Albert Einstein
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

    Albert Einstein
    Three rules of work
    1. Out of clutter, find simplicity.
    2. From discord, find harmony.
    3. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity

    Albert Einstein
    Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

    Albert Einstein
    The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious—it is the source of all true art and science.

    <img> Goethe
    Science and art belong to the whole world, and before them vanish the barriers of nationality.

    Carl Sagan :
    It is the tension between creativity and skepticism that has produced the stunning and unexpected findings of science.

    Julius Sextus Frontinus
    Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further development.
    –Highly regarded engineer in Rome, 1st century A.D.

    Albert Szent-Gyorgi
    (Nobel-prize winning biochemist who discovered vitamin C)

    And if everybody says that you are wrong, then you are one step ahead. Butthere is one situation which is better still, when everyone begins to laugh about you, then you know you are two steps ahead.


    Heraclitus
    One cannot step twice into the same river.

    Willis Harman and Howard Rheingold
    While the rational mind is important, we gain a new perspective when we learn how many of the greatest scientific insights, discoveries, and revolutionary inventions appeared first to their creators as fantasies, dreams, trances, lightening-flash insights, and other non-ordinary states of consciousness.

    Kekule, famous for his dream-inspired scientific breakthrough—discovering the molecular structure of benzene, advised his fellow scientists: "Let us learn to dream, gentlemen."

    Charles Franklin Kettering (1876-1958) U. S. engineer and inventor.
    Whenever you look at a piece of work and you think the fellow was crazy, then you want to pay some attention to that. One of you is likely to be, and you had better find out which one it is. It makes an awful lot of difference.


    Dr. Edwin Land
    An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.

    Friedrich Nietzsche
    All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values.

    Friedrich Nietzsche
    I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yea-sayer!

    Friedrich Nietzsche
    We must be physicists in order to be creative since so far codes of values and ideals have been constructed in ignorance of physics or even in contradiction to physics.


    Friedrich Nietzsche
    A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions.. as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.



    Friedrich Nietzsche
    There are no facts, only interpretations.



    Isaac Newton
    If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

    Max Planck, the father of quantum theory, felt that the pioneer scientist must have " a vivid intuitive imagination, for new ideas are not generated by deduction, but by artistically creative imagination."

    Max Planck
    An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: What does happen is that the opponents gradually die out.
    In "Shorter Bartlett's Familiar Quotations," by John Bartlett, 1937, 1980, 1992.

    Henri Poincaré, Mathematician
    It is by intuition that we discover and by logic we prove.

    Plotinus
    Knowledge has three degrees—opinion, science, and illumination. The means or instrument of the first is sense; of the second, dialectic; of the third, intuition. This last is absolute knowledge founded on the identity of the mind knowing with the object known.

    Francis Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer, philosopher.
    No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2005 #2
    I would say that new ideas in physics are important, and I have not seen the younger generation impugned as you would put it. People with ideas based on logical thinking, but not on experiment, tend to get ignored, not because they're young, but because physics is an experimental science. Even Einstein's gedanken experiments that led to special relativity were based upon some experimental observations, and a solidly accepted theory (Maxwell's E&M).

    As for the success of string theory, I would venture to guess that they get so much money because there aren't many people doing it and, to be quite honest, even though it's a far-fetched theory, it's still the only purported "Theory of Everything" that's being seriously worked on, and that gets a lot of attention. Let's face it, trying to explain a new method in calculating vibrational excitations in a crystal lattice just isn't as appealing as hearing the idea of 11 spacial dimensions getting thrown around, and that's why it gets public attention.
     
  4. Jul 13, 2005 #3
    If physics is an experimental science, then why does String Theory, for which there is no experimental evidence, and for which there never will be, as the Theory doesn't make sense to begin with, receive hundreds of millions of dollars?

    Are you saying that String Theory is important only as entertainment? Then shouldn't we cast David Duchovney instead of Brian Greene on PBS? "The truth is out there..."

    Don't you think the hundreds of millions poured into a "false, fake" theory is damaging to the careers of yound scientists who can't support their and families if they choose logic, reason, and physics over mythology?
     
  5. Jul 13, 2005 #4
    I have never heard of a starving physicist. In fact, I think that the average starting salary at my school for a starting professor is probably in the $70,000 range or so. Here's an idea of some salaries for the top schools:
    http://www.aaup.org/surveys/01z/z01t7.htm

    The fact is that the money they get often comes from private grants, and you would have to convince the people funding those grants that string theory is "junk science".

    Honestly, there is a lot more money out there for things like condensed matter physics, but there are also a lot more condensed matter physicists to split it up with.

    Edit: The above link is for Academia in general. http://swz.salary.com/salarywizard/layouthtmls/swzl_compresult_national_ED03000221.html
    is probably a better link for physics information.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2005
  6. Jul 13, 2005 #5
    The cost of String Theory:

    There are approximately 1,000 string theorists.

    Their average salary, including benefits, office space, and overhead, is around $100,000 per year.

    That means $100,000,000 goes towards string theory earch year.

    Over a twenty year period, this is two billion dollars.

    What private foundations have poured Two Billion dollars into string theory over the past twenty years?

    And how shall we factor the cost of all the "real physicists" who have been dsiplaced by the theory? How shall we factor the cost of all the unemployed String Theorists at the tail-end of the Ponzi scheme?

    They have little future, and their heads are filled with a mishmash of random mush. It says so in leading String Theory textbooks:

    The great irony of string theory, however, is that the theory itself is not unified. To someone learning the theory for the first time, it is often a frustrating collection of folklore, rules of thumb, and intuition. (IN OTHER WORDS IT IS NOT PHYSICS!!!) At times, there seems to be no rhyme or reason for many of the conventions of the model. For a theory that makes the claim of providing a unifying framework for all physical laws, it is the supreme irony that the theory itself appears so disunited!!
    Chapter 1. Path Integrals and Point Particles: Why Strings?
    “Introduction to Superstrings and M-Theory,” page 5. –Michio Kaku
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2005
  7. Jul 13, 2005 #6
    Okay, do you have statistics for the average salary of non-string theorists?
     
  8. Jul 13, 2005 #7

    Tom Mattson

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    This thread really doesn't qualify as physics, so off to GD it goes.
     
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