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Calculations in place of experiments

  1. Apr 16, 2006 #1
    Today many scientists' or physicists' research is mainly based upon mathematical calculations, and not on the real experiments. Mathematics partially reffer to reality but the other half is far from the reality of our world. Hence many theories and studies in science today are away from trivial reality, like quantum mechanics, relativity, and string theory. Why is it happening?
     
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  3. Apr 16, 2006 #2

    Pengwuino

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    What are you talking about? What do you think they are doing at labs?
     
  4. Apr 16, 2006 #3

    To put it simply, you have no idea what you're talking about.

    Quantum mechanics and relativity not based in experiment? Huh.
     
  5. Apr 17, 2006 #4

    enigma

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    Turn on your computer. Go visit a nuclear reactor. QM does work.

    Grab a GPS receiver. Look through a telescope. Relativity does work.

    String theory I'm a little more shaky on real world applications, but I'm sure that experiments are being done.

    Seriously... what caricature of science have you been reading?
     
  6. Apr 17, 2006 #5

    ZapperZ

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    What do you mean by "many"? Have you looked at the statistics from AIP and see what is the percentage of physicists who work in experimental area?

    Your post is very amusing, especially considering that the number of people involved in "relativity and string theory" is actually miniscule when compared with the rest of the physics community. Just because THEY are the ones making the most noise doesn't necessarily mean that there are "many" of them. Again, check the AIP/APS statistics and figure out what is the largest division under the APS wing.

    ... and I won't even bother with QM not having any connection with "reality".

    Zz.
     
  7. Apr 17, 2006 #6

    Astronuc

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    Experiments and modeling/simulation are complementary.

    We use simulations since some experiments are so complex and time-consuming that we cannot possibly perform all possible or conceivable perturbations. In addition, one performs experiments on one scale and using models derived from experimental results, one does simulations at larger scales.

    One may perform a limited number of integral experiments and many related single-effects experiments from which one builds models. From the results, one develops an integrated model with which one performs simulations over a range of parameters and combinations. One can identify areas for further experimentation - thus saving the cost of experiments which might not reveal much more information than those experiments already accomplished. This approach is particularly important for destructive experiments, e.g. automobile crash tests, in which complex systems are destroyed.

    In the case of nuclear fuel, one transient experiment may cost one or several million dollars. Performing 100 tests would cost $1 billion or more, so the industry does a few tests, and then develops models based on those tests, with the expectation that if one can reproduce thermo-mechanical results with reasonable accuracy, that the model is valid. The models are usually supported with results from other separate-effects experiments.

    Building a model and performing a reasonably accurate simulation also demonstrates that one actually understands the underlying physics of the experiment and the phenomena involved.
     
  8. Apr 17, 2006 #7
    Heartless,,i wont say anything but i would like to ask why do you think like that???what makes you come to that conclusion..
     
  9. Apr 17, 2006 #8
    Quantum mechanics was never ever same as relativity proven totally right.
    It is that only some aspects of both theories let me put in these words, were proven right, like in case of nuclear reactor. Nobody has also ever noticed a carvature of space-time as relativity predicts. It may be so and I believe it is, that gravity has totally different mechanics then these presented by Einstein. Heavy objects don't warp the space. Either every single atom around us warps the space or else, it just fits the workings of solar system and so the conclusion was made this way. Quantum mechanics describes random movement of particles and you hear that quantum world is not like the world we live in, but indeed nobody has ever lived in a quantum world. Books, at least these that I have, keep on saying that Quantum Mechanics predicts, same as relativity, it predicts. Nobody stands against both theories becasue one exposes himself/herself to unpleasant opinions of scientific community. And after all, both Quantum mechanics and relativity seem to be so exact but yet they don't agree with each other, and if you are to combine both it just wouldn't make sense. That's my last reason why at least, some parts of both were wrongly derived.

    But yet they possess a lot of money for building particle colliders to then guess the existence of other particles which then fit the equations or decays of others like in case of higher generations of quarks.

    Superman! :tongue2:

    I realized that universe works like a machine. You don't need to possess high level mathematics and physics to understand the workings of the universe. People at some point missed the idea that universe doesn't have to be described in mathematical language but simply using common language. Just like you would describe the mechanics of a car, I think description of workings of the universe may be very alike.

    ----
    It may be so, or actually is that I'm wrong as usually, it's just my way of thinking, debates never hurt. I think through them you learn about your wrongness.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2006
  10. Apr 17, 2006 #9

    Hootenanny

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    Would you care to describe the thermodynamics of the internal combustion engine without any mathematics?

    Regards,
    ~Hoot
     
  11. Apr 17, 2006 #10

    russ_watters

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    Elaborating hasn't helped - pretty much everything you said is either flat-out wrong or just plain gibberish. Either way, you haven't a clue what you are talking about.
    That's absurd. Physical science has been primarily mathematical since its inception. The most notable early contribution was Newton, who invented a new kind of math in order to describe the motion of the planets. Simply put, predicting the motion of the planets is entirely a math problem.

    Even at its most basic, conceptual understanding requires math. How does a mass accelerate when a constant force is applied? How does its speed change? How does it move? Those are basic questions that require a conceptual understanding of calculus to answer well.

    And experiments - what do you think the purpose is? What form is the information generated in? Its data! Numbers.

    And as Hootenany said - try to describe thermodynamics (the mechanics of a car) without math. You won't get very far and you certainly couldn't design one without math. What do you think engineering is? Guys just don't freehand sketch and carve the molds for car parts. Every part is the result of careful planning: mostly calculations.
    The basic problem here is that you don't have the first clue what science and engineering are. You're trying to jump in in the middle and missing the essence of what they are.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2006
  12. Apr 17, 2006 #11
    Huh what? I'm not sure which part of that sentence to take issue with. The part about any theory being 'proven right' or the part where QM suddenly has less empirical support than Relativity. Its one of those statements thats not right. Its not even wrong.

    Uh, yes they have. Eddington in 1919 would be the first such definitive case.

    I take no issue with a possible interpretration of what you just said, but I'm certain that that interpretation is not the one you intended.

    In the strictest sense, both are wrong. But so is every theory. But to say the are unsupported by experiment is even more wrong, its not supported by our best observations.

    Yeah. That's called experimental work.


    Use English to describe all the nuances of buddhist philosophy. Doesn't work real well does it? Limited vocabulary is a real mofo.

    Common language is insufficient because it lacks the necessary extensions. Just like single variable calculus is insufficient. You need much higher mathematics.
     
  13. Apr 17, 2006 #12

    arildno

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    heartless:
    You obviously don't know anything about the inventors of technology during the nineteenth century (like Siemens and many others)

    You seem to think you could study poetry, and from that start to construct a functional car.
    Try it!
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2006
  14. Apr 17, 2006 #13

    ZapperZ

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    Considering that physicists in general agreed that QM is the most accurate and successful theory ever produced in the history of human civilization, your claim here is laughable.

    Are you claiming to know more than what many distinguish physicists have agreed on?

    And oh, there's nothing wrong with having a discussion. There is, however, something wrong when you do not care about checking the facts of your claims and continue to make things up. How would you like the rest of us to making other claims that we just make up as we go along? Is THAT the kind of "discussion" that you wish to have? If it is, then you are in the wrong forum.

    Zz.
     
  15. Apr 17, 2006 #14

    Astronuc

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    Using common language, one can describe the universe qualitatively. One could say "there are many stars" and "stars are found in collections called galaxies" - assuming one can be aware that the single stars we see are in the some galaxy as our sun.

    But one needs mathematics to describe the celestial mechanics, and the physics of stars, and the fact that there is a huge variation in types of stars depending on size, age, composition, energy generation, etc . . . all of which require a detailed mathematical model to describe. One really does need high level math and physics to really understand the intricacies of the universe.


    One could describe a forest as "a collection of trees", but one would need detailed descriptions of the variety of trees, and the flora and fauna, to really "understand" or know about the forest.

    In order to develop a 'quantitative' rather than 'qualitative' descriptions of the Universe, or Nature, or some physical system, one needs mathematics (usually high level beyond simple arithmetic) and physics, and experimentation (measurement) is necessary in order to develop detailed mathematical models. :smile: :cool:

    PF is really the wrong place to disparage mathematics, physics and science in general.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2006
  16. Apr 17, 2006 #15

    Gokul43201

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    This (if I understand what you're saying here) is your own speculation, and being counter to mainstream knowledge is in violation to the guidelines of this forum.

    If you wish to continue to have a discussion, please keep all speculation out of it, or the Mentors will be forced to lock the thread. As has been pointed out by others here, much of what you claim to be true is not. I suggest you take the approach of asking rather than telling...if you really want to gain something from all this.
     
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