Greatest Physicist Ever

  • Thread starter Izzhov
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Who was the greatest physicist ever?

  • Isaac Newton

    Votes: 27 44.3%
  • Albert Einstein

    Votes: 12 19.7%
  • James Clerk Maxwell

    Votes: 7 11.5%
  • Niels Bohr

    Votes: 2 3.3%
  • Werner Heisenberg

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Galileo Galilei

    Votes: 4 6.6%
  • Richard Feynman

    Votes: 6 9.8%
  • Paul Dirac

    Votes: 1 1.6%
  • Erwin Schroedinger

    Votes: 2 3.3%
  • Ernest Rutherford

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    61
  • #76
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Anything can be described mathematically (if one wished to do so)... Give me an example of something you can't describe with math Izzhov... physically preferably, although anything works but it becomes silly to describe a painting with math, but computers do it every time you look up an image on google I bet.
Described yes, but 100% accurately modeled? ??? That is an interesting philosophical question that IZZ has brought up. Economists try every day to model the economy with mathematics, but it would be impossible to model the economy with 100% accuracy with math. If someone were able to come up with such a model they would be infinitely rich. The schrodinger eq. can only be solved for the H atom or H-like atoms. The QM models that describe other atoms etc. are just approximations( pretty good ones though) and therefore are not 100% accurate. so yes, i do agree with izz to some extent.
 
  • #77
117
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Here's a friendly advice: don't call yourself a "scientist" and a "philosopher" until you have a university degree in both.

I'm interested in music. Does that make me a musician? I read a lot about medical procedures. Does that make me a physician? If it does, can I perform a surgery on you? I need the practice.

Please note that this forum has MANY actual practicing physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers, etc.. etc. In other words, unless you want to make a fool of yourself among these people, you may want to pay particular attention to how you conduct yourself on here, especially in passing off what you are not.

Zz.
For goodness' sake, I already apologized! By the way, I actually do call people who play an instrument musicians, even if they aren't professional.

mu·si·cian /myuˈzɪʃən/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[myoo-zish-uhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun
1. a person who makes music a profession, esp. as a performer of music.
2. any person, whether professional or not, skilled in music.
 
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  • #78
117
0
Described yes, but 100% accurately modeled? ??? That is an interesting philosophical question that IZZ has brought up. Economists try every day to model the economy with mathematics, but it would be impossible to model the economy with 100% accuracy with math. If someone were able to come up with such a model they would be infinitely rich. The schrodinger eq. can only be solved for the H atom or H-like atoms. The QM models that describe other atoms etc. are just approximations( pretty good ones though) and therefore are not 100% accurate. so yes, i do agree with izz to some extent.
This is exactly the point I was trying to make. My opinions are also influenced by Godel's Incompleteness Theorem. If mathematics itself isn't complete, how can it completely describe the universe?
 
  • #79
Astronuc
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If mathematics itself isn't complete, how can it completely describe the universe.
One does not have to describe or model the universe with 100% accuracy. It is sufficient to make some darn good approximations, and we do. We can predict the outcome of many experiments with remarkable repeatablity.

In applied science or engineering, we do predictive analysis. We don't worry about figuring where each and every atom goes - and we don't need to. We are satisfied if we can get within 10% in some cases or 1% in others. In the case where the prediction has large uncertainty, we back off on the key parameters to obtain some margin to a technical limit.
 
  • #80
ZapperZ
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Described yes, but 100% accurately modeled? ??? That is an interesting philosophical question that IZZ has brought up. Economists try every day to model the economy with mathematics, but it would be impossible to model the economy with 100% accuracy with math. If someone were able to come up with such a model they would be infinitely rich. The schrodinger eq. can only be solved for the H atom or H-like atoms. The QM models that describe other atoms etc. are just approximations( pretty good ones though) and therefore are not 100% accurate. so yes, i do agree with izz to some extent.
But even your reason for this is not accurate.

For example, I can write, with COMPLETE ACCURACY, the differential equation of motion of a 3-body system. There's nothing "approximate" about this. Mathematically, this description is complete. I've accounted for all the interaction or forces involved in the system.

Yet, if I try to solve the differential equation to try to solve for the equation of motion to describe its more complete trajectory, this is where I have to impose the approximation. But this has nothing to do with mathematics not being complete, nor is it a shortcoming of physics. It is simply a most generalized system that cannot be described by a closed analytical form.

The same can be said with a description of atoms. I can write, with complete accuracy if I know all the interactions, the Schrodinger equation or the Hamiltonian. In principle, this is ALL I need to write to completely describe the system. Solving it is a different matter, and again, it has nothing to do with "mathematics being incomplete".

I really don't understand what this is all about. Are people arguing that we do NOT need mathematics to describe our world? Or that there are instances where we don't have to use it? I want examples, please! Talk is cheap. If people think physics can get away with simply saying "what does up must come down" with having to predict when and where it will come down, then one has mistaken philosophy for physics.

Zz.
 
  • #81
ZapperZ
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For goodness' sake, I already apologized! By the way, I actually do call people who play an instrument musicians, even if they aren't professional.
Good. When shall I prep you for surgery?

Zz.
 
  • #82
Please don't turn the exception into a rule. Besides, we ARE living in the "modern age".

Many people don't even pretend to call themselves so-and-so even though they have their first degree - most aren't that pretentious to think they are already experts in such a field with just a degree and no experience.

Zz.
Einstein had a degree(a third, which explains why no one would take him on and he ended up working in a patent clerks office) And no experience, he became an expert by virtue of explaining a new model of physics, I'm just pointing that out, you rule out the fact that he is not some prodigy :smile:
 
  • #83
ZapperZ
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Einstein had a degree(a third, which explains why no one would take him on and he ended up working in a patent clerks office) And no experience, he became an expert by virtue of explaining a new model of physics, I'm just pointing that out, you rule out the fact that he is not some prodigy :smile:
I did what?

And you seem to have neglected my suggestion to not make the exception into a rule. Einstein was one of the exception! You seem to want to make this and turn it into something common, which it is not. Anyone here claiming to be as talented as Einstein and therefore is immune to getting an education before he/she can call himself so-and-so, is delusional! Even Einstein didn't claim to be an "Einstein". The accolades are given to him by others, not something he gave himself!

Zz.
 
  • #84
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1
I would vote for John Bardeen; No bull****, no nonsense, straight hard-working scientist working in pragmatic terms. Practical and theoretical knowledge at tops with the invention of transistor and BSC superconductivity thory. Well balanced, non-eccentric; got what he deserved with 2 nobel prizes.

Heck, only Gorden Freeman could beat him in awesomeness and the level of manliness, but he's a game character. So there you go.
 
  • #85
117
0
One does not have to describe or model the universe with 100% accuracy. It is sufficient to make some darn good approximations, and we do. We can predict the outcome of many experiments with remarkable repeatablity.

In applied science or engineering, we do predictive analysis. We don't worry about figuring where each and every atom goes - and we don't need to. We are satisfied if we can get within 10% in some cases or 1% in others. In the case where the prediction has large uncertainty, we back off on the key parameters to obtain some margin to a technical limit.
I agree competely.

I would vote for John Bardeen; No bull****, no nonsense, straight hard-working scientist working in pragmatic terms. Practical and theoretical knowledge at tops with the invention of transistor and BSC superconductivity thory. Well balanced, non-eccentric; got what he deserved with 2 nobel prizes.

Heck, only Gorden Freeman could beat him in awesomeness and the level of manliness, but he's a game character. So there you go.
PLEASE see my first post.
 
  • #86
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0
But even your reason for this is not accurate.

For example, I can write, with COMPLETE ACCURACY, the differential equation of motion of a 3-body system. There's nothing "approximate" about this. Mathematically, this description is complete. I've accounted for all the interaction or forces involved in the system.

Yet, if I try to solve the differential equation to try to solve for the equation of motion to describe its more complete trajectory, this is where I have to impose the approximation. But this has nothing to do with mathematics not being complete, nor is it a shortcoming of physics. It is simply a most generalized system that cannot be described by a closed analytical form.

The same can be said with a description of atoms. I can write, with complete accuracy if I know all the interactions, the Schrodinger equation or the Hamiltonian. In principle, this is ALL I need to write to completely describe the system. Solving it is a different matter, and again, it has nothing to do with "mathematics being incomplete".

I really don't understand what this is all about. Are people arguing that we do NOT need mathematics to describe our world? Or that there are instances where we don't have to use it? I want examples, please! Talk is cheap. If people think physics can get away with simply saying "what does up must come down" with having to predict when and where it will come down, then one has mistaken philosophy for physics.

Zz.
See Godel's Incompleteness Theorem, and then see Astronuc's post.

I don't understand how, even if mathematics is incomplete, you can still think that it can completely describe the universe.

I think you think I think (:rolleyes:) that the fact that certain things can only be expressed as approximations means that mathematics is incomplete. But I think that mathematics is incomplete because certain things cannot be proved.
 
  • #87
ZapperZ
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See Godel's Incompleteness Theorem, and then see Astronuc's post.

I don't understand how, even if mathematics is incomplete, you can still think that it can completely describe the universe.

I think you think I think (:rolleyes:) that the fact that certain things can only be expressed as approximations means that mathematics is incomplete. But I think that mathematics is incomplete because certain things cannot be proved.
First of all, go back through all my post and see where I actually said anything about describing the universe.

Secondly, you still haven't given me an example in physics where a description of ANY phenomena can be completely done without any mathematics. Until you can do that, you have no leg to stand on whereby a physical phenomenon CAN be accurately described without the use of any mathematics.

Zz.
 
  • #88
2,425
6
I don't understand how, even if mathematics is incomplete, you can still think that it can completely describe the universe.

(...)

But I think that mathematics is incomplete because certain things cannot be proved.
I think you have not quite understood the depth of Godel's theorem. It is a quite advance level theorem for you, and I do not blame you.

You cannot just state "math are incomplete because of Godel's theorem". Godel's theorem does not states that "mathematics are incomplete". It says, within a certain system of axioms (take Peano axioms) there are propositions that are true but that one cannot prove. Proving those propositions requires more axioms (then to prove such propositions you will need something like real analysis, or complex calculus, or something more powerful than just integer numbers). Godel's theorem was a reply to Hilbert's program of mechanizing mathematical proofs (Hilbert program was not just that, but it included that). Godel has shown that a computer cannot prove everything true if it just has the axioms. A mathematician's job is more elaborate. It requires creativity (finding out which new axioms are relevant) and that cannot be done by a computer. This last affirmation can be regarded as the essence of Godel's theorem.

Godel's theorem is irrelevant in the present discussion.
 
  • #89
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6
see Astronuc's post.
The accuracy at which you can test a model just defines a level a complexity.

Let me work out a simple example :
  • We are using model A of the universe, and within experimental accuracy, it has never been proven wrong. All measurements are in agreement with model A.
  • Some clever experimentalist increases the accuracy of measurements by of factor of one thousand. This is huge. The guy is a darn gifted experimentalist. Now measurements come out in disagreement with model A ! This is a sensation. Smart exerimentalist is up for a Nobel prize.
  • Within a few weeks, many theoricians come up with new models, call them B and C etc..., predicting the new observations. All the community is very happy. Until that point, you should understand that accuracy is not a problem with the modelisation of reality. Whenever you find something wrong, you find a better model on the market.
  • Ah but now comes the punchline : clever experimentalist made a mistake ! Instead of finding (say) smaller values than predicted by model A, he should have published larger values ! That means, models B, C... are all ballooney, they are wronger than model A. What point am I trying to make ? You will always find people creative enough to imagine good reasons for new observations. Then after a while, you take those reasons seriously, as if reality obeyed the law of the model. But Nature can always hide somewhere you don't expect her to go... What is interesting in physics is when you find deviations from what you thought you would find. A model should not be considered as a holly grail to reach, and once you have one which has never been proven wrong, it should not be considered more than a model waiting for a better model...
 
  • #90
I did what?

And you seem to have neglected my suggestion to not make the exception into a rule. Einstein was one of the exception! You seem to want to make this and turn it into something common, which it is not. Anyone here claiming to be as talented as Einstein and therefore is immune to getting an education before he/she can call himself so-and-so, is delusional! Even Einstein didn't claim to be an "Einstein". The accolades are given to him by others, not something he gave himself!

Zz.
:rofl: OK calm down I was only teasing really anyway, you just had on that, I am an authority head, so I was prodding you for giggles.

How dare you young whipper snapper! claim to be a scientist would you! Fetch my cane I'll lay about this young upstart: see if I don't!

Look a scientist is just someone who uses scientific method, usually highly qualified, and a philosopher someone who likes to think about the more esoteric questions. I'm sure the kid wasn't suggesting that he was really a scientist or a philosopher, although anyone can be a philosopher; but the ogre appears and swats the young impudent scamp for his precociousness :smile: you gotta admit it's pretty amusing from my perspective.:tongue2: :biggrin:
 
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  • #91
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:rofl: OK calm down I was only teasing really anyway, you just had on that, I am an authority head, so I was prodding you for giggles.

How dare you young whipper snapper! claim to be a scientist would you! Fetch my cane I'll lay about this young upstart see if I don't!

Look a scientist is just someone who uses scientific method, usually highly qualified, and a philosopher someone who likes to think about the more esoteric questions. I'm sure the kid wasn't suggesting that he was really a scientist or a philosopher although anyone can be a philosopher, but the ogre appears and swats the young impudent scamp for his precociousness :smile: you gotta admit it's pretty amusing from my perspective.:tongue2: :biggrin:
Then you must be easily amused.

Zz.
 
  • #92
Then you must be easily amused.

Zz.
English humour it revolves around mockery, mostly of ourselves, but others are fair game too, it's particularly used when someone gets a little high and mighty or a little pompous, I wouldn't take it personally it's just our way :smile: trouble is some people think we're being offensive but we're not we're just messing for fun. No offence.
 
  • #93
ZapperZ
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English humour it revolves around mockery, mostly of ourselves, but others are fair game too, it's particularly used when someone gets a little high and mighty or a little pompous, I wouldn't take it personally it's just our way :smile: trouble is some people think we're being offensive but we're not we're just messing for fun. No offence.
But that actually is even more insulting. You make some snide comment and then you tell me I shouldn't be offended because you were just "messing for fun". You can't have it both ways, nor can you control how *I* perceived it.

Just because there have been some folks dumb enough to let you get away with it before doesn't mean you can get away with that all the time.

Zz.
 
  • #94
But that actually is even more insulting. You make some snide comment and then you tell me I shouldn't be offended because you were just "messing for fun". You can't have it both ways, nor can you control how *I* perceived it.

Just because there have been some folks dumb enough to let you get away with it before doesn't mean you can get away with that all the time.

Zz.
I can see you don't take to English humour, I apologise if there was any offence, I wont make the same mistake in future. Sincerely I apologise. It's hard to interpret who will take our sense of humour, I'm sorry you don't find light hearted mockery appropriate in dialogue, I'll be sure to remember that. :frown: oops. :/

Do you really think though it's done to people who are dumb, why bother, they wont get the joke anyway?

And besides who the hell is dumb on this website, :biggrin: I've yet to meet anyone.

Again I'm sorry, I guess it's not well received to make fun of someone who is being a little pompous, sorry my mistake. And I really didn't mean to cause offence although I obviously did.
 
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