How are new theories developed?

  • #1
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Moved from https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/how-are-new-theories-developed.947949/#post-6001569

Main Question or Discussion Point

But someone does make new formulas and theories?
Did all of them first learn about the existing knowlegde first?

Like church made geocentric theory but copernicus made heliocentric using observations.
Did he have to learn geocentric first?

I am asking this because if the people are studying something right now which may be proved false in the future then it will be waste of time?
Just asking cause most of chemistry looks like just assumed stuff to me.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
168
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But someone does make new formulas and theories?
Did all of them first learn about the existing knowlegde first?

Like church made geocentric theory but copernicus made heliocentric using observations.
Did he have to learn geocentric first?

I am asking this because if the people ae studying something right now which may be proved false in the future then it will be waste of time?
Just asking cause most of chemistry looks like just assumed stuff to me.
And in physics,
the syllabus makers look confused if light is particle nature or wave nature. And then they say it is both :|
 
  • #3
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5,317
But someone does make new formulas and theories?
Did all of them first learn about the existing knowlegde first?
Yes.

Like church made geocentric theory but copernicus made heliocentric using observations.
Did he have to learn geocentric first?
Yes, and he had to show that his heliocentric model could reproduce the geocentric model’s known successful predictions.

I am asking this because if the people are studying something right now which may be proved false in the future then it will be waste of time?
I think you have a mistaken idea of how science works. Consider Newtonian mechanics and Relativity. If Relativity proved it false, then why is Classical Mechanics still taught?
 
  • #4
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I think you have a mistaken idea of how science works. Consider Newtonian mechanics and Relativity. If Relativity proved it false, then why is Classical Mechanics still taught?
I dont know.
Maybe because classical mechanics is like relativity under special conditions?
Not sure though
 
  • #5
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Like church made geocentric theory but copernicus made heliocentric using observations.
Did he have to learn geocentric first?
.
By the way, the best geocentric theory was not developed by any church.
It was the work of Claudius Ptolemy, developed well before any Christian church had the power or the means to impose "theories".
And it was a good theory, judging by the observation available at the time.
 
  • #6
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I dont know.
Maybe because classical mechanics is like relativity under special conditions?
Not sure though
Yes, that is excellent. Specifically, classical mechanics is validated by an enormous body of evidence, and therefore relativity must match classical mechanics in the special conditions where classical mechanics is known to be valid.

So learning classical mechanics is not a waste of time. Although it is not valid in all domains, it is valid across a wide variety of conditions. The advent of relativity did not remove any of the experimental evidence validating classical mechanics.
 
  • #7
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Did all of them first learn about the existing knowlegde first?
A very powerful motivation to investigate is the conviction that something specific needs revision, together with the suspicion of a specific error, in something specific. Do you agree until there?

Now ask yourself how you can arrive at a specific conviction and suspicion without learning, understanding, fixing, exercising and shredding what has been done before you.

Another detail. Physics is the distillate of a huge accumulation of intellectual activity within the world culture. If you wanted to ignore the world culture and its distillate, you alone should accumulate an immensity of contributions, equivalent to many millennia of world culture.

In the dilation of a human life, the only effective thing that really is within reach is to soak well with that distillate. There is no time to absorb the cultural totality of many millennia. That distillate is effective in many aspects, without being perfect. If you manage to soak with it, the deficiencies of the distillate will ever be evident to you and, at that moment, you will have the conviction that something specific needs revision, together with the suspicion of a specific error, in something specific. The next and inevitable step in your activity will be to investigate. Then you will do it legitimately and with sufficient foundation.
 

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