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I hate the word 'theory'

  1. Nov 28, 2014 #1

    jim mcnamara

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    Theory has a clear dichotomy of meaning.

    1. 95% of English speakers: I have a theory. Translation -- I just pulled this out of thin air or my posterior.
    I was just in a thread where a poster did this, and I get it.

    2. 5% of English speakers: Theory of Evolution. Translation -- An extensively tested, refined, and widely accepted scientific hypothesis. ...Too bad it is not the LAW of Evolution.

    I avoid the word theory when posting in the science forums.

    Does anyone have a word that causes them issues when not dealing with nerds?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 28, 2014 #2

    DrClaude

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    Words that often make me cringe when uttered by non-scientists:

    random, chaos, energy, vibration
     
  4. Nov 28, 2014 #3

    Nugatory

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    Photon.
     
  5. Nov 28, 2014 #4

    Bystander

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    Entropy.
     
  6. Nov 28, 2014 #5

    PeroK

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    Quantum leap.
     
  7. Nov 28, 2014 #6

    ShayanJ

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    Only once, I heard Higgs field from a chemical engineering student, which counts as a layman relative to physics, and it was completely enough for me for years!!! He wanted to use Higgs field in mass transfer(of course in the chemical engineering meaning)!:confused:

    And once I heard something about how music reduces brain's entropy and so makes us enjoy it!oo)

    And once I heard someone said how length contraction in SR can lead to cooling of the material!?:)(I don't remember his argument)

    And another time I heard from the same SR guy, how gravitational acceleration of earth depends on temperature "according to his calculations"!:nb)
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014
  8. Nov 28, 2014 #7

    Danger

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    Velocity, when no vector is provided.
     
  9. Nov 28, 2014 #8
    Phonon
     
  10. Nov 28, 2014 #9

    Vanadium 50

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    Momentum.
     
  11. Nov 28, 2014 #10

    vela

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    frequency — what's the frequency of an electron?
     
  12. Nov 28, 2014 #11

    Bandersnatch

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    Singularity
     
  13. Nov 28, 2014 #12

    WWGD

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    Are you all just jealous of the non-chaotic random high-velocity & low-entropy quantum accounting with singular photons I have been researching? Plenty of momentum, and plenty of $$$'s in my research, after applying for funding using 37 buzz words. Besides, I am a lesbian Vietnam Vet Eskimo.
     
  14. Nov 28, 2014 #13

    phinds

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    absolute movement (OK, it's a phrase, not a single word but it makes me cringe)
     
  15. Nov 28, 2014 #14

    Bandersnatch

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    That you, Deepak Chopra? Writing a new book, are we?
    By the way, it won't work without a turbo-encabulator and at least one reciprocating dingle arm.
     
  16. Nov 28, 2014 #15

    WWGD

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    No problem, my son, I can always use the turbo-encabulator within. And it is Six-Pack , not Deepak.
     
  17. Nov 29, 2014 #16

    russ_watters

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    I don't get the premise of this thread: why hate the word? The word didn't do anything wrong, the person who misused it did.
     
  18. Nov 29, 2014 #17

    phinds

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    Yeah, but some words are WAY more subject to misuse than others. I think that's the point of the thread.
     
  19. Nov 29, 2014 #18

    Bystander

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    I think most of us were taking our cues more from the text than from the thread title.
     
  20. Nov 29, 2014 #19
    Brown moonlight. I am scared! People saying so may have a bad eyesight.
     
  21. Nov 29, 2014 #20

    Danger

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    Okay, I've absolutely never heard of that. Explain?
    That is, I've never heard of it as a concept, only as a designation for a fish or mineral or suchlike.
     
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