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Is our current math even suited for general relativity ?

  1. Jan 1, 2014 #1
    i have a question, that nobody seems to be able to answer : is math actually suited for reality ? Basically the idea is that reality seems to be granular, for example we have planks time.
    Usually the difference is so small, that is doesn't matter, but if you bring things like infinity into the game, it DOES matter. Therefor I believe we do need a new kind of math to solve certain problems, especially in physics. Think of the problem of computing a black hole, where some terms suddenly become infinite, and everything brakes together. What if the real problem is in the math we use ? Math automatically assumes that a point has zero dimensions, but if reality doesn't work that way, then the reason for those infinities doesn't lie in our understanding, but in the math we use.

    sorry if I have formulated this a but sloppy, i am neither a scientist, nor a mathematician, just an interested amateur ;)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 1, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    short answer: yes.
    GR is currently well formulated in the existing math.

    Not really - because we can always (and, indeed, do) use that math to work out geometry assuming there is a minimum possible size for a real object.

    The question certainly uses very vague terms so it is difficult to know how to answer.
    I hope I've covered the crux of the matter: you were concerned that our default way of doing math assumes the existence of objects that may not exist in reality, and may not be well suited to describing reality. However, the opposite is true: there is no assumption of existence for any mathematical object, and these idealized objects are very useful for describing reality precisely because of this.

    The thing to realize is that math is a language that we use to describe things in a careful way.
    As a result it need not be literally and physically real.

    Rest assured, mathematicians are adding more math all the time to account for things which are not easily described by the math we have. The kind of math you got in school is only a small part of the math that is known.

    Also take care - the discussion is borderline philosophy: which is banned here.
    The fact that reality is so well described by math is subject to some discussion ... elsewhere.
  4. Jan 2, 2014 #3
    Hello amateur....
    Mathematics is what, we, the humans built up to understand and interpret reality.........
    Mathematics is not yet complete, nor is any other science.
    Prior to GR, Mathematics was not complex enough to understand GR, but, Mathematics was modified from what it was, to theorize GR. So even if present mathematics is not fully sufficient to theorize GR, it is closely modified enough to understand GR.
  5. Jan 2, 2014 #4


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    I wonder who you have been asking such a thing to?

    Perhaps you should start by reading this famous Wigner's essay


  6. Aug 14, 2014 #5
    Wow! I was wondering with the same question for a long time Mr. Amateur... I later found that Basic Mathematics is developed from what is reality! However, Advanced Mathematics is little deviated... One needs a lot of understanding to get what is Mathematics!
  7. Aug 14, 2014 #6


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    The existence of a particular measure of dimension (one Plank length) or time (one Plank length) has NOTHING to do with whether or not reality is quantized any more than a meter or a second does.
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