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Is physics being recorded in any really hard-to-destroy way?

  1. Jan 28, 2015 #1
    In recent centuries a relative handful of brilliant people have devoted their lives to figuring out some very difficult things and developing some ingenious tools to do so along the way. However, as far as I know, the only places this work has been recorded is on things that are easily destroyed - paper, hard-drives and human brains. None of those things will stand the test of time. One natural disaster and all this progress could be wiped out in one fell swoop (which is obviously not unprecedented), leaving future civilizations having to rediscover things from scratch.

    Then you look at what archaeologists have found that have taught us about the past, stuff that has lasted tens of thousands of years. Stuff made out of much more durable materials. Shouldn't some committee be looking to make a more permanent record in the same way? Or is this being done already?

    I'm aware that a future civilization might not speak any language that exists today, but perhaps that could be overcome, if a language/alphabet came with diagrams of how to form certain sounds with your mouth or something. What do you think?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2015 #2

    Quantum Defect

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    If you haven't read it already, "A Canticle for Leibowitz" is a really imaginitive rendering of the problem of preserving knowledge.
     
  4. Jan 28, 2015 #3
    I haven't read it, no. What does it suggest and is it happening?
     
  5. Jan 28, 2015 #4

    Quantum Defect

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    It is cold-war era science fiction. Happily, the world that it imagined never came to pass, but it deals with the fragility of knowledge and society in an interesting way.
     
  6. Jan 28, 2015 #5

    russ_watters

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    The best way to ensure longevity of information is to make backups. Since all of the important ideas have thousands or millions of copies, residing all over the globe, that's about as well as the longevity can be assured. If a global cataclysm wiped-out all of that information, the loss of that information would be way down on our list of problems.
     
  7. Jan 28, 2015 #6

    mfb

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    The information how to make various tools, chemicals and other things with basic equipment or leftover equipment of our civilization would certainly be interesting.
    Recent publications do not help there, of course - no one cares about the mass of a Higgs boson if you want to make steel tools from scratch.
     
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