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Physics with the help of programming.

  1. Mar 17, 2017 #1
    I am studying physics. I have concluded that since ancient time, physics have been understood with the help of philosophy, now iI am seeing that the physics is turning into more mathematical seems like nature is a matrix composed mathematically.
    And computer is running as best candidate for the understanding of mathematics. With the help of programming, i want to know, can we infer every law of physics? yeah and with it we may require some other engineerings too. So, can we?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 18, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    You need to learn some programming. Computers are not magic. They can't infer anything unless the programmer has created a program to process the data.

    Cornell University developed a program that given enough experimental data can determine the underlying equation that explains it. They did an experiment measuring the position of a compound pendulum that's a pendulum connected to a pendulum exhibiting chaotic motion. The program correctly deduced the equations of motion from the system.

    What the program didn't do is explain the theory behind the equations instead it just fit the data to the equation. Anyway, you can read more about it here:


    In general, we use computers to model physical systems and compare the programs predictions to the actual system. The computer is a tool that allows us to understand complex systems that we couldn't have years before in the age of paper, pencil and sliderule.
  4. Mar 18, 2017 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    This has not been true for many centuries. In fact, physics and philosophy have been diametrically opposed at times. For example, in the early 1600s, Galileo put forward the idea that the sun was the center of the solar system, not the earth. The Earth-centric view, that the sun and other planets revolved around the earty, was the dominant philosophical view at the time.

    Modern science owes its results to observation and models based on those observations, not on fallacious philosophical arguments.
  5. Mar 18, 2017 #4


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    Gold Member


    this stopped being the case since a long time now.

    Physics is not turning into more mathematics- its language is mathematics since it tries to describe patterns that we observe in nature.

    Whatever... but no, the fact that we use mathematics to describe something doesn't mean that that something is composed of mathematics. First of all, physics use just a small set of mathematics, the rest is either useless to us or doesn't work. For example in mathematics any reasonable statement (roughly speaking) is a proved fact, in physics that's not the case (all proposed theories worked perfectly in mathematics, but some are ruled out because they don't exist). Finally, mathematics is a construct of human civilization [like a tool], a construct can't compose what is there.

    What do you mean by that question?
    With computers you can infer laws outside physics as well, you just create a program to do something crazy/unphysical, such as model the orbit of a planet under a force different to Newton's gravitational force... Giving different inputs will result to the computer giving you different outputs... whether that makes sense or not depends on whether that fits your data or not. In that sense, no they don't infer the laws of physics, they will work out whatever you gave them and will give you the results of what you asked them to do...
    Of course computers play far greater role when it comes to large number of data [because they can process it faster than a human can]. Again they are subject to the input. They are also able to learn and understand patterns [but that doesn't happen out of the blue, it's again their ability to try several outcomes and do several comparisons per step] that we give them way faster than we do (but sometimes we can think instead of trying)... for example Artificial Intelligence works on that field.
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