The Complexity of Modern Science - Comments

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  • #101
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For example how many people have seen an interference pattern of light with their own eyes?
Rainbows, soap bubbles and CDs all show interference effects (although it is not trivial to get a real spatial pattern there - it is possible with a CD) - but how many know the connection to interference?
 
  • #102
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For example how many people have seen an interference pattern of light with their own eyes?
Almost of them, for example oil on a shallow puddle, soap bubbles, ...

Edit:
Ninja'd
 
  • #103
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Almost all of them, for example oil on a shallow puddle, soap bubbles, ...
I mean a double-slit pattern... as simply an example as there are many. I prefer the optical effects of steep temperature gradients to soap bubbles any day, just saying.
 
  • #104
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I mean a double-slit pattern...
Take a CD, cover everything apart from some small part with something non-reflective, shine light on it, and you can see at least the central and the first side-maximum. The second one is tricky as the pitch is only 1.6 micrometers and the "slits" in the diffraction grating are quite wide compared to those 1.6 micrometers.

Anyway, we also made good double-slit patterns in school, and again in university.
 
  • #105
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And the few who dislike the show because the "Laymen's Myths" focal point covers such a shallow, narrow fraction of science will be the ground-breakers.
Just my 2 cents, the elitism attitude that some people display is astonishing. Where does this you can't because you are to simple attitude come from? Just exactly what is shallow and narrow about Newtonian physics? Which is what 99% of these Laymen's Myths are comprised of. Its the science that paved the way for everything else after it!
 
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  • #106
S.G. Janssens
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Just exactly what is shallow and narrow about Newtonian physics?
This woke me up. I don't see where anyone said that?
 
  • #107
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And the few who "dislike" the show because the "Laymen's Myths" focal point covers such a shallow, narrow fraction of science will be the ground-breakers.
Correct me if I'm wrong, the implication I am reading here is that if you are interested in such science "Newtonian Physics" and anyone who has watched the show knows that the Mythbusters use tons of it, (plotting bullet trajectories, figuring out angles and speeds from slow motion footage ect.) then the "blanket statement" here is your mind is to simple for complex science. Reminds me of Sheldon lee Cooper talking down to Howard Wolowitz on Big Bang Theory.
 
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  • #108
S.G. Janssens
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Correct me if I'm wrong, the implication I am reading here is that if you are interested in such science "Newtonian Physics" and anyone who has watched the show knows that the Mythbusters use tons of it, (plotting bullet trajectories, figuring out angles and speeds from slow motion footage ect.) then the "blanket statement" here is your mind is to simple for complex science.
Ah I see, thank you. Well, I did not read such a strong negative qualification of Newtonian physics in particular in that quote, but I would not have written something like that either. I agree very much that there is a lot of interesting science (and mathematics) hidden in everyday phenomena that can be understood using classical physics. (Indeed, a considerable fraction of the field of nonlinear dynamics was born out of the study of such phenomena.)
Reminds me of Sheldon lee Cooper talking down to Howard Wolowitz on Big Bang Theory.
Someone made me watch a piece of an episode of that show once. I found it boring and irritating.
 
  • #109
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Reminds me of Sheldon lee Cooper talking down to Howard Wolowitz on Big Bang Theory.
Someone made me watch a piece of an episode of that show once. I found it boring and irritating.
Then you will not get how funny and accurate that statement actually is...:smile::woot:
 
  • #110
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Reminds me of the book "String Theory For Dummies", which I read all in less than 1 hour.
One of the main goal of this book is "to avoid mathematics at all cost" (p.2).
To explain string theory to a non-specialist with an inquisitive mind is certainly a noble goal.
But when 1+2=3 is too much math already, not much can be done.
 
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  • #112
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I think the biggest problem is that people find it SO much easier to watch pop science on TV than to do any actual study of science, and you know how those shows get so much wrong. I think they do sometimes inspire young people to study but overall I'm not sure but what they do more harm than good and they certainly give those adults who are not likely to further pursue actual science a very poor view of actual science of the kind you talk about. The producers of the TV shows can't be blamed for this any more than McDonalds can be blamed for serving tasty junk food. People sell what other people buy and there are lots of buyers for junk food and junk science, especially since they LOOK so tasty, what with all the nifty graphics and tomato sauce and all.

The first thing we COULD do (and won't) would be to insist that people who teach science, at any level but particularly below the college level, be required to have at least some idea what they are talking about. Teachers below the high school level in particular have no idea, generally, what science is really all about.
If science videos on (for example) youtube diddn't just "feed" the audiance with easy information, and gave the overview as well as deeper informations on the subject, it would be much better. I personally hate youtube videos that are full of animations and tempting shallow sayings, instead I really prefer videos with talking and non animational, real life presentations (like numberophile, periodic table of videos etc.)
The shallow videos are a lot more tempting, because you don't have to do anything- you just sit in front of the computer and let the video entertain you.
Not only those tv shows, even the most belowed youtube science channels make videos with non-proven, or even theoretical and hypothetical informations and show them as if they were the absolute reality, because "it is" sounds more tempting than "scientists think this is probably like this".
This is not science, this is just making use of curiosity to get more watchers, make more money, or just sound cool (Which, indeed, works perfectly).
The fact that people prefer the effortless satisfaction of curiosity over truth, must be changed.
I'm glad other people are seeing what I'm seeing.
 
  • #113
phinds
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If science videos on (for example) youtube diddn't just "feed" the audiance with easy information, and gave the overview as well as deeper informations on the subject, it would be much better.
Sure, it would be better. So what? It ISN'T better and it isn't going to GET better, so actually, all the talking we do about it is just us talking to each other and has no effect on anything. I emphasize the "and won't" part of my original post. Yep, it's frustrating all right.
 
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  • #114
anorlunda
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By some definitions PF could be define as pop science. People get mostly verbal answers here without much math, and without being told "take the whole course." I don't presume that to be lamentable, do you?

On the other hand, I do believe that many laymen spent far more time and effort to understand physics sans math, than it would take them to learn math and physics courses the conventional way.
 
  • #115
phinds
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I don't consider
By some definitions PF could be define as pop science. People get mostly verbal answers here without much math, and without being told "take the whole course." I don't presume that to be lamentable, do you?

On the other hand, I do believe that many laymen spent far more time and effort to understand physics sans math, than it would take them to learn math and physics courses the conventional way.
I don't consider PF to be on a par w/ the History Channel. We deal in facts, whether presented with the math or not. They deal in crap. But REALLY pretty crap.
 
  • #116
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To add to phinds' last reply, I feel that in general even high level explanations come with the footnote that it is only an approximation (usually) on PF.

An example is the all-time favourite of representing spacetime as a rubber sheet with masses on that sheet.
While there is merit to this model its often shown in the relativity forum that people take it outside its region of application.
Not only do other members mention this, they try to explain why it doesn't work.
Depending on the level the poster requires this can include a more mathematical treatment.

That's the big difference with standard pop science on TV and other media, they pretty much deal in absolutes.
 
  • #117
anorlunda
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I don't consider PF to be on a par w/ the History Channel. We deal in facts, whether presented with the math or not. They deal in crap. But REALLY pretty crap.
That's my point. Blanket condemnation of popular science is far too broad because it sweeps up things like PF also. If you don't like history channel, say you don't like history channel, not that you don't like popular science.
 
  • #118
phinds
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That's my point. Blanket condemnation of popular science is far too broad because it sweeps up things like PF also. If you don't like history channel, say you don't like history channel, not that you don't like popular science.
I can only repeat: I don't consider PF to be on a par w/ the History Channel. If you do, then we'll have to agree to disagree.
 
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  • #119
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I can only repeat: I don't consider PF to be on a par w/ the History Channel. If you do, then we'll have to agree to disagree.
Once on the History channel was a show about the US Navy teleporting a destroyer in the vicinity of New York City. We were told that this was a consequence of Albert Einstein's Unified Field Theory.

I thought that that was sinking very low.
 
  • #120
anorlunda
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I can only repeat: I don't consider PF to be on a par w/ the History Channel. If you do, then we'll have to agree to disagree.
Don't be so dense. Reread #114 and #117. It is clear that I do not consider them on a par. I object to overly broad speech that would lump them together.

I'll say it one more time in language that I hope penetrates. "History channel bad." "PF good." "The term popular science includes both."
 
  • #121
phinds
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"The term popular science includes both."
Ah ... then that's where we disagree.

EDIT: And by the way, there was no need to be rude about it.
 
  • #122
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Once on the History channel was a show about the US Navy teleporting a destroyer in the vicinity of New York City. We were told that this was a consequence of Albert Einstein's Unified Field Theory.
Yup, the show was aired on the History Channel's ... History's Mysteries... Yuck!


It was about The Philadelphia Experiment ...

Lol...
I thought that that was sinking very low.
 

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