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The Hierarchy of Physics

  1. May 16, 2003 #1
    It's funny because over the years I've noticed an almost subconscious attitude among physicists that everyone should be placed somewhere in the following hierarchy.

    Pure Mathematicians
    Applied Mathematicians
    Mathematical Physicists
    Theoretical Physicists
    Computational Physicists
    Experimental Physicists
    Applied Physicists
    PhD Level Engineers / Chemists / Computer Scientists
    PhD Level Scientists from Fields not Previously Mentioned
    Masters Level Scientists and Engineers
    Bachelors Level Engineers and Computer Scientists
    Research Technicians
    the Rest of Society
    Abysmal Sludge

    Don't get me wrong. I don't buy into this bullsh:t. I just wanted to point out an observation. The funny though, is that I sincerely believe that most physics people I've met wish they were at least one step higher on this list.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 16, 2003 #2


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    arent Theoretical Physicists=Mathematical Physicists?
  4. May 16, 2003 #3
    Deja vu....

    Dude, I just totally posted a thread entitled something like Loop Quantum Gravity Dreams, and then you're wavefunction totally collapsed... and here you are.

    Anyway no, mathematical theorists consider themselves in a class above ordinary theorists. I know this because I once had an academic advisor who was a mathematical theorist... and he always made sure to include the word mathematical before the word theorist.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2003
  5. May 17, 2003 #4


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    Mathematical physicists spend their time trying to make the stuff theoretical physicsts come up with rigorous. Thet do consider themselves mathematicians rather than physicists.

    Theoretical physicists are often dismissive of mathematical physicists rather than honoring them. And get indignant (with suspiciously intense affect) when it is suggested the stuff they do isn't rigorous.

    If you want to bug a theoretical physicst, suggest to him that neither QED or the standard model really exist, in a rigorous sense. (This is true, or at least arguable).
  6. May 17, 2003 #5
    What do you think the difference between applied mathematicians and mathematical physicists are?

    I though applied mathematics was the union of mathematical physics and theoretical mechanics. I would certainly consider mathematical physics above theoretical mechanics.
  7. May 17, 2003 #6
    Uh... first of all you're missing my point completely you nimrod. There is no **** hierarchy! Why do you want to categorize one type of person above another anyway? How the hell do you think the holocaust got started?

    Second of all, applied mathematicians do their research in a variety of fields, but the main point is they are mostly concerned with the study of mathematics whereas mathematical physicists are mostly concerned with the study of physics.

    So, you see we can point out the differences between people without having to say that one is better than the other.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2003
  8. May 17, 2003 #7
    Personally, I prefer to think of myself as...

    The God of Abysmal Sludge.
  9. May 18, 2003 #8

    Why did you do it then? And comparing one post to the holocaust is unjust. Partial ordering is allowed in whichever way it is defined.

    Applied mathematics is mostly the union of mathematical physics and theoretical physics, with other subjects being studied such as finance. As such, if applied mathematicians are concerned with mostly studying mathematics, then so are mathematical physics.

    Only a fool would think this was the case anyway - so so are not teaching me anything. If you thought that this was the point of my post, then you were very much mistaken.
  10. May 18, 2003 #9
    The point of your post was to indignantly state that you feel theoretcial physicists are inherently better people (by the fact that they are closer to God) than applied mathematicians. I don't know... maybe you feel that someday you will become one of the greatest theorists in the world, and at that point you will have the right to look down on all the lowly people of the world and grin knowing that you are better than they are... and you'll be damned if somebody on the internet is going to say that there are others out there who will feel that applied mathematicians are not included in the set of people you will be better than someday!

    Anyway, it's still funny to me that you have no idea what the difference between applied mathematicians and mathematical physicists is. Like I said before, applied mathematicians are primarily concerned with mathematics. They wish to discover new mathematical relations which can be applied to the physical, economical, or computational worlds. Mathematical physicists, on the other hand, are primarily concerned with studying physics in a formalized context. They wish to use mathematics in order to describe the physical world with analytical eloquence.

    The fact that you feel you have the right to categorize people by their value is completely classist. Of course, I can tell by your previous posts that you're simply a self-righteous, yet completely worthless, dilettante. You probably spent many years at a proper English boarding school thinking about how offended you would be if you ever had to meet someone from the working class.

  11. May 18, 2003 #10

    God has not been shown to exist or not to exist.

    Not much chance of that considering I am ditching maths in a few weeks.

    At my university, the applied mathematics group is divided into mathematical physicists and theoretical mechanics sections. Having done modules in each section and a dissertation within theoretical mechanics, I can state that I found the theoretical mechanics far easier. This is a general viewpoint held my almost anyone I speak to.

    As for your definition of mathematical physicists and applied mathematics, maybe the discrepancy occurs due to a different definition of applied mathematics within USA and Europe. Not my fault - don't get so wound up about it.

    I said nothing about value, just it is possible to rate people. You could of course classify people by their time to run 100 metres. No one would object to this, or if you wanted to instill a partial ordering based on time, there can be no argument.

    I went to a comprehensive - not that it is any business of yours. Get a life and stop making insulting false assumptions about random people on the internet.
  12. May 18, 2003 #11
    Stop wasting my time.

  13. May 18, 2003 #12
    You were the one who initiated the argument with accusations and your aggression.
  14. May 19, 2003 #13
    Actual hierarchy in understanding nature is as follows (and I'll drop God hypothesis due to lack of any evedence in favor of it):

    If anything exists (anything at all), we then label it as "yes", or "true", or "1", or "+", etc. The lack (absence) of this "anything" is labeled as "no", "false", "0", "-", etc.

    This is the ORIGIN of logic. Then mathematics follows (which is just advanced logic), then physics (=mathematically imposed rules of interaction of existing objects given certain mathematical symmetries) follows from mathematics just as a consequence.

    So, universe is such because mathematics (logic) is such. By other words, universe is such because it exists.

    So, please respect, nurish, cherish and worship mathematicians.

    And don't forget theoretical physicists who explain how tangible objects (say, particles, atoms, crystals, stars, etc) and sensible properties (say: color, mass, taste, love, etc) originate from math.

    Start supporting one near you today! You contribution, no matter how humble it is, can be the one which let's him/her to buy that last bottle of beer (or vodka) to finish his/her TOE.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2003
  15. May 20, 2003 #14
    Re: Personally, I prefer to think of myself as...

    right :wink: .. cut the crap .. inbetween

    About the hierarchy, it reminds hierarchy of church, who's closer to 'god'. Sure, one can rate people, but to classify based on areas of work is to cause sort of stagnation

  16. May 20, 2003 #15
    lol, I would say 'applied mathematicians' would go considerably lower, perhaps near computational physicists.

    It's funny, there is a similar hierarchy in the social sciences, with economics at the top...
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