Truth of Physics

  • #1
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Okay guys
So this isn't actually a doubt or anything of the sort
It's just one of the many musings/ideas i have
So my indirect question
Is
Isn't physics all about approximations
Be it optics,mechanics,thermodynamics,electrostatics etc(both microscopic and macroscopic phenomena)
I mean since the main aim of developing physics is to understand the world as we know it and all the natural phenomena which are witnessed,isn't there anything called 100% accurate
I know there's always that little inaccuracy or that slight deviation/discrepancy between theoretical and practical/experimental results but still
Can't we ever make something in physics 100% approximation free or would it just violate the meaning or existence of physics itself??




UchihaClan13
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I am guessing the answer's sadly going to be the latter
Because approximations are what provide physics its meaning/existence
Anyways
Other views/opinions are always appreciated!!:)


UchihaClan13
 
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  • #3
sophiecentaur
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I am guessing the answer's sadly going to be the latter
Because approximations are what provide physics its meaning/existence
Anyways
Other views/opinions are always appreciated!!:)


UchihaClan13
Science is always Models. Models are, of course, approximate. When a model predicts results reliably, it's a good model and may be nearer to 'a truth' as another model. But there are times when two, apparently contradictory, models will give good predictions in different contexts. To wit the treatment of EM as waves or particles - depending.
Personally, I can't believe that there is any 'ultimate' truth because that would involve a perfect 1to 1 model of the whole universe. I don't find that at all upsetting or disappointing. On the other hand, people who hold the other view are doomed to have a bad day whenever they read of a new bit of Science because all that went before is 'wrong wrong wrong'. How upsetting.
If it's near enough, it's good enough for Jazz and Science.
 
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  • #4
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Okay guys
So this isn't actually a doubt or anything of the sort
It's just one of the many musings/ideas i have
So my indirect question
Is
Isn't physics all about approximations
Be it optics,mechanics,thermodynamics,electrostatics etc(both microscopic and macroscopic phenomena)
I mean since the main aim of developing physics is to understand the world as we know it and all the natural phenomena which are witnessed,isn't there anything called 100% accurate
I know there's always that little inaccuracy or that slight deviation/discrepancy between theoretical and practical/experimental results but still
Can't we ever make something in physics 100% approximation free or would it just violate the meaning or existence of physics itself??
UchihaClan13
@UchihaClan13, please don't overuse bold font style. As already noted by another member, it's considered "shouting." I removed all of the bold style from your first two posts.
 
  • #5
cnh1995
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Can't we ever make something in physics 100% approximation free or would it just violate the meaning or existence of physics itself??
I believe accuracy depends on the level of understanding. For example, at college level, we study projectile motion under ideal conditions i.e. we make a lot of appriximations. There, we are only supposed to be aware of the mechanics of the projectile. However, in rocket science, where the level of understanding is much much higher, you'll see that the physics is much more complicated, almost accurate. This is because they are supposed to actually build a rocket and launch it succesfully. In lower level physics, all you know about an atom is protons, electrons and neutrons. But in quantum mechanics, there is variety of other particles like muon, boson, neutrino, positron etc. and pretty advanced concepts like spin, exclusion principle, quantum tunneling etc etc. and the accuracy in calculations is almost 100%. I believe accuracy goes on increasing with the expected level of understanding.
 
  • #6
Orodruin
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To add to what others have said, physics is an empirical science. No matter how precise a theory is there will always be measurement uncertainties. You can never hope to trust your theory beyond the range in which has been tested.
 
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  • #7
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you may gain some insight into science by reading some philosophy books:
Friedrich Nietzsche:.
. 'there are no facts, only interpretations'
.'truths are illusions which have forgotten are illusions'
 
  • #8
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please don't overuse bold font style. As already noted by another member, it's considered "shouting." I removed all of the bold style from your first two posts.
i am sorry for my aberrant behaviour
 
  • #9
CWatters
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Doesn't this all depend on the experiment being performed? I mean if the experiment is attempting to prove something exists and the answer confirms it does then its not an " approximate " result. For example the existance of a planet.
 
  • #10
sophiecentaur
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Unless it's Pluto.:wink:
 
  • #11
Orodruin
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Doesn't this all depend on the experiment being performed? I mean if the experiment is attempting to prove something exists and the answer confirms it does then its not an " approximate " result. For example the existance of a planet.
Well, you can always have different confidence in your signal. When it comes to the Sun, I have a lot of sigmas.
 
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  • #12
ogg
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Can we make a 100% accurate measurement? Sure: The Solar energy being absorbed by a m^3 of ground outside my location right now is between -1E+600 J and +1E+600 J with 100% accuracy. (This is similar to the yes/no binary example previously given.). Does gravity observe the inverse square law or is the exponent only just close to 2, say 2.000000000042 ? (Aside from the fact that the best theory we have about gravity is not Newtonian...) The only physical measurements we can make are finite. Assumptions of continuity require irrational number values (an example is the ratio of a circle's radius to circumfrence, is it really exactly π or might it be different by a part per trillion? a part in 10E600? ). I'm surprized this post hasn't been closed out ... its not about Physics, its nasty Philosophy, my pretty. Physics is about the physical Universe, although our concepts and understandings of Physics exist only in our minds. Since it is by definition a discipline based on measurement, and since no measurement can be infinitely accurate (see Heisenberg) then obviously your question is pretty simply answered.
 

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