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Whats More Important ? ? ? ?

  1. Jun 13, 2004 #1
    What is more important to the development of science and technology and the furtherment of human knowledge: Physics or Imagination?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2004 #2


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    It would be impossible without both. Physics is the basis for all other science, while imagination is needed for science to progress.
  4. Jun 13, 2004 #3
    Is this a joke question ?
  5. Jun 13, 2004 #4
    It is impossible with both.

    Where do you get the implied perfect "physics" system, and what do you mean by 'progress of science'? Would this definition of progress include that progress measured by the events of August 6 and August 8, 1945 on the planet earth?

    How do you teach 'imagination' to those calling themsleves physicists, or scientists., e.g. baffledMatt and Tom_Mattson.
  6. Jun 14, 2004 #5
    Looking up the dictionary for imagination, one of its more pertinent definitions is the formation of mental images or concepts of that which is not actually present to the senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell). Imagination implies the power of thought for making educated guess, basic assumption, and plausible conjecture.

    So, imagination seems to be what is required for the start of a hypothesis in the physical science such as physics. Without it, no progress can be made.
  7. Jun 14, 2004 #6
    Both ARE important, all I ......

    All I wanted to know was which one each of you though was needed more. I never said that you didn't need both, without either one you could not advance. Well I suppose you could advance without imagination, but how far do you really think you would get without new ideas.
  8. Jun 14, 2004 #7
    Imagination is more important. In fact, it's the most important. The rest is just icing on the cake.
  9. Jun 14, 2004 #8


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    Like others said, you need both, but physics (science) is more important because without it, you won't ever actually know anything.
  10. Jun 14, 2004 #9
    You took the words right out of my mouth.

    I think there is a tendency for people to read something like
    And then going on about how imagination is more important in science. If you're a genius like Einstein then fair enough, but unfortunately the rest of us mortals have to slog it out with math.

  11. Jun 14, 2004 #10
    Imagination is the same as thinking. It is the basis of reasoning to arrive at an inference. Human beings, with their advanced evolution for survival, are the only ones capable of applying this thought process.

    The laws of physics are all there in the external world. But it will take the beginning of imagination to start the steps of their discovery. The discovery of fire and other tools and their imagined uses were responsible for the emergence of complex human society.

    I imagine there are certain parts of the world where because of lack of imagination that these aborigines still have to reinvent the wheels.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2004
  12. Jun 14, 2004 #11
    I agree Antonio. The philosphical basis of discussion holds the logic for formalism. It takes a "keen eye" to spot the anomalies, and from that, a whole avenue of exploration. Even if it follows strict mathematical structures, can still require the injection from creative individuals. There are many more for every progression that is made in science. So let us not just honor Einstein and the quote offered:)

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2004
  13. Jun 14, 2004 #12
    There is no science without imagination.
  14. Jun 15, 2004 #13
    Hi everybody,

    Here's how my simply mind works;

    comprehension -> imagination -> creativity -> Physics -> comprehension
  15. Jun 16, 2004 #14
    The bifurcation of imagination and science is an ambiguous proposition to consider, ambiguous and dangerous. Imagination can be used harmfully to imaginatively quash scientifically proved propositions. Imagination can effectively ignore mathematical imperatives, demonstrated "standard model" guidelines, widely accepted beliefs defining the pevailing level of scientific understanding. Imagination can be, at times, 'bad smoke'.

    Left uncontrolled, imagination can, on the one end of the spectrum, set the world on fire, or, on the other, start just a little flame in your heart.

    Imagination can leap to levels of view uncontemplated by a scientifically trained and limited mind. In a word imagination can be exploited by cheats, heretics, scientific blasphemers, those unfamiliar withe very concept of the 2^1/2.

    Imagination is a method of mental dynamics that, if not strongly suppressed, should be paid for, salaried actually, with a reasonable facsimile of a working wage.
  16. Jun 16, 2004 #15
    I think imagination makes science and physics is just the generally accepted record of it.
  17. Jun 18, 2004 #16

    You state my, and many of the others who posted here very clearly.

    First off, I have never heard the terms heretics, and blasphemers used to describe anything outside of some kind of religion, and then there only used by zealots.

    What about this part of your statement

    trained yes, but limited is still limited, thus, without the chaotic factor that is imagination, science can NOT advance.

    So, i guess my whole point is this, in my opinion, while science can exhist without imagination, science could not advance(At a rate that could be considered to be non-stagnint), nor would it be any fun. The whole point of science, at its core, is to explore, discover, prove and disprove things, that can't happen without imagination.

    Thank you for listening to my ramblings, and I hope that they make as much sense to you as they do to me....... :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
  18. Jun 18, 2004 #17
    imagination is of no use if you don't know where and how to apply it. Interestingly, I think someone who is being taugh physics would actually develop a better and better imagination (especially if they enjoy the subject) because physics demands a lot just to understand it, and I've found your imagination develops on it's own just by studying the subject.

    Clearly we need both for science to progress at a reasonable rate.
  19. Jun 18, 2004 #18


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    Intelligent use of imagination is the crucial precondition for the progress of science, dumb use (for example, the illogical thinking of an ignorant individual) is inimical to progress.
  20. Jun 18, 2004 #19
    I agree completely.....

    I agree completely, you do have to balance imagination with actuall knowledge of physics. But without imagination, science still will not go very far. It was imagination and the need to know more that created science in the first place.

    Over All:

    A 5 Year Old: Has very good imagination, no knowledge. Will go no where in science.

    Scientist With Knowledge, No Imagination: Can learn, possibly advance(Via improving exhisting object)

    Scientist With Knowledge & Imagination: Just about anything is possible.
  21. Jun 18, 2004 #20


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    I pretty much agree with you:

    someone with imagination without knowledge is not going to advance science.

    someone with knowledge but who lacks imagination has a better chance of advancing science than than anyone without knoweldge but they may be constrained by their lack of imagination

    imagination and knowledge is a winning combination.
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