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B Why is the general theory of relativity is so complicated

  1. Dec 14, 2017 #21


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    The devil is in the details, of course. You probably have no problem understanding concepts like the principle of equivalence, but do you understand enough to make quantitative calculations?

    One of my colleagues said something like he doesn't really understand a theory unless he can write a simulation using it.
  2. Dec 14, 2017 #22
    actually after some comments i knew that i just understand the summary
    i need maybe years to be qualified to understand the theory these years is just about maths so maybe 2 years or maybe 5 maybe 10 we dont know
    but i challenged myself to understand this theory before i finish my school which is in the range of 4 years
  3. Dec 14, 2017 #23


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    I think your problem is to do with how a lot of Science is treated in popular Science publications and on TV. Their message is seriously over-simplified and they give the impression that anyone can understand whichever message they are trying to put over. The problem is that many (most) Science journalists and broadcasters may not be as well informed as they imply they are. There are other, very clever teachers who can give a very entertaining and convincing presentation which will make you believe at the time you understand what they are telling you. Next day, you may not be quite so convinced that you understand and then, when you try to tell someone else what you learned, you realise you hardly actually remember any of the important stuff.
    This is all very hard stuff and you will need a good few years of a good Physics (and Maths) course before you can really feel you have started to understand things. But don't worry. It's the same for everyone but the very rare genius. Even genii do a lot of hard work and learning of basics - they just get there quicker than us mortals.
  4. Dec 14, 2017 #24
    i will thanks for the advice :)
  5. Dec 14, 2017 #25


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    That's a very modern comment. :smile: Maths is an excellent 'simulation' /model that's been in existence for much longer than Java and the other applications that we can use these days. There are possible errors in coding a simulation so that it is reliable and that's just another layer of complication. Fair enough if you can write accurate code in a short time and if you are prepared to test it rigorously but there are a lot of 'games-adequate' simulations that really shouldn't be taken as models of the real world.
  6. Dec 19, 2017 #26
    You have to be more modest in your immediate goals. First, start with Special Relativity and answer _all_ the exercises. In order to do this, you will have to learn about "Linear Algebra"; which at a crude level is Matrices. This is reachable in almost any math curriculum before the 12th year. Reachable but not necessarily taught! You have to rearrange your intuition but it's worth it!
  7. Dec 19, 2017 #27
    In summary, there is no reason to give up just because you haven't conquered it all yet. You already have done far, far more than most people of your age, and as some of the replies point out you have far more time than the rest of us and you have a head start over most people of your age. Don't rush; just make certain that you master what you can, then each time use what you have mastered as a basis for getting further.
    You won't understand it all after school, or after University, but no one does. Science is not about understanding everything, it is about understanding more and more, and often in more and more different ways.

    Yes, do try to improve your English with your reading and correspondence, but do not be embarrassed because you still have English to learn -- most of us cannot speak Arabic as well as you already speak English; you have nothing to apologise for.

    An English Poet, John Donne, wrote about the start of the 17th century :
    On a huge hill,
    Cragged and steep, Truth stands, and hee that will
    Reach her, about must, and about must goe;
    And what the hills suddenness resists, winne so;
    Yet strive so, that before age, deaths twilight,
    Thy Soule rest, for none can worke in that night.

    You will probably think that looks more difficult than GR and that Donne couldn't spell, but that doesn't matter. Think about it from time to time till you are comfortable with it.
    That bit of poetry is to me one of the most inspiring hints at the way to understand the exploration of science and learning of science: You cannot do it all at once, being right every time; whenever you get stuck, get past the problem by looking at things in different ways.
    Yet, don't waste time, keep going while you are alive, because afterwards will be too late.
    Meanwhile you have a life to live, and understanding can make it a lot more worth living.

    Good luck and have fun!
  8. Dec 19, 2017 #28
    Right! Science is about proving how things work, and predicting it precisely. Philosophy deals with how hard or easy it is to oneself, and has no value to science.
  9. Dec 19, 2017 #29
    That is great unless you ignore the intricacies.
  10. Dec 19, 2017 #30


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    . . . . and it is the "intricacies" that give you the departure from simple Newtonian Physics.
    But why oh why would anyone expect GR not to be difficult?
  11. Dec 19, 2017 #31
    And it only took a physics genius how many decades. Too bad I'm a philosophy major. At least it's just a stream of matter in energy.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
  12. Dec 19, 2017 #32
    I have serious reservations about both those points!
    I am no admirer of Popper's superficialities, and he failed miserably in his misdirected attempts to abolish induction, but he was halfway right in his falsificationism.
    More precisely, science is about the selection of the strongest of the available alternative hypotheses at any given point in its history, assembling scaffolding while one builds up stronger hypotheses. It is not about empirical/computational proof, though it might have seemed to be so for a couple of centuries after Newton.
    As for philosophy being of no value to science, that is about as valid as arguing that formal maths is of no value to science, which proved to be a major pratfall for Hardy, remember? The philosophy of science is an applied branch of formal disciplines, and as such not only is of value, but also is the basis of the selection, evaluation and planning of scientific assumptions, hypotheses, theories, and claims of validity. A lot of the lousy experimental design that passes peer review is founded upon faulty appreciation of the significance of the underlying philosophy, by plodders who think that if you can sneak in numerical representations of something or other, you have achieved incontrovertibility, so never mind basic good sense.
    But this way moderation and thread closure lie. Where those guys think one is to present or develop concepts, I have failed to grasp, along with many other abstrusities. If you have any interest in following up these questions, let me know where the right forum would be.
  13. Dec 21, 2017 #33
    Keep cool. Do not argue with your family more than you possibly can help. Not many people can understand what it is you want to understand and master, and even fewer people can imagine why you might want to master and understand it.

    The more you argue, the less you will make willing to help you and the more you will make them try harder to stop you. Quietly carry on with your studies without arguing.

    There is a great deal you can find on the internet that can help, and if you look in here at Physicsforums and ask for advice and help and URLs for helpful stuff online, you will get a lot of support that otherwise you would need to go to university for.

    Do work as hard as you can at school on everything to do with maths and physics, and if you can find books in the libraries, that also can help.
    Everything you learn there will help you more than you can guess at first.

    Even if you do not yet see why it matters, make sure you can understand how to work it. It is all a part of your path to the understanding you want.

    And the more you understand in as many ways as possible, the more fun it will be and the more power it will give you.

    Good luck!!!
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