Brian D Harper wrote:
> At 11:58 AM 10/1/97 -0500, E.G. Moros wrote:
> >De la Torre's letter in Physics Today (Sep. 97, p.15) argues that "physical
> >reality is, to some extent, a construct of our own; mathematics is innate to
> >this constructive process; and we construct physical reality so that it
> >complies to mathematics" and *not* always the other way around. He quotes Carl
> >Adler who argued that the neutrino could exist only in a certain context: a
> >theoretical structure and specific experimental arrangements. His letter
> >cites several interesting examples that show that "mathematics is essential to
> >the very existence of elementary particles and, in general, is an
> >indispensable condition of physical reality." He adds "we thus see that the
> >context in which elementary particles exist is, to some extent, constructed by
> >us, and so are the existence of those particles and physical reality ...... we
> >adjust physical reality so that it agrees with mathematics .......
> >consequently we find that reality is mathematical in nature." He even quotes
> >A. Eddington statement in Space, Time and Gravitation (1959) "the mind has but
> >to regained from nature that which the mind has put into nature." De la Torre
> >concludes his letter saying that "mathematics is inherent in the construction
> >of both physical reality and physics. "
> >I thought this would add to the discussion.
> The conclusions above are obviously speculative but interesting.
> Let's put this in the context of an after dinner question I
> like to ask my math buddies.
> Q: Is math invented or discovered? [related question, are physical
> laws invented or discovered?]
> The analysis in the quotes above assumes _a-priori_ that
> math is invented and not discovered and its interesting to
> see the contortions one must sometimes go through to maintain
> that position.
> What ye all think, invented or discovered? I go with discovered,
> in which case the above odd conclusions don't follow.
> Brian Harper
> Associate Professor
> Applied Mechanics
> The Ohio State University
> "All kinds of private metaphysics and theology have
> grown like weeds in the garden of thermodynamics"
> -- E. H. Hiebert
Salu2 ------------------------------------------------------- Many times when reading "science" I have the annoying sensation I'm reading science fiction.