Re: definition of science

From: Don Winterstein <>
Date: Sat Apr 30 2005 - 04:41:02 EDT

DFS: Are you suggesting that only one mathematical model fits? ....

DFW: Einstein believed, as do I, that one is superior to all others. Only experiment can decide. (Although, if you're Einstein, you can apparently decide also on the basis of which theory has the simpler math. : ) ) RH Dicke also presented an alternative to Einstein's General Relativity, as I recall. I think he wrote the SciAm article. But none of the other versions have earned widespread acceptance.

DFS: Quanta may be approached either as particles or as waves, equivalent theories. ....

DFW: There are different representations of the QM formalism (e.g., Dirac's bra & ket notation), but it's the same theory. Lots of people would like a more "reasonable" theory, and I've heard of attempts, but no one has yet improved on QM as we know it. As for waves and particles, it's not that we're invoking different but equivalent theories but that we're doing different kinds of experiments. Particles are also waves; but when measuring them, some experiments detect particle-like behavior and others wave-like behavior. It's called complementarity. Or don't I understand what you're saying?


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: D. F. Siemens, Jr.<>
  Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 11:02 AM
  Subject: Re: definition of science

  Are you suggesting that only one mathematical model fits? After Einstein presented his work, Whitehead came up with a different version. Not liking Riemannian geometry, his was based on Euclidean. Eddington proved that the two were equivalent on the four matters then recognized as relevant. Later work disproved Whitehead's version of relativity because of other matters. I recall an article in /Scientific American/ that presented additional relativity theories, though it did not discuss the calculus underlying them. Some apparently were equivalent to Einstein's theories, while others were designed to be slightly different.

  Quanta may be approached either as particles or as waves, equivalent theories. I understand that two approaches to string theory were demonstrated equivalent. In other words, the fit is multiple. Beyond that, are four dimensions simple? What about 10 or 11? Is seeing a matching pattern simple? Once seen, it's "obvious," of course. Then why does it take brilliant people so long to see it? How many have an /annus mirabilis/?

  On Thu, 28 Apr 2005 01:02:36 -0700 "Don Winterstein" <<>> writes:
    "...The shift to a Riemannian geometry because of the inclusion of time is not necessarily that simple...."

    You're right, Einstein needed a kind of 4-D space that could locally change shape.

    "As to why simplicity, the answer that immediately suggests itself is that that is all the human intellect can grasp."

    Perhaps we've beaten this almost to death; but what I hear Einstein saying is that the simplest math is not just what is comprehensible to human minds but is what the world precisely fits. Measurements support the precision of fit. He's making a statement about how the world is made.

Received on Sat Apr 30 04:44:29 2005

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