Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘theoretical physics

568.  theoretical physicsspeaks on theoretical physics; (Nov. 18, 2009)

 

569.  I am mostly the other I; (Nov. 19, 2009)

 

570.  Einstein speaks on General Relativity; (Nov. 20, 2009)

 

571.  Einstein speaks of his mind processes on the origin of General Relativity; (Nov. 21, 2009)

 

572.  Everyone has his rhetoric style; (Nov. 22, 2009)

Nature is worth a set of equations; (Nov. 17, 2009)

I have been reading speeches and comments of Albert Einstein, a great theoretical physicist in the 20th century.

Einstein is persuaded that mathematics, exclusively, can describe and represent nature’s phenomena; that all nature’s complexities can be comprehend and imagined as the simplest system in concepts and principles.

The fundamental creative principle resides in mathematics.  And formulas have to be the simplest and most beautifully general. Mathematical concepts can be suggested by experience, the unique criteria of utilization of a mathematical construct.

I got into thinking.

I read this dictum when I was graduating in physics and I have been appreciating this recurring philosophy ever since. The basic goal in theoretical physics for over a century was to discover the all encompassing field of energy that can unite the varieties of fields that experiments have been popping up to describing particular phenomena in nature, such as electrical and magnetic fields as well as all these “weak” and “stronger” fields of energy emanating from atoms, protons, and all the varieties of smaller elements.

I got into thinking.

Up until the first quarter of the 20th century most experiments in natural sciences were done by varying one factor at a time; experiments never used more than one independent variable and more than one dependent variable (objective measuring variable or the data).  Even today, most engineers perform these kinds of totally inefficient and worthless experiments: no interactions among variables can be analyzed, the most important and fundamental intelligences in all kinds of sciences. These engineers have simply not been exposed to experimental designs in their required curriculum!

Although the theory of probability was very advanced, the field of practical statistical analysis of data was not yet developed; it was real pain and very time consuming doing all the computations by hand for slightly complex experimental designs.

Sophisticated and specialized statistical packages constructs for different fields of research evolved after the mass number crunchers of computers were invented.

Consequently, early theoretical scientists refrained from complicating their constructs simply because they had to solve their exercises and compute them by hand in order to verify their contentious theories.

Thus, theoretical scientists knew that the experimental scientists could not practically deal with complex mathematical constructs and would refrain from undertaking complex experiments in order to confirm or refute any complex construct.

The trend, paradigm, or philosophy for the theoretical scientists was to promoting the concept that theories should be the simplest with the least numbers of axioms (fundamental principles); they did their best to imagining one general causative factor that affected the behavior of natural phenomena or would be applicable to most natural phenomena.

When Einstein mentioned that equations should be beautiful in their simplicity he had not in mind graphic design; he meant they should be simple for computations.

This is no longer the case.

Nature is complex; no matter how you control and restrict the scope of an  experiment in order to reducing the numbers of manipulated variables to a minimum there are always more than one causative factor that are interrelated and interacting to producing effects.

Currently, physicist and natural scientists can observe many independent variables and several dependent variables and analyze huge number of data points.

Still, nature variables are countable and pretty steady over the experiment. Unlike experiments involving” human subjects” that are in the hundreds and hard and sensitive to control.

Man is far more complex than nature to study his behavior.

Psychologists and sociologists have been using complex experimental designs for decades in order to study man’s behavior and his hundreds of physical and mental characteristics and variability.

All kinds of mathematical constructs were developed to aid “human scientists” perform experiments commensurate in complexity with the subject matter.

The dependent variables had no longer to be objectively measurable and many subjective criteria were adopted.

Certainly, “human scientists” did not have to know the mathematical constructs that the statistical packages were using, just the premises that justified their appropriate use for their particular field.

Anyway, these mathematical models were pretty straightforward and no sophisticated mathematical concepts were used: the human scientists should be able to understand the construct if they desired to go deeper into the program without continuing higher mathematical education.

Nature is complex, though far less complex than human variability.

Theoretical natural scientists should acknowledge that complexity. And studying nature is worth a set of equations!

Simple and beautiful general equations are out the window.  There are no excuses for engineers and natural scientists for not expanding their imagination and focusing their intuition on complex constructs that may account for many causative factors and analyzing simultaneously many variables for their interactions.

There are no excuses that experimental designs are not set up to handle three independent variables (factors) and two dependent variables; the human brain is capable of visualizing the interactions of 9 combinations of variables two at a time. 

Certainly, scientists can throw in as many variables as they need and the powerful computers will crunch the numbers as easily and as quickly as simple designs; the problem is the interpretation part of the reams and reams of results.

Worst, how your audience is to comprehend your study?

A set of coherent series of relatively complex experiments can be designed to answer most complex phenomena and yet be intelligibly interpreted.

It is time to account for all the possible causatives factors, especially those that are rare in probability of occurrence (at the very end tail of probability graphs) or for their imagined little contributing effects: it is those rare events that have surprised man with catastrophic consequences.

If complex human was studied with simple sets of equations THEN nature is also worth sets of equations.

Be bold and make these equations as complex as you want; the computer would not care as long as you understand them for communication sake.

Einstein speaks on theoretical sciences; (Nov. 15, 2009)

I intend to write a series on “Einstein speaks” on scientific methods, theoretical physics, relativity, pacifism, national-socialism, and the Jewish problem.

In matter of space two objects may touch or be distinct.  When distinct, we can always introduce a third object in between. Interval thus stays independent of the selected objects; an interval can then be accepted as real as the objects. This is the first step in understanding the concept of space. The Greeks privileged lines and planes in describing geometric forms; an ellipse, for example, was not intelligible except as it could be represented by point, line, and plane. Einstein could never adhere to Kant’s notion of “a priori” simply because we need to search the characters of the sets concerning sensed experiences and then to extricate the corresponding concepts.

The Euclidian mathematics preferred using the concepts of objects and the relation of the position among objects. Relations of position are expressed as relations of contacts (intersections, lines, and planes); thus, space as a continuum was never considered.  The will to comprehend by thinking the reciprocal relations of corporal objects inevitably leads to spatial concepts.

In the Cartesian system of three dimensions all surfaces are given as equivalent, irrespective of arbitrary preferences to linear forms in geometric constructs. Thus, it goes way beyond the advantage of placing analysis at the service of geometry. Descartes introduced the concept of a point in space according to its coordinates and geometric forms became part of a continuum in 3-dimensional space.

The geometry of Euclid is a system of logic where propositions are deduced with such exactitude that no demonstration provoke any doubt. Anyone who could not get excited and interested in such architecture of logic could not be initiated to theoretical research.

There are two ways to apprehend concepts: the first method (analytical logic) resolves the following problem “how concepts and judgments are dependents?” the answer is by mathematics; however, this assurance is gained at a prohibitive price of not having any content with sensed experiences, even indirectly. The other method is to intuitively link sensed experiences with extracted concepts though no logical research can confirm this link.

For example: suppose we ask someone who never studied geometry to reconstruct a geometric manual devoid of any schemas. He may use the abstract notions of point and line and reconstruct the chain of theorems and even invents other theorems with the given rules. This is a pure game of words for the gentleman until he figures out, from his personal experience and by intuition, tangible meanings for point and line and geometry will become a real content.

Consequently, there is this eternal confrontation between the two components of knowledge: empirical methodology and reason. Experimental results can be considered as the deductive propositions and then reason constitutes the structure of the system of thinking. The concepts and principles explode as spontaneous inventions of the human spirit. Scientific theoretician has no knowledge of the images of the world of experience that determined the formation of his concepts and he suffers from this lack of personal experience of reality that corresponds to his abstract constructs.  Generally, abstract constructs are forced upon us to acquire by habit. Language uses words linked to primitive concepts which exacerbate the difficulty with explaining abstract constructs.

The creative character of science theoretician is that the products of his imagination are so indispensably and naturally impressed upon him that they are no longer images of the spirit but evident realities. The set of concepts and logical propositions, where the capacity to deduction is exercised, correspond exactly to our individual experiences.  That is why in theoretical book deduction represents the entire work.  That is what is going on in Euclid geometry: the fundamental principles are called axioms and thus the deduced propositions are not based on commonplace experiences. If we envision this geometry as the theory of possibilities of the reciprocal position of rigid bodies and is thus understood as physical science, without suppressing its empirical origin, then the resemblance between geometry and theoretical physics is striking.

The essential goal of theory is to divulge the fundamental elements that are irreducible, as rare and as evident as possible; an adequate representation of possible experiences has to be taken into account.

Knowledge deducted from pure logic is void; logic cannot offer knowledge extracted from the world of experience if it is not associated with reality in two way interactions. Galileo is recognized as the father of modern physics and of natural sciences simply because he fought his way to impose empirical methods. Galileo has impressed upon the scientists that experience describes and then proposes a synthesis of reality.

Einstein is persuaded that nature represents what we can imagine exclusively in mathematics as the simplest system in concepts and principles to comprehend nature’s phenomena. Mathematical concepts can be suggested by experience, the unique criteria of utilization of a mathematical construct, but never deducted. The fundamental creative principle resides in mathematics. The follow up article “Einstein speaks on theoretical physics” with provide ample details on Einstein’s claim.

Critique

Einstein said “We admire the Greeks of antiquity for giving birth to western science.” Most probably, Einstein was not versed in the history of sciences and was content of modern sciences since Kepler in the 18th century: maybe be he didn’t need to know the history of sciences and how Europe Renaissance received a strong impulse from Islamic sciences that stretched for 800 years before Europe woke up from the Dark Ages. Thus, my critique is not related to Einstein’s scientific comprehension but on the faulty perception that sciences originated in Greece of the antiquity.

You can be a great scientist (theoretical or experimental) but not be versed in the history of sciences; the drawback is that people respect the saying of great scientists even if they are not immersed in other fields; especially, when he speaks on sciences and you are led to assume that he knows the history of sciences.  That is the worst misleading dissemination venue of faulty notions that stick in people’s mind.

Euclid was born and raised in Sidon (current Lebanon) and continued his education in Alexandria and wrote his manuscript on Geometry in the Greek language.  Greek was one of the languages of the educated and scholars in the Near East from 300 BC to 650 AC when Alexander conquered this land with his Macedonian army.  If the US agrees that whoever writes in English should automatically be conferred the US citizenship then I have no qualm with that concept.  Euclid was not Greek simply because he wrote in Greek. Would the work of Euclid be most underestimated if it were written in the language of the land Aramaic?

Einstein spoke on Kepler at great length as the leading modern scientist who started modern astronomy by formulating mathematical model of planets movements. The Moslem scientist and mathematician Ibn Al Haitham set the foundation for required math learning in the year 850 (over 900 years before Europe Renaissance); he said that arithmetic, geometry, algebra, and math should be used as the foundations for learning natural sciences. Ibn Al Haitham said that it is almost impossible to do science without strong math background.  Ibn Al Haitham wrote mathematical equations to describe the cosmos and the movement of planets. Maybe the great scientist Kepler did all his work alone without the knowledge of Ibn Al Haitham’s analysis but we should refrain of promoting Kepler as the discoverer of modern astronomy science. It also does not stand to reason that the Islamic astronomers formulated their equations without using 3-dimensional space: Descartes is considered the first to describing geometrical forms with coordinates in 3-dimensional space.

I have a problem with Newton’s causal factor; (Nov. 13, 2009)

Let me refresh your memory of Newton’s explanation of the causal factor that moves planets in specific elliptical trajectories.  Newton’s related the force that attracts objects onto the ground by the field of acceleration (gravitation field) that it exerts on the mass of an object. Thus, objects are attracted to one another “at distance and simultaneously” by other objects; thus, this attractive force causes movements in foreseeable trajectories. Implicitly, Newton is saying that it the objects (masses or inertia) that are creating the acceleration or the field of gravity. 

If this is the theory then, where is the cause in this relation?  Newton is no fool; he knew that he didn’t find the cause but was explaining an observation.  He had two alternatives: either to venture into philosophical concepts of the source for gravity or get at the nitty-gritty business of formulating what is observed.  Newton could easily have taken the first route since he spent most of his life studying theological matters. Luckily for us, he opted for the other route.

      Newton then undertook to inventing mathematical tools such as differentiation and integration to explaining his conceptual model of how nature functions. Newton could then know, at a specific location of an object, where the object was at the previous infinitesimal time dT and predict where it will be dT later.  The new equation could explain the cause of the elliptical trajectories of planets as Kepler discovered empirically and as Galileo proved by experiments done on falling objects.

For two centuries, scientists applied the mechanical physics of Newton that explained most of the experimental observations such as heat kinetic, conservation of energy laws, the theory of gases, and the nature of the second principle in thermodynamic.   Even the scientists working on the electromagnetic fields started by inventing concepts based on Newton’s premises of continuum matters and of an absolute space and time.  Scientists even invented the notion of “ether” filling the void with physical characteristics that might explain phenomena not coinciding with Newton’s predictions.

Then, modern physics had to finally drop the abstract concept of simultaneous effects at a distance.  Modern physics adopted the concept that masses are not immutable entities, and that speed of light in the void exists but it has a speed limit. Newton’s laws are valid for movements of small speeds. Thus, partial differentials were employed to explaining the theory of fields. Thermal radiation, radioactivity, and spectrums observations have let to envision the theory of discrete packet of energy.

Newton was no fool.  He already suspected that his system was restrictive and had many deficiencies. First, Newton discovers experimentally that the observable geometric scales (distances of material points) and their course in time do not define completely the movements physically (the bucket experiment).  There must exist “something else” other than masses and distances to account for. He admits that space must possess physical characteristics of the same nature as masses for movements to have meaning in his equations. To be consistent with his approach of not introducing concepts that are not directly attached to observable objects ,Newton had to postulate the concept of absolute space and absolute time framework.

Second, Newton declares that his principle of the reciprocal action of gravity has no ambition for a definitive explanation but a rule deduced from experiment.

Third, Newton is aware that the perfect correspondence of weight and inertia does not offer any explanation.  None of these three logical objections can be used to discredit the theory. They were unsatisfied desires of a scientific mind to reach a unifying conception of nature’s phenomenon.  The causal and differential laws are still debatable and nobody dares reject them completely and for ever.

Let me suggest this experiment: we isolate an object in the void, in a chamber that denies access to outside electromagnetic and thermal effects, and we stabilize the object in a suspension sort of levitating. Now we approach other objects (natural or artificially created) in the same isolated condition as the previous one. What would happen?

Would the objects move at a certain distance? Would they be attracted? At what masses movement is generated? How many objects should be introduced before any kind of movement is generated? What network structure of the objects initiates movements? Would they start spinning on themselves before they oscillate as one mass (a couple) in clockwise and counterclockwise fashion around a fictitious axe? How long before any movement is witnessed? What would be the spinning speed if any; the speed of the One Mass; any acceleration before steady state movement?  I believe that the coefficient G will surface from the data gathered and might offer satisfactory answers to the cause of movements.  

The one difficult problem in this experiment is the kind of mechanisms to keeping the objects in suspension against gravity. These various mechanisms would play the role of manipulated variable.

            My hypothesis is that it is the movements of atoms, electrons, and all the moving particles within masses that are the cause that generates the various fields of energies that get objects in movement.  Gravity is just the integration of all these fields of energy (at the limit) into one comprehensive field called gravity. If measured accurately, G should be different at every point in space/time.  We have to determine the area that we are interested for the integral G at the limit of the area.  With man activities that are changing earth and climatic ecosystem then, I think G has changed dramatically in many locations and need to be measured accurately for potential catastrophic zones on earth.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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