Even physicists are 'afraid' of mathematics

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by paddoboy, Nov 11, 2016.

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Even physicists are 'afraid' of mathematics
    November 11, 2016
    Physicists avoid highly mathematical work despite being trained in advanced mathematics, new research suggests.

    The study, published in the New Journal of Physics, shows that physicists pay less attention to theories that are crammed with mathematical details. This suggests there are real and widespread barriers to communicating mathematical work, and that this is not because of poor training in mathematical skills, or because there is a social stigma about doing well in mathematics.

    Dr Tim Fawcett and Dr Andrew Higginson, from the University of Exeter, found, using statistical analysis of the number of citations to 2000 articles in a leading physics journal, that articles are less likely to be referenced by other physicists if they have lots of mathematical equations on each page.



    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-11-physicists-mathematics.html#jCp


    an Important extract:

    "Ideally, the impact of scientific work should be determined by its scientific value, rather than by the presentational style," said Dr Higginson.

    "Unfortunately, it seems valuable papers may be ignored if they are not made accessible. As we have said before: all scientists who care about the dialogue between theory and experiment should take this issue seriously, rather than claiming it does not exist."



    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-11-physicists-mathematics.html#jCp
     
    Write4U and danshawen like this.
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  3. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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  5. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Nice one.

    One problem with proportional relationships presented by means of mathematical formulae, particularly in physics, seems to be that with the exception of specific variables that are traditionally assigned (making understanding those intensive "dense" mathematics accessible only to those initiated), there is really no other differentiation between formulae. A simple density formula could also represent dozens of other relationships like Ohm's Law, a gas law, and other simple ideas.

    Some mathematicians and even physicists go to great lengths to generalize and obscure relatively simple relationships, and my freshman physics professor we have discussed before was only one such individual. Gell-Mann was evidently another one of those. His matrix subscript notation was among the most cryptic mathematical shorthand I have ever seen. He promoted it shamelessly also.

    Since the manipulations to isolate a variable on the left all by itself is pretty much just turning a crank, it's too bad there isn't a more accessible means of presenting such content. I for one am anxious to see that particular 19th century mathematical tradition of obscurity bite the dust and never come back for another try at elevating mathematics to the language of G-d, and mathematicians who use that language to the level of G-d him/herself. It's not. It's just another human attempt at creating an unambiguous form of deductive extensible language.
     
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  7. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    There should be no surprise. A new conceptual insight, clearly presented, is always far preferable to some sprawling mathematically dense tome. No-one sane enjoys the tedium of plowing through reams of equations, checking carefully at every stage for any errors. With luck, a conceptual blunder spotted early on saves the need for all the extra labour.
     
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  8. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I must admit that I seldom look at complicated mathematical arguments in symbolic forms. If I understand the narrative, I usually get a good sense of the context and function the narrative describes.

    If I can visualize it or define it verbally in a broad sense, I feel satisfied with that knowledge. It allows me to speculate on seemingly unrelated events, but which have a common fundamental rationality

    Who would have guessed that the NSA developed a very sophisticated model of the probability function (in languages), which is now being employed in chemistry. Robert Hazen demonstrates this model for predicting the existence and location of certain minerals, which of course were critical in the development and evolution of our ecosystem and probable origins of life itself.
     
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  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    [ [/QUOTE]
    P.s. skip the first 25 minutes!
    And we have now synthesized DNA, named XNA.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016

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