Has any Prominent Physicist Ever Admitted to Not Understanding Magnetism?

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by Eugene Shubert, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    You've just contradicted yourself. If we could understand nature at a fundamental level, then it's not an assumption at all of course it's incorrect. I'm looking at the probability of it and its a very good assumption. If God has not designed the universe in a way that we would eventually be able to imagine it completely, and if we have not evolved brains to imagine such things which do not increase our fitness, why do you think it is more probable that we will ever be able to imagine what lies behind the maths of quantum physics and the rest of it?
    To me it sounds a bit religious.
     
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    In what way? Do you feel that we do understand nature at a fundamental level?
    ??I did not claim that was more probable. Were you answering someone else?
     
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  5. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    You haven't read my posts properly. I was saying that it would be coincidental if humans were special enough to be able to imagine the mathematics behind the laws of nature at a very fundamental level. Obviously we can imagine a lot of classical mechanics because we interact with a lot of that phenomena and our brains have evolved to help us understand and imagine.

    You said that should be incorrect because we do not understand nature fully now. Do you not realize that if we did understand nature now, then its not an assumption at all. The very fact that we don't fully understand or are able to imagine nature means that I can have this argument at all! So I can't see how it means I am incorrect?

    You claimed that I was likely incorrect and that we will be able to imagine nature. To me that would see coincidental for the very reasons I gave.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    The vast majority are not. A very few are capable of seeing a part of the mathematics behind the laws of nature.
    That is actually a handicap when it comes to advanced physics. Wave-particle duality, for example, goes counter to everything we observe directly in the physical world.
    Right. That's a tautology.
    We have struggled and clawed to achieve even the level of understanding we have today. Only a very few people have a decent understanding of that level of science. Someday we may understand nature to the deepest level that can affect us, at which point we'll have a pretty complete understanding of our universe. On that day we will NOT think it "is perfectly understandable to human brains" - nor will we "be able to imagine all of it in terms we are familiar with."

    If you meant that that will not likely happen, then I tend to agree.
     
  8. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    And one of the things I often see is that people are looking more and more to create new analogies to explain quantum physics to the lay person or even so that the science community can visualise what is going on with the equations. I believe unfortunately, that the deeper we delve into it, the less likely it is that we will ever be able to imagine what's actually going on. Our only access is through mathematics and our ability to make certain predictions about the world but I don't believe we will ever necessarily comprehend it in the way that was implied in previous posts.
     
  9. Farsight

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    John, check out In Praise of Weakness:

    "Quantum physics is being transformed by a radical new conceptual and experimental approach known as weak measurement that can do everything from tackling basic quantum mysteries to mapping the trajectories of photons in a Young’s double-slit experiment. Aephraim Steinberg, Amir Feizpour, Lee Rozema, Dylan Mahler and Alex Hayat unveil the power of this new technique..."
     
  10. Farsight

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    You might want to check it now, Kristoffer.
     
  11. Kristoffer Giant Hyrax Valued Senior Member

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    Have you threatened them with lawsuits again?
     
  12. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I think this comment of yours raises questions about what science is.

    Its purpose, surely, is to create predictive models of aspects of the physical world. Personally, I find the GR representation of gravity a bit unsatisfying, as it seems to create a mathematical formalism without a comprehensible physical analogy. But it works, so who am I to complain? By contrast, quantum theory is something I can grasp, having studied it in some depth as part of my degree. But to many, that is also a lot of maths without a convincingly comprehensible physical analogy. But it, too, works.

    So what does "comprehension" in the sense you intend it, actually mean, then?
     
  13. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    I intended it, of course, in the context of this thread and how the thread started (see page 1). In other words, the same way you meant it about GR. The ability to imagine it or create a visual model of it in your mind.
     
  14. river

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    Which I have done over and over; " The ability to imagine it or create a visual model of it in your mind". Difficult ; but can be done.
     
  15. Farsight

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    What do you mean again? No, I argued my case and gave the evidence to back it up. See the talk page.
     
  16. Farsight

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    There is a a comprehensible physical analogy. But you have to read Einstein's original material to appreciate it. If you'd like me to explain it to you start a thread.
     
  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Ah OK, then we are on the same page.

    What I think (from my own experience with QM) may be a real issue, though, is that people who spend a lot of time on the maths sometimes find they can form - or in my case at least glimpse from time to time - a "mathematical picture", if you like, in their minds of what is going on, that may seem just as tangible to them as a visual image is to all of us. There are ways of conceptualising things that do not involve a 3D video-like picture.

    While I, like you, apparently, find a visual picture the most satisfying, I do not think we can say that conceptualising something in a mathematical way indicates a lesser degree of comprehension. It is less accessible to others, though, and thus harder to communicate.
     
  18. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    No, for Christ's sake don't! (which is the answer you expected of course) and no, I am not in the habit of starting threads to encourage cranks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
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  19. Farsight

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    John: best ignore exchemist. I'm afraid he doesn't understand the physics, doesn't want to understand the physics, and doesn't want anybody else to understand the physics either. See this thread for a simple explanation of gravity. It isn't difficult. Note that the OP isn't some alternative theory, it's Einstein's general relativity, explained in a simple fashion.
     
  20. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    Gravity.

    Those are a lot of claims.

    But of course you're only wanting to appear smart
     
  21. OnlyMe Valued Senior Member

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    I believe you give too much credit! Consider the following definition in context...

    de·lu·sion
    noun
    1. an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder....
     
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  22. Farsight

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  23. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    What, is that Einstein? Over like a century, it took you to cherry pick didn't it?

    Where's your Nobel Prize?
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015

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