Physics versus Mathematics (or, Physicists versus Mathematicians)

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Jay R. Yablon

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Sep 6, 2008, 12:52:34 AM9/6/08
to
I have not had any time for physics recently and expect this unfortunate
state of affairs will persist for awhile longer, but I did want to bring
forth a recent "behind the scenes" discussion between one individual
poster, and the moderators. That individual made the statement, which
which I could not agree more, that:

The "corruption of physics by mathematicians (not mathematics) has been
burgeoning for over 100 years with today's dismal lack of progress a
predictable result."

Again, this struck me very hard, and jostled me out of my present
hibernation, for I could not agree more.

Mathematicians in my view (and experience) have become the "crabs in the
barrel" of physics, dragging back and bullying any physicist (and there
is a sharp difference between a physicist and a mathematician) who tries
to advance forward without paying endless homage to some mathematical
hobby horse or another. A good, creative physicist trying to build new
wings onto our edifice of natural understanding must be willing more
often than not to take risky stabs in the dark based on informed
physical intuition, without any particular mathematical preconceptions,
and then to come back afterwards after the dust settles and sort out
what sort of mathematics he or she has wandered into or stumbled upon.
The insistence on constricted pedagogical pathways to discovery suggests
that we can get from "here to there" using only the tools which are
already within the scope of human knowledge, when much of our scientific
history shows that this is just not true. Talk about ignoring evidence!

I am often appalled a) not only at the complete lack of connection
between much of what I read in the physics literature and any sort of
direct intuitive feeling about nature, and even more so, b) the complete
willingness on the part of most participants to accept this state of
affairs without so much as a raised eyebrow.

Remember folks, physics is about nature -- not about mathematics. It
is, in essence, natural philosophy made precise and measurable. I can
churn out pages of mathematics as fast as anybody, but one always has to
be able to see and feel a connection to nature. And without an
underlying natural philosophy to guide the way, one is lost.

Looking to generate some light, but sure that some of the energy will
manifest as heat. ;-)

Jay.
____________________________
Jay R. Yablon
Email: jya...@nycap.rr.com
co-moderator: sci.physics.foundations
Weblog: http://jayryablon.wordpress.com/
Web Site: http://home.nycap.rr.com/jry/FermionMass.htm

N:dlzc D:aol T:com (dlzc)

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Sep 6, 2008, 2:25:24 AM9/6/08
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Dear Jay R. Yablon:

"Jay R. Yablon" <jya...@nycap.rr.com> wrote in message
news:6ied2bF...@mid.individual.net...


> I have not had any time for physics recently and
> expect this unfortunate state of affairs will persist
> for awhile longer, but I did want to bring forth a
> recent "behind the scenes" discussion between
> one individual poster, and the moderators. That
> individual made the statement, which which I
> could not agree more, that:
>
> The "corruption of physics by mathematicians
> (not mathematics) has been burgeoning for over
> 100 years with today's dismal lack of progress a predictable
> result."
>
> Again, this struck me very hard, and jostled me
> out of my present hibernation, for I could not
> agree more.

So there has been no advancement in 100 years? This obviates
general relativity and most of quantum mechanics to "dismal lack
of progress"? Even your own efforts...

....


> Looking to generate some light, but sure that
> some of the energy will manifest as heat. ;-)

We have finite lifetimes, even as a species. Manipulation of
what is known, by the "bridge building" by mathematicians is not
always a, how did Jesus say it, "vain repetition". It really
does direct us through spaces already known, so that "setting off
for novel investigation" is truly orthogonal to the solution
space of current theory.

The expectation that many mathematicians have that we appreciate
their particular ivory tower is annoying, but I don't believe
that alone is limiting our horizon.

"How do you shoot a purple elephant?"
"With a purple elephant gun."
"How do you shoot a pink elephant?"
"Hold its trunk until it turns purple, and shoot it with a purple
elephant gun."

Personally, I think a lot of people cannot see that it isn't
about elephants or guns. They just spend a lot of time figuring
out how to make purple elephants...

My 2 cents. Have another beer.

David A. Smith

Robert

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Sep 6, 2008, 2:26:29 PM9/6/08
to
On Sep 6, 12:52 am, "Jay R. Yablon" <jyab...@nycap.rr.com> wrote:
>
> Remember folks, physics is about nature -- not about mathematics.  It
> is, in essence, natural philosophy made precise and measurable.  I can
> churn out pages of mathematics as fast as anybody, but one always has to
> be able to see and feel a connection to nature.  And without an
> underlying natural philosophy to guide the way, one is lost.
>
> Jay.


Welcome back to the real world. I could not have said it better
myself. Maybe you are now ready to take a real look at the Discrete
Fractal Paradigm. This summer I found that the full Kerr-Newman
solution of the Einstein-Maxwell equations gives 8.13 x 10^-14 cm for
the proton's radius and 1.67 x 10^-24 g for the proton's mass. Not
bad, huh?

Knecht
www.amherst.edu/~rloldershaw
barking dogs need not reply

Ken S. Tucker

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Sep 6, 2008, 2:33:03 PM9/6/08
to
Hi David and Jay.

On Sep 5, 11:25 pm, "N:dlzc D:aol T:com \(dlzc\)" <dl...@cox.net>
wrote:
> Dear Jay R. Yablon:
>
> "Jay R. Yablon" <jyab...@nycap.rr.com> wrote in messagenews:6ied2bF...@mid.individual.net...

> > I have not had any time for physics recently and
> > expect this unfortunate state of affairs will persist
> > for awhile longer,

Looking forward to seeing you back.

>>but I did want to bring forth a
> > recent "behind the scenes" discussion between
> > one individual poster, and the moderators. That
> > individual made the statement, which which I
> > could not agree more, that:
>
> > The "corruption of physics by mathematicians
> > (not mathematics) has been burgeoning for over
> > 100 years with today's dismal lack of progress a predictable
> > result."
>
> > Again, this struck me very hard, and jostled me
> > out of my present hibernation, for I could not
> > agree more.
>
> So there has been no advancement in 100 years? This obviates
> general relativity and most of quantum mechanics to "dismal lack
> of progress"? Even your own efforts...

100 years ago, 1908, Minkowski *invents* SpaceTime,
and then before he perfected it, died, leaving us with
a great idea, but a mathematical monstrosity that I'm
still trying to figure out, http://physics.trak4.com/

We have these two highly mathematical theories,
GR and QT (with nearly countless spin-off acronyms,
like QM, WM, QED, QFT ...) that have an excellent
empirical foundation, that's a lot of RED tape, so we're
*boxed in* mathematically.
Personally, I think we need to evolve our math to the
new challenges, as Newton did via calculus applied
to the Theory of Gravity, and that evolution may turn
out to be a simplification.

> > Looking to generate some light, but sure that
> > some of the energy will manifest as heat. ;-)
>
> We have finite lifetimes, even as a species. Manipulation of
> what is known, by the "bridge building" by mathematicians is not
> always a, how did Jesus say it, "vain repetition". It really
> does direct us through spaces already known, so that "setting off
> for novel investigation" is truly orthogonal to the solution
> space of current theory.

> The expectation that many mathematicians have that we appreciate
> their particular ivory tower is annoying, but I don't believe
> that alone is limiting our horizon.
>
> "How do you shoot a purple elephant?"
> "With a purple elephant gun."
> "How do you shoot a pink elephant?"
> "Hold its trunk until it turns purple, and shoot it with a purple
> elephant gun."
>
> Personally, I think a lot of people cannot see that it isn't
> about elephants or guns. They just spend a lot of time figuring
> out how to make purple elephants...

Well in Canada they have a lot White Elephants.

> My 2 cents. Have another beer.
> David A. Smith

Cheers, it's the weekend.
Ken S. Tucker

JimJast

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Sep 6, 2008, 4:24:41 PM9/6/08
to
On 6 Wrz, 06:52, "Jay R. Yablon" <jyab...@nycap.rr.com> wrote:
> I have not had any time for physics recently and expect this unfortunate
> state of affairs will persist for awhile longer, but I did want to bring
> forth a recent "behind the scenes" discussion between one individual
> poster, and the moderators. That individual made the statement, which
> which I could not agree more, that:
>
> The "corruption of physics by mathematicians (not mathematics) has been
> burgeoning for over 100 years with today's dismal lack of progress a
> predictable result."

It is even worse than that. We already have started going backwards.
In my university (where I'm doing my PhD work in general relativity)
the physics students are conditioned by "mathematical physicists" into
believing that the principle of conservation of energy is "not valid
in general relativity" (without a proof, just on the authority of the
professor and one has to mention that this "general relativity" is a
particular kind of relativity in which the universe is believed to be
expanding and so obviously energy in it has to be created "somehow" to
counter the natural in relativistic gravitation reshift of photons,
the redshift due to the necessary time dilation in curved space in
which redshift per unit of distance must be 1/R where R is radius of
curvature of space since 1/R+d^2(proper time)/dtdx=0, where (t,x) is
the coordinate spacetime). So the matematicians to keep alive their
outdated hypthesis that the universe is expanding (while observations
turned out to be contradicting the expansion) are not only preventing
the publication of evidence contradicting the expansion but are also
corrupting the minds of physics students. It is probably too late to
do anything about it which must make the "crabs in the barrel" very
happy.

-- Jim

JimJast

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Sep 6, 2008, 4:27:47 PM9/6/08
to
Dear David,

> So there has been no advancement in 100 years?  This obviates

> general relativity ...

and what progress we had in general relativity, which is able to (i)
predict Hubble redshift in "Einstein's (stationary) universe" and
predicts the value of Hubble constant as observed (as c/R_E, where c
is speed of light and R_E is "Einstein's radius"), is able to (ii)
predict the ilusion of accelerating expansion and predict its value as
observed (as (dH/dt)/H_0^2=1/2), (iii) predict local quasars (as seen
by Halton Arp), (iv) predict average size of pieces of non luminous
matter (as ca. 2 m), (v) possibly predict the relation between the
redshift and angular diameters of galaxies as observed, (vi) predict
the Pioneer "anomaly" as observed (as c^2/R_E) and because of
mathematicians working "in the universe" none of those predictions of
genereal relativity got through to the public opinion because those
mathematicians who are responsible for math of general relativity were
unable to accept that thier model of the universe (so called the Big
Bang model) is not what is out there.

-- Jim

Oh No

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Sep 6, 2008, 4:29:04 PM9/6/08
to
Thus spake Jay R. Yablon <jya...@nycap.rr.com>

>I have not had any time for physics recently and expect this
>unfortunate state of affairs will persist for awhile longer, but I did
>want to bring forth a recent "behind the scenes" discussion between one
>individual poster, and the moderators. That individual made the
>statement, which which I could not agree more, that:
>
>The "corruption of physics by mathematicians (not mathematics) has been
>burgeoning for over 100 years with today's dismal lack of progress a
>predictable result."
>
>Again, this struck me very hard, and jostled me out of my present
>hibernation, for I could not agree more.

I cannot agree at all. The course of the last 60 years at least has been
one in which mathematicians are kept out of physics and in which the
standards of mathematics applied to physics are inadequate to deal with
the fundamental problems facing physics. Physicists, not mathematicians,
impose the philosophy that the physics consists only of experimental
predictions, not the validity of the arguments or of the assumptions.
Mathematicians, otoh, know that if a implies b, and b is true, you
cannot deduce a.

>
>Mathematicians in my view (and experience) have become the "crabs in
>the barrel" of physics, dragging back and bullying any physicist (and
>there is a sharp difference between a physicist and a mathematician)
>who tries to advance forward without paying endless homage to some
>mathematical hobby horse or another. A good, creative physicist trying
>to build new wings onto our edifice of natural understanding must be
>willing more often than not to take risky stabs in the dark based on
>informed physical intuition, without any particular mathematical
>preconceptions, and then to come back afterwards after the dust settles
>and sort out what sort of mathematics he or she has wandered into or
>stumbled upon. The insistence on constricted pedagogical pathways to
>discovery suggests that we can get from "here to there" using only the
>tools which are already within the scope of human knowledge, when much
>of our scientific history shows that this is just not true. Talk about
>ignoring evidence!
>
>I am often appalled a) not only at the complete lack of connection
>between much of what I read in the physics literature and any sort of
>direct intuitive feeling about nature, and even more so, b) the
>complete willingness on the part of most participants to accept this
>state of affairs without so much as a raised eyebrow.

Indeed, but the blame lies with the philosophies of physics, not with
mathematicians.


Regards

--
Charles Francis
moderator sci.physics.foundations.
charles (dot) e (dot) h (dot) francis (at) googlemail.com (remove spaces and
braces)

http://www.teleconnection.info/rqg/MainIndex

harry

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Sep 6, 2008, 4:27:50 PM9/6/08
to
> Email: jyab...@nycap.rr.com

> co-moderator: sci.physics.foundations
> Weblog:http://jayryablon.wordpress.com/
> Web Site:http://home.nycap.rr.com/jry/FermionMass.htm

I would say that it's related to a kind of philosophical revolution
that was perhaps started by Einstein: the idea was, I think, that when
physical intuition doesn't get you there, smart mathematical juggling
based on principles without focussing on a model can give physics
quite a boost (and so it did, at least the first years). Regretfully
the use of physical models has since been degraded, while I think that
the most succesful long-term approach is a double approach. For the
rest, I can't agree more with your posting!
Regards,
Harald

JimJast

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Sep 6, 2008, 4:27:47 PM9/6/08
to
The problem with math is of course such that the model it describes is
often not what is really out there. The classical illustration of this
fact is Newtonian gravitation. What Newton missed was "only" the
curvature of space. Otherwise it was (almost) perfect. So perfect that
till now many people refuse to accept the curvature of space as
physical fact and hope that some new discoveries (e.g. of some "dark
energy") make Einstein's gravitation invalid and so they don't need to
learn the physics of it. Ironicaly it applies mostly to mathematicians
who are trying to make snese of the so called "expanding universe"
while the universe is most likely stationary or at least there are no
observations yet that would contradict "Einstei's universe". At this
point I expect trouble with moderators but luckily what I have said
could be proved rather easily if the moderators were really interested
in physics more than in moderating. I've been working on "expandng
universe" since 1985 and I discovered a beautiful confirmation of
Einsteinian gravitation and the confirmation of strict conservation of
energy, that mathematicians who "work in the universe" for some reason
refuse to accept.

They also refuse to accept the fact that "Pioneer anomaly" is an
artifact produced by lazy astrophysicists who don't want to bother
with the understanding of Einstein's gravitation (since "dark energy"
is going too invalidate it soon, right?) and for the time being they
created a cow that they will be able to milk foever since if this
"anomaly" can't be explained with Einstein's gravitation (as they
maintain) it must be an "unexplained phenomenon" on which one may work
forever since the only sensible solution has been already rejected as
contradicting the hypothesis of "expanding universe" ("acidentally" he
photons show the same "dynamical friction" as Pioneers do but it must
be purely accidental since photons have their redshift declared to be
only because of "expanding space").

FrediFizzx

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Sep 6, 2008, 5:45:20 PM9/6/08
to
"Jay R. Yablon" <jya...@nycap.rr.com> wrote in message
news:6ied2bF...@mid.individual.net...
>I have not had any time for physics recently and expect this
>unfortunate state of affairs will persist for awhile longer, but I
>did want to bring forth a recent "behind the scenes" discussion
>between one individual poster, and the moderators. That individual
>made the statement, which which I could not agree more, that:
>
> The "corruption of physics by mathematicians (not mathematics) has
> been burgeoning for over 100 years with today's dismal lack of
> progress a predictable result."

I would have to say that statement is "way over the top" and I don't
agree with it at all. I was actually quite "surprised" that you
posted this. ;-) Whilst we may have not had progress recently, there
has been an incredible amount of progress in physics over the last 100
years. Experimental physics gets exponentially more costly as we find
out more. Plus physics has progressed to the state where it is
impossible to describe adequately without mathematics.

> Again, this struck me very hard, and jostled me out of my present
> hibernation, for I could not agree more.
>
> Mathematicians in my view (and experience) have become the "crabs in
> the barrel" of physics, dragging back and bullying any physicist
> (and there is a sharp difference between a physicist and a
> mathematician) who tries to advance forward without paying endless
> homage to some mathematical hobby horse or another. A good,
> creative physicist trying to build new wings onto our edifice of
> natural understanding must be willing more often than not to take
> risky stabs in the dark based on informed physical intuition,
> without any particular mathematical preconceptions, and then to come
> back afterwards after the dust settles and sort out what sort of
> mathematics he or she has wandered into or stumbled upon. The
> insistence on constricted pedagogical pathways to discovery suggests
> that we can get from "here to there" using only the tools which are
> already within the scope of human knowledge, when much of our
> scientific history shows that this is just not true. Talk about
> ignoring evidence!

Can you give a specific example?

> I am often appalled a) not only at the complete lack of connection
> between much of what I read in the physics literature and any sort
> of direct intuitive feeling about nature, and even more so, b) the
> complete willingness on the part of most participants to accept this
> state of affairs without so much as a raised eyebrow.

Again... what is an example?

> Remember folks, physics is about nature -- not about mathematics.
> It is, in essence, natural philosophy made precise and measurable.
> I can churn out pages of mathematics as fast as anybody, but one
> always has to be able to see and feel a connection to nature. And
> without an underlying natural philosophy to guide the way, one is
> lost.
>
> Looking to generate some light, but sure that some of the energy
> will manifest as heat. ;-)

Yep. ;-)

Best,

Fred Diether

maxwell

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Sep 6, 2008, 6:08:44 PM9/6/08
to
On Sep 5, 11:25 pm, "N:dlzc D:aol T:com \(dlzc\)" <dl...@cox.net>
wrote:
> Dear Jay R. Yablon:
>
> "Jay R. Yablon" <jyab...@nycap.rr.com> wrote in messagenews:6ied2bF...@mid.individual.net...

Yes, David, this type of philosophical criticism does cast a long
shadow over these two 'triumphs' of 20th century theoretical physics.
But let's look a little closer.

First QM: we are not much further ahead in the study of atomic physics
than Sommerfeld in 1916 who just applied Planck's Proposal for
relativistic mass to Bohr's Keplerian model of the hydrogen atom.
Yes, I know someone will quote QED and tell me to how many decimal
places they can calculate the Lamb Shift but Ptolemy did a better job
than Galileo in predicting planetary movements; numerical agreement
with experiment is nice but insufficient if it does not provide
insight. Dirac himself came to admit this whole approach was deeply
flawed & in need of new foundational insights. These will be based on
new physical intuitions, not math deductions; the mathematicians have
had nearly 100 years to explore the math implications & are still
constructing their 'castles in the air'.

I'm not going to waste any time on GR - this is not an experimental
science but one limited to predicting cosmological numbers; as such it
contributes little more value to humanity than astrology. As I
described in my reply to Jay above, SRT is not about LT or Minkowski
'space-time' but Planck's relativistic mechanics, which were developed
to 'fit' crude experimental data. Theories about space itself are
simply metaphysics (like Clerk-Maxwell's aether) and should not form
the basis for an empirical science like physics, which used to be the
study of matter and change i.e. reality.

PS Loved your elephant story.

maxwell

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Sep 6, 2008, 6:11:40 PM9/6/08
to
> Email: jyab...@nycap.rr.com

> co-moderator: sci.physics.foundations
> Weblog:http://jayryablon.wordpress.com/
> Web Site:http://home.nycap.rr.com/jry/FermionMass.htm

Thanks, Jay. As the poster who stimulated this thread I feel
obligated to contribute to it. My readings in the history of physics
lay the blame for the present mess in theoretical physics squarely at
the door of one of the heros of modern physics, namely: Max Planck.
Not only did he play the political game masterfully around the
beginning of the 20th century as private advisor on physics to the
Prussian Ministry of Education (who controlled most of the academic
professorships) but as editor of 'Annalen der Physik' he could promote
those who agreed with his personal (Platonic & math) viewpoint. Thus,
he was Einstein's earliest (& strongest supporter). As a
mathematician he was very good at 'back-tracking' through a theory
until he could propose a new equation that took the deductive theory
along a new direction, one whose results he knew were required by
experiment. This had nothing to do with philosophical or visual
models that had characterized the rapid evolution of physics in the
previous 200 years but was totally in the pure 'head-space' tradition
of creative math. His two most notorious examples of this technique
were his quantum suggestion for energy transfers between harmonic
oscillators to fit the experimental facts of the black-body spectrum
and his proposal to modify the invariant mass of a fast-moving body to
fit the experimental results of Kaufmann. The first suggestion
ultimately resulted in the quantum theory and the second relativistic
mechanics. Since both suggestions were purely mathematical and
without physical explanation then the foundations of these two new
theories of 20th century physics were 'built on sand' - the nearly 100
years of argumentation about the physical interpretation of these two
theories was then inevitable. How ironic that Planck subsequently
came to dislike the two major directions of theoretical physics that
his approach has 'hatched'. This style of doing theoretical physics
then became the norm as more & more students with a strong penchant
for mathematics were inducted into the physics profession to teach
these types of math theories. Any young student with an interest in
philosophy or visual model building was soon turned off by this
approach, accelerating the concentration of mathematicians in
theoretical physics, where today the incidence of these 'cuckoos' is
close to 100%. It is not surprising that not only has progress
stalled in theoretical physics but that the number of students
entering physics today has dropped precipitously. Unless this
situation is soon remedied then (irony of ironies) theoretical physics
will become just another activity of the math department.

maxwell

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Sep 6, 2008, 8:06:48 PM9/6/08
to
> still trying to figure out,http://physics.trak4.com/

Newton did not invent math to discover new physics. You have the cart
before the horse. Newton developed his innovative concepts first &
then used math to CALCULATE his results so that they might be compared
with observations. This would be like doing a telephone sampling
survey to calculate the average income of a country: asking everyone
takes too long & hardly changes the answer. In the case of
gravitation, the approximation of instantaneous effects between the
various planetary objects is sufficiently accurate compared to their
periods of rotation. Newton first had to invent the idea of universal
gravitation - that was his genius, not the calculus, which several
others were on the brink of inventing (vide - the Leibniz
contoversy). As Einstein recognized, inspiration precedes imagination
& then you do the math.

maxwell

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Sep 6, 2008, 8:08:02 PM9/6/08
to
On Sep 6, 1:29 pm, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
>> ..

> Indeed, but the blame lies with the philosophies of physics, not with
> mathematicians.
>
I cannot disagree with you more, Charles. Today, in the physics
departments around the world, there is an abysmal lack of interest in
both the philosophy and history of science. In my view, this is
because, like Jay, I see theoretical physics today almost totally
hijacked by the mathematicians. These individuals already have a
philosophy (Plato's Pythagoreanism) and do not wish to defend it.
Just like the Soviets (or the Catholics in the Middle Ages), it is
much simpler to silence one's critics than to defend one's own
position (the role of today's professional journal referees -
hopefully, not that of Google newsgroup moderators!)
You appear to suggest that the mathematicians in the physics
departments are not up to the standard of those left in the math
departments & if only these 'purists' would deign to do some physics
then the problems would disappear. Quite the contrary, this would
complete the hijacking of physics - these pure mathematicians have no
physical intuition whatsoever. The only good outcome is that it would
decelerate the progress of physics more rapidly to zero, so that they
could all get turfed out and we could get back to doing physics like
the giants of the 19th century.

N:dlzc D:aol T:com (dlzc)

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Sep 6, 2008, 9:27:32 PM9/6/08
to
Dear JimJast:

"JimJast" <jim_jas...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:9248d8e0-24de-40b5...@f63g2000hsf.googlegroups.com...


> Dear David,
>
>> So there has been no advancement in 100 years?
>> This obviates general relativity ...
>
> and what progress we had in general relativity,
> which is able to (i) predict Hubble redshift in
> "Einstein's (stationary) universe" and predicts
> the value of Hubble constant as observed

Prediction, in that such is result, is allowed for.

> (as c/R_E, where c is speed of light and R_E
> is "Einstein's radius"), is able to (ii) predict the
> ilusion of accelerating expansion and predict
> its value as observed (as (dH/dt)/H_0^2=1/2),

Such is predicted, and covered by the cosmological "constant".

> (iii) predict local quasars (as seen by Halton
> Arp),

Such are permissible.

> (iv) predict average size of pieces of non
> luminous matter (as ca. 2 m),

Such are permissible.

> (v) possibly predict the relation between the
> redshift and angular diameters of galaxies
> as observed,

Such is comprehensible, if pointless.

> (vi) predict the Pioneer "anomaly" as observed
> (as c^2/R_E)

Which fails the most simple observations more locally, so are
obviated as being at best coincidence.

> and because of mathematicians working "in
> the universe" none of those predictions of
> genereal relativity got through to the public
> opinion because those mathematicians who
> are responsible for math of general relativity
> were unable to accept that thier model of the
> universe (so called the Big Bang model) is
> not what is out there.

Neither is your fantasy world. It didn't get to the general
populace, because neither boobs nor blood were involved. It had
nothing to do with mathematicians or physics.

David A. Smith

N:dlzc D:aol T:com (dlzc)

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Sep 6, 2008, 9:26:49 PM9/6/08
to
Dear maxwell:

"maxwell" <sp...@shaw.ca> wrote in message
news:e809936a-4424-461a...@25g2000prz.googlegroups.com...

> Yes, David, this type of philosophical criticism
> does cast a long shadow over these two
> 'triumphs' of 20th century theoretical physics.
> But let's look a little closer.
>
> First QM: we are not much further ahead in
> the study of atomic physics than Sommerfeld
> in 1916 who just applied Planck's Proposal for
> relativistic mass to Bohr's Keplerian model of
> the hydrogen atom. Yes, I know someone will
> quote QED and tell me to how many decimal
> places they can calculate the Lamb Shift

So we have advanced in quantum mechanics. To the point that we
can *see* entanglement, produce Bose-Einstein condensates, and
understand and predict superconduction.

> but Ptolemy did a better job than Galileo in
> predicting planetary movements; numerical
> agreement with experiment is nice but
> insufficient if it does not provide insight.

So you are saying we are lacking a Galileo?

> Dirac himself came to admit this whole
> approach was deeply flawed & in need of new
> foundational insights.

Which is why we have this convocation...

> These will be based on new physical intuitions,
> not math deductions; the mathematicians have
> had nearly 100 years to explore the math
> implications & are still constructing their 'castles
> in the air'.

Except for string theory, the "castles in the air" have done
quite well. They have permitted a civilization heretofore
unknown on this planet.

> I'm not going to waste any time on GR - this is
> not an experimental science but one limited to
> predicting cosmological numbers; as such it
> contributes little more value to humanity than
> astrology.

GPS, cosmological expansion and acceleration of same, anomalous
boosting of satellites, describing black holes, these are not the
result of "cosmological numbers".

> As I described in my reply to Jay above, SRT
> is not about LT or Minkowski 'space-time' but
> Planck's relativistic mechanics, which were
> developed to 'fit' crude experimental data.

... yet do work still, and yet some will never accept that they
even remotely descibe the world around them.

> Theories about space itself are simply
> metaphysics

.... which is why we are here ...

> (like Clerk-Maxwell's aether) and should not form
> the basis for an empirical science like physics,
> which used to be the study of matter and change
> i.e. reality.

That is what physics is about, excepting string theory. Getting
down to quantitative prediction and experimentation.

> PS Loved your elephant story.

But you missed its point. You too are trying to make purple
elephants, just not what others call purple elephants.

"Why do ducks have flat feet?"
"From stomping out forest fires."
"Why do elephants have flat feet?"
"From stomping out flaming ducks."

David A. Smith

N:dlzc D:aol T:com (dlzc)

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Sep 6, 2008, 11:30:42 PM9/6/08
to
Dear maxwell:

"maxwell" <sp...@shaw.ca> wrote in message

news:3d3a4b00-b089-4004...@b2g2000prf.googlegroups.com...


> On Sep 6, 1:29 pm, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk>
> wrote:
>>> ..
>> Indeed, but the blame lies with the philosophies
>> of physics, not with mathematicians.

Let me translate that: There is no philosophy of physics. The
mathematicians are left to fend for themselves.

> I cannot disagree with you more, Charles.

....

In fact you said exactly the same thing.

David A. Smith

Igor

unread,
Sep 6, 2008, 11:30:32 PM9/6/08
to
> Email: jyab...@nycap.rr.com

> co-moderator: sci.physics.foundations
> Weblog:http://jayryablon.wordpress.com/
> Web Site:http://home.nycap.rr.com/jry/FermionMass.htm


Well, I've always felt that people who try to build new physical
theories on purely mathematical motivations are almost always doomed
to failure. And while such programs may lead to new and interesting
math, there's usually no physical content at all. Einstein's quest
for a unified field led to some fascinating new math, but no real
physics was discovered. Sometimes, I think string theory has led us
down a similarly mathematically-elegant, but void of physics dead
end. In the end, nothing beats a purely physical motivation for a
physical theory, as difficult as that can sometimes be.

Jay R. Yablon

unread,
Sep 6, 2008, 11:55:18 PM9/6/08
to

"FrediFizzx" <fredi...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:6ig8e5F...@mid.individual.net...

> "Jay R. Yablon" <jya...@nycap.rr.com> wrote in message
> news:6ied2bF...@mid.individual.net...
>>I have not had any time for physics recently and expect this
>>unfortunate state of affairs will persist for awhile longer, but I did
>>want to bring forth a recent "behind the scenes" discussion between
>>one individual poster, and the moderators. That individual made the
>>statement, which which I could not agree more, that:
>>
>> The "corruption of physics by mathematicians (not mathematics) has
>> been burgeoning for over 100 years with today's dismal lack of
>> progress a predictable result."
>
> I would have to say that statement is "way over the top" and I don't
> agree with it at all. I was actually quite "surprised" that you
> posted this. ;-) Whilst we may have not had progress recently, there
> has been an incredible amount of progress in physics over the last 100
> years.

Actually, Fred, I will retract any inferred agreement with the time
frame of 100 years, which was part of the original quote I reacted to.
As you know, the geometrization of gravitation in general relativity is,
in my view, the best that science has ever had to offer, and my own
natural philosophy regards this as the clear template for other
theoretical development. I am, as I have stated in other contexts, an
unrepentant proponent of Wheeler's geometrodynamic programme.

But certainly the last half century (with the notable exception of
electroweak theory) has been defined more by slogging through a morass
than by any groundbreaking new insights. QFT, as nice as it is, if
still an amalgamation of many threads, and the most coherent picture
that I have seen is that presented by Zee, in which quantum theory via
the path integral approach is, in essence, entails ever-more
sophisticated ways of playing with Gaussian integrals.

While all leads me to another thread I will start in a moment.

Jay.

Oh No

unread,
Sep 7, 2008, 5:05:48 AM9/7/08
to
Thus spake maxwell <sp...@shaw.ca>

>On Sep 6, 1:29 pm, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
>>> ..
>> Indeed, but the blame lies with the philosophies of physics, not with
>> mathematicians.
>>
>I cannot disagree with you more, Charles. Today, in the physics
>departments around the world, there is an abysmal lack of interest in
>both the philosophy and history of science.

This is true. There is also an abysmal lack of proper mathematical
standards.

> In my view, this is
>because, like Jay, I see theoretical physics today almost totally
>hijacked by the mathematicians.

Not true. The standards of mathematics to which they adhere are so poor
that very few mathematicians are able to stick an undergraduate physics
course.


> These individuals already have a
>philosophy (Plato's Pythagoreanism) and do not wish to defend it.
>Just like the Soviets (or the Catholics in the Middle Ages), it is
>much simpler to silence one's critics than to defend one's own
>position (the role of today's professional journal referees -
>hopefully, not that of Google newsgroup moderators!)
>You appear to suggest that the mathematicians in the physics
>departments are not up to the standard of those left in the math
>departments & if only these 'purists' would deign to do some physics
>then the problems would disappear. Quite the contrary, this would
>complete the hijacking of physics - these pure mathematicians have no
>physical intuition whatsoever.

It is necessary to distinguish "physical intuition" from unjustified
metaphysical assumption.

>The only good outcome is that it would
>decelerate the progress of physics more rapidly to zero, so that they
>could all get turfed out and we could get back to doing physics like
>the giants of the 19th century.
>

That requires individuals who are all three, mathematician, physicist,
and philosopher. The reject any one of those disciplines, as you seem to
reject mathematics, will leave you unequipped to deal with the
fundamental issues facing physics.

Oh No

unread,
Sep 7, 2008, 5:11:09 AM9/7/08
to
Thus spake JimJast <jim_jas...@yahoo.com>
I cannot say what your professor is teaching, but there are clearly two
distinct ideas which have become confused here. Local energy
conservation is very much a part of general relativity. It is part of
the law of local energy-momentum conservation, which is contained in
Einstein's field equation via the contracted Bianchi identity.

What we may not do is add the energy at one part of space with the
energy at another, because energy is a component of a vector and there
is no means to add vectors defined at different places. Hence, there is
no concept of total global energy in gtr.

Oh No

unread,
Sep 7, 2008, 5:13:10 AM9/7/08
to
Thus spake Igor <thoo...@excite.com>

Einstein's quest was based in real physical problems. The fact that he
did not discover the mathematics to deal with it, does not indicate that
the quest was misguided, but that he was before his time. It is
necessary to unify gr with qed, not with cem.

String theory is motivated by metaphysics, not mathematics. It attempts
to deal with mathematical problems in qft, but rather one should look at
the mathematical structure of qft to see what it really means. I do not
see string theory doing that. It takes mathematical structure for
granted, and I do not see it fulfilling its objectives.

Oh No

unread,
Sep 7, 2008, 5:11:38 AM9/7/08
to
Thus spake JimJast <jim_jas...@yahoo.com>

>The problem with math is of course such that the model it describes is
>often not what is really out there. The classical illustration of this
>fact is Newtonian gravitation. What Newton missed was "only" the
>curvature of space. Otherwise it was (almost) perfect. So perfect that
>till now many people refuse to accept the curvature of space as
>physical fact and hope that some new discoveries (e.g. of some "dark
>energy") make Einstein's gravitation invalid and so they don't need to
>learn the physics of it. Ironicaly it applies mostly to mathematicians
>who are trying to make snese of the so called "expanding universe"
>while the universe is most likely stationary or at least there are no
>observations yet that would contradict "Einstei's universe". At this
>point I expect trouble with moderators but luckily what I have said
>could be proved rather easily if the moderators were really interested
>in physics more than in moderating. I've been working on "expandng
>universe" since 1985 and I discovered a beautiful confirmation of
>Einsteinian gravitation and the confirmation of strict conservation of
>energy, that mathematicians who "work in the universe" for some reason
>refuse to accept.

The concept of dark energy does not make Einstein's gravitation invalid.
It is just another word for Einstein's cosmological constant. The modern
concordance model is a solution of Einstein's field equation, i.e. it is
entirely within Einstein's theory of gravitation. It has flat space, but
it does not have flat spacetime.


>
>They also refuse to accept the fact that "Pioneer anomaly" is an
>artifact produced by lazy astrophysicists who don't want to bother
>with the understanding of Einstein's gravitation (since "dark energy"
>is going too invalidate it soon, right?) and for the time being they
>created a cow that they will be able to milk foever since if this
>"anomaly" can't be explained with Einstein's gravitation (as they
>maintain) it must be an "unexplained phenomenon" on which one may work
>forever since the only sensible solution has been already rejected as
>contradicting the hypothesis of "expanding universe" ("acidentally" he
>photons show the same "dynamical friction" as Pioneers do but it must
>be purely accidental since photons have their redshift declared to be
>only because of "expanding space").
>

There is nothing lazy about the work done on the pioneer anomaly. It was
discovered by spacecraft engineers, not astrophysicists, btw.
Explanations of the sort you suggest have been thoroughly and correctly
analysed, and do not account for it.

neur...@yahoo.com.au

unread,
Sep 7, 2008, 5:37:57 AM9/7/08
to
Ssshh! Be ve-wy, ve-wy qwiet everwyone! I'm Elmer Phys-Fudd
and I'm hunting math-wabbits! Oh those wascally wabbits!
Always wunning awound in their wabbit holes where I
can't shoot them!

Fortunately, I've got my twusty hound dawg Wover wif me...

(Woof! A-hur, a-hur, we're hunting phys-wabbits! And
when I catch one, I'm going to cut its tail off! Woof!)

Oh there's one! Aaah, there's a pwague of them! They're
wunning wiot all over my Theowetical Physics cawwot patch!
(Blam! Blam!) Oh, I missed! Those wascally wabbits are too
fast and twicky! (Blam! Blam!) Oh, I missed again!
Get them Wover!

Wats, that's no good. Wait! I'm smarter than a wabbit! If a
math-wabbit has vewocity "v_w" and my wifle shoots bullets
with vewocity "v_b", then, after a wittle twusty
twigonometwy and cwassical mechanics I'll outsmart that
wascally wabbit by pointing my wifle "here" when the wabbit
is "there", and... (blam! blam! blam!) Hey, I got one!
I shot the wabbit! I shot the wabbit!

> Errrh, what's up doc? I'm the hunting inspector!
> Are you hunting out of season!?

Huh? Um, but Mr Inspector sir, but... it's math-wabbit
season, isn't it?

> Are you using a licensed math-rabbit rifle? Give it here
> and let me check!

Umm, yes sir Mr Inspector, here it is. But I'm sure I paid
my wicense fees wast week.

> Errh, ok, it looks like a proper rabbit rifle. And did you
> get the rabbit by doing a calculation?

Oh yes Mr Inspector! I was weally smart! I did some
twigonometwy and some calcuwus in my twusty notebook and I
outsmarted that wascally wabbit!

> Hey, so YOU'RE a math-wabbit, aren't you?

What!? No! I'm Elmer Phys-Fudd!

> Oh, a wise guy huh? You're in the physics carrot patch,
> doing math! And its math-rabbit season! Say your prayers,
> rabbit!

Aaaaaaah!

(Blam!)

> (Wink.) I only needed one shot. I can do calculus in
> my head. (Ain't I a stinker?)
>
> ----
> LOL from Princess Bugsy Cotton-Tail.
>
> [Here Rover, here boy! Good boy! Now roll over, you need
> a little snip-snippy trim down there...]

N:dlzc D:aol T:com (dlzc)

unread,
Sep 7, 2008, 2:46:48 PM9/7/08
to
Dear Oh No:

"Oh No" <No...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote in message
news:HeTh9HBo...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk...
....


> What we may not do is add the energy at one part
> of space with the energy at another, because energy
> is a component of a vector and there is no means to
> add vectors defined at different places. Hence, there
> is no concept of total global energy in gtr.

I know the underlying momentum is a vector, but I had not
considered that energy was itself associated with a vector.
Could you say a little more about that, that a mechanical
engineer might understand? Or link to some place that talks
about it? I understand that we are talking the formalisms of
GR...

David A. Smith

Oh No

unread,
Sep 7, 2008, 3:13:55 PM9/7/08
to
Thus spake "N:dlzc D:aol T:com (dlzc)" <dl...@cox.net>
In relativity 3-vectors are replaced by 4-vectors. This is how we can
prove E=mc^2. Energy is the time component of the energy-momentum 4
vector (or simply momentum 4-vector), the three space components being
momentum.

I cover this at the level which I think you are looking for in

http://www.teleconnection.info/rqg/FoundationsOfSpecialRelativity
http://www.teleconnection.info/rqg/IntroductionToVectorSpace

This much is special relativity. To see how it builds into general
relativity

http://www.teleconnection.info/rqg/BasicsOfCurvature
http://www.teleconnection.info/rqg/TheEquivalencePrinciple
http://www.teleconnection.info/rqg/GeneralRelativity

Thereafter things do get mathematical, but I have had a good shot at
explaining what the mathematics is actually about in these sections
before actually introducing it in a full blooded way.

Knecht

unread,
Sep 7, 2008, 11:39:34 PM9/7/08
to


Addendum:

A more complete discussion of "Modeling Subatomic Particles and Nuclei
as Kerr-Newman Soutions..." has been added to www.amherst.edu/~rloldershaw
in the Technical Notes section [August 2008]. My webmaster had some
trouble with a couple of symbols, but that will be fixed soon, and
should not be a big problem for anyone with a minimum knowledge of
Discrete Scale Relativity (aka the Discrete Fractal Paradigm).

Sections I. and II.: Preliminaries on DSR and Geometrodynamics.

Section III.: An explanation for the physical difference between
hadrons and leptons.

Section IV.: Results of calculations for the proton.

Section VI.: Hold onto your socks!

Section VII.: A promising new model for the electron.

Not for the faint of heart or the closed of mind, so to speak.

Knecht
www.amherst.edu/~rloldershaw

Igor

unread,
Sep 7, 2008, 11:41:21 PM9/7/08
to
On Sep 7, 5:13 am, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
> Thus spake Igor <thoov...@excite.com>

>
> >On Sep 6, 12:52 am, "Jay R. Yablon" <jyab...@nycap.rr.com> wrote:
>
> >Well, I've always felt that people who try to build new physical
> >theories on purely mathematical motivations are almost always doomed
> >to failure.  And while such programs may lead to new and interesting
> >math, there's usually no physical content at all.  Einstein's quest
> >for a unified field led to some fascinating new math, but no real
> >physics was discovered.  Sometimes, I think string theory has led us
> >down a similarly mathematically-elegant, but void of physics dead
> >end.  In the end, nothing beats a purely physical motivation for a
> >physical theory, as difficult as that can sometimes be.
>
> Einstein's quest was based in real physical problems. The fact that he
> did not discover the mathematics to deal with it, does not indicate that
> the quest was misguided, but that he was before his time. It is
> necessary to unify gr with qed, not with cem.

Sure, his quest was based on real physics, but most of his attempts at
unification were more about tweaking the mathematics to see what would
happen rather than finding an actual physical motivation. SR
essentially began with questions about light, and GR with the
equivalence principle. After those successes, his approach seemed to
be to fiddle with the math and hope that something related to physics
would pop out. And I never said his quest was misguided, but that his
approach was basically flying blindly in a land of what if. For what
it's worth, I always felt that he probably came closest to physical
reality when he was working with Kaluza-Klein geometry.


> String theory is motivated by metaphysics, not mathematics. It attempts
> to deal with mathematical problems in qft, but rather one should look at
> the mathematical structure of qft to see what it really means. I do not
> see string theory doing that. It takes mathematical structure for
> granted, and I do not see it fulfilling its objectives.
>

And from what I understand, a big portion of the mathematics required
to further the theory probably doesn't even exist yet.

Oh No

unread,
Sep 8, 2008, 4:05:37 AM9/8/08
to
Thus spake Igor <thoo...@excite.com>

>On Sep 7, 5:13 am, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
>> Thus spake Igor <thoov...@excite.com>
>>
>> >On Sep 6, 12:52 am, "Jay R. Yablon" <jyab...@nycap.rr.com> wrote:
>>
>> >Well, I've always felt that people who try to build new physical
>> >theories on purely mathematical motivations are almost always doomed
>> >to failure.  And while such programs may lead to new and interesting
>> >math, there's usually no physical content at all.  Einstein's quest
>> >for a unified field led to some fascinating new math, but no real
>> >physics was discovered.  

>> Einstein's quest was based in real physical problems. The fact that he


>> did not discover the mathematics to deal with it, does not indicate that
>> the quest was misguided, but that he was before his time. It is
>> necessary to unify gr with qed, not with cem.
>
>Sure, his quest was based on real physics, but most of his attempts at
>unification were more about tweaking the mathematics to see what would
>happen rather than finding an actual physical motivation. SR
>essentially began with questions about light, and GR with the
>equivalence principle. After those successes, his approach seemed to
>be to fiddle with the math and hope that something related to physics
>would pop out. And I never said his quest was misguided, but that his
>approach was basically flying blindly in a land of what if. For what
>it's worth, I always felt that he probably came closest to physical
>reality when he was working with Kaluza-Klein geometry.
>

His fundamental requirement was consistency. That should still be the
fundamental requirement. Consistency is demonstrated through
mathematics. If areas of physics are not consistent, we must adjust our
fundamental assumptions or postulates such that they better represent
physics. On cannot say the method is doomed to failure. Einstein had
already shown how successful it can be by producing both the special and
the general theories, plus his work on Brownian motion and the
photoelectric effect. He did not succeed with unification because he did
not take on board the quantum theory, and because qed was not available,
but one man can only do so much. It is not Einstein's failure, but
rather the failure of subsequent generations of physicists that they
have not appreciated or used Einstein's methods in the context of more
recent discoveries.

Oh No

unread,
Sep 8, 2008, 4:30:29 AM9/8/08
to
Thus spake Oh No <No...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk>
I should just like to add that the discovery of the Dirac equation is
another (imv breathtaking) example of the use of mathematics to discover
physics.

maxwell

unread,
Sep 9, 2008, 2:10:51 AM9/9/08
to
On Sep 7, 2:05 am, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
> Thus spake maxwell <s...@shaw.ca>

>
> >On Sep 6, 1:29 pm, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
> >>> ..
> >> Indeed, but the blame lies with the philosophies of physics, not with
> >> mathematicians.
>
> >I cannot disagree with you more, Charles.  Today, in the physics
> >departments around the world, there is an abysmal lack of interest in
> >both the philosophy and history of science.
>
> This is true. There is also an abysmal lack of proper mathematical
> standards.

The real breakthroughs in physics have always been conceptual.
Maxwell was quite 'sloppy' in his math, Heaviside ignored his academic
critics & invented operator calculus, the delta function & vectors
(not bad, for an auto-didact) & Einstein was famous for his concepts
not his math. 'Proper standards' (in math) don't seem to have
contributed anything to the progress of physics in the past.

> > In my view, this is
> >because, like Jay, I see theoretical physics today almost totally
> >hijacked by the mathematicians.
>
> Not true. The standards of mathematics to which they adhere are so poor
> that very few mathematicians are able to stick an undergraduate physics
> course.
>

Your impled approach, Charles would rapidly empty out the physics
departments of all undergraduate students, leaving even more seats for
kids with only an aptitude for math. One can sympathize with Alfred
Nobel who refused to fund any prize for mathematics (although his
wishes have been subverted by the 'theoretical physicists') as he must
anticipated their lack of contributions 'to the benefit of mankind'.

> > These individuals already have a
> >philosophy (Plato's Pythagoreanism) and do not wish to defend it.
> >Just like the Soviets (or the Catholics in the Middle Ages), it is
> >much simpler to silence one's critics than to defend one's own
> >position (the role of today's professional journal referees -
> >hopefully, not that of Google newsgroup moderators!)
> >You appear to suggest that the mathematicians in the physics
> >departments are not up to the standard of those left in the math
> >departments & if only these 'purists' would deign to do some physics
> >then the problems would disappear.  Quite the contrary, this would
> >complete the hijacking of physics - these pure mathematicians have no
> >physical intuition whatsoever.
>
> It is necessary to distinguish "physical intuition" from unjustified
> metaphysical assumption.
>

Interesting? How would you distinguish these? Newton's gravity,
Maxwell's aether & Einstein's photons were all first 100% metaphysical
concepts.

> >The only good outcome is that it would
> >decelerate the progress of physics more rapidly to zero, so that they
> >could all get turfed out and we could get back to doing physics like
> >the giants of the 19th century.
>
> That requires individuals who are all three, mathematician, physicist,
> and philosopher. The reject any one of those disciplines, as you seem to
> reject mathematics, will leave you unequipped to deal with the
> fundamental issues facing physics.

You do me an injustice; all my degrees are in physics from a most
reputable English university; I suspect, Charles, that all of yours
were all in mathematics. Incidentally, I would agree with your
requirements but would totally reverse the order of their importance.
I am not holding my breath waiting for the 'fundamental issues' to be
solved by any mathematician (including all those string theorists).

Oh No

unread,
Sep 9, 2008, 4:55:08 AM9/9/08
to
Thus spake maxwell <sp...@shaw.ca>

>On Sep 7, 2:05 am, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
>> Thus spake maxwell <s...@shaw.ca>
>>
>> >On Sep 6, 1:29 pm, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
>> >>> ..
>> >> Indeed, but the blame lies with the philosophies of physics, not with
>> >> mathematicians.
>>
>> >I cannot disagree with you more, Charles.  Today, in the physics
>> >departments around the world, there is an abysmal lack of interest in
>> >both the philosophy and history of science.
>>
>> This is true. There is also an abysmal lack of proper mathematical
>> standards.
>
>The real breakthroughs in physics have always been conceptual.

I don't deny it. Mathematics is the study of concepts.

>Maxwell was quite 'sloppy' in his math, Heaviside ignored his academic
>critics & invented operator calculus, the delta function & vectors
>(not bad, for an auto-didact)

Not bad, but the delta function is usually credited to Dirac.

>& Einstein was famous for his concepts
>not his math.

Einstein was much underrated as a mathematician. He made real
contributions.

>'Proper standards' (in math) don't seem to have
>contributed anything to the progress of physics in the past.

The standards of mathematics only need to be sufficient for the problem
in hand. QED is the first subject in physics in which divergences have
played an important role. The response of physics has been to continue
to ignore proper mathematical treatment of divergence, and to base
further theory on the errors in the sloppy treatment.

>> > In my view, this is
>> >because, like Jay, I see theoretical physics today almost totally
>> >hijacked by the mathematicians.
>>
>> Not true. The standards of mathematics to which they adhere are so poor
>> that very few mathematicians are able to stick an undergraduate physics
>> course.
>>
>Your impled approach, Charles would rapidly empty out the physics
>departments of all undergraduate students, leaving even more seats for
>kids with only an aptitude for math.

Not the physics departments, but I would make theoretical physics a
subject in which mathematical training is a prerequisite, and, instead
of teaching undergraduates the "shut up and calculate" interpretation,
telling them (as I was told) that if you try to think about why the laws
of quantum theory obtain, I would encourage mathematicians who want to
think about the whys of quantum theory rather than its application.


> One can sympathize with Alfred
>Nobel who refused to fund any prize for mathematics (although his
>wishes have been subverted by the 'theoretical physicists') as he must
>anticipated their lack of contributions 'to the benefit of mankind'.

Did Newton, Einstein, Maxwell, Heaviside make no contribution?


>
>> > These individuals already have a
>> >philosophy (Plato's Pythagoreanism) and do not wish to defend it.
>> >Just like the Soviets (or the Catholics in the Middle Ages), it is
>> >much simpler to silence one's critics than to defend one's own
>> >position (the role of today's professional journal referees -
>> >hopefully, not that of Google newsgroup moderators!)
>> >You appear to suggest that the mathematicians in the physics
>> >departments are not up to the standard of those left in the math
>> >departments & if only these 'purists' would deign to do some physics
>> >then the problems would disappear.  Quite the contrary, this would
>> >complete the hijacking of physics - these pure mathematicians have no
>> >physical intuition whatsoever.
>>
>> It is necessary to distinguish "physical intuition" from unjustified
>> metaphysical assumption.
>>
>Interesting? How would you distinguish these? Newton's gravity,
>Maxwell's aether & Einstein's photons were all first 100% metaphysical
>concepts.

Newton made no metaphysical assumption "I frame no hypotheses".


>
>> >The only good outcome is that it would
>> >decelerate the progress of physics more rapidly to zero, so that they
>> >could all get turfed out and we could get back to doing physics like
>> >the giants of the 19th century.
>>
>> That requires individuals who are all three, mathematician, physicist,
>> and philosopher. The reject any one of those disciplines, as you seem to
>> reject mathematics, will leave you unequipped to deal with the
>> fundamental issues facing physics.
>
>You do me an injustice; all my degrees are in physics from a most
>reputable English university; I suspect, Charles, that all of yours
>were all in mathematics.

Indeed. Thus I feel better qualified than you to say what mathematics
is, and what mathematicians are likely to think.

> Incidentally, I would agree with your
>requirements but would totally reverse the order of their importance.

I do not put essentials into order of importance.

>I am not holding my breath waiting for the 'fundamental issues' to be
>solved by any mathematician (including all those string theorists).
>

I do not regard string theorists as mathematicians, nor even physicists
or philosophers, since their subject is now so cut off from its roots
that I find it impossible to say what it is.

maxwell

unread,
Sep 9, 2008, 1:16:28 PM9/9/08
to
On Sep 9, 1:55 am, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
> Thus spake maxwell <s...@shaw.ca>
> > >>On Sep 7, 2:05 am, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
> >> Thus spake maxwell <s...@shaw.ca>
> > >> >On Sep 6, 1:29 pm, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
>
> >The real breakthroughs in physics have always been conceptual.
>
> I don't deny it. Mathematics is the study of concepts.

Agreed, creative mathematicians, philosophers, etc are all original
imagineers but philosophers try to ground their concepts in reality -
mathematicians are free to let their ideas float off into eternity, as
we've seen in physics this last 100 years.

> >Maxwell was quite 'sloppy' in his math, Heaviside ignored his academic
> >critics & invented operator calculus, the delta function & vectors
> >(not bad, for an auto-didact)
>
> Not bad, but the delta function is usually credited to Dirac.
>

True, but history doesn't always get it right. Dirac (first trained
in Bristol as an electrical engineer) actually credits the
'derivative' of the step function to Heaviside (another EE, who was
quite happy using pulses). Lorentz was notorious for taking ideas
from others without due creditation (e.g. the 'Lorentz' gauge invented
in 1867 by Ludwig Valentin Lorenz not Hendrik Antoon; the 'Lorentz'
transform, first pioneered by Voigt, improved by Heaviside & completed
in 1901 by Larmor).

> >& Einstein was famous for his concepts
> >not his math.
>
> Einstein was much underrated as a mathematician. He made real
> contributions.
>

I'm not aware of any (please inform us), most of his physics used
rather trivial math (when he wasn't borrowing tensor calculus).

> >'Proper standards' (in math) don't seem to have
> >contributed anything to the progress of physics in the past.
>
> The standards of mathematics only need to be sufficient for the problem
> in hand. QED is the first subject in physics in which divergences have
> played an important role. The response of physics has been to continue
> to ignore proper mathematical treatment of divergence, and to base
> further theory on the errors in the sloppy treatment.
>

The divergences in QED are the inevitable result of using calculus
throughout space including infinitely small separations between
interacting 'fields' (Dyson). As Dirac finally admitted, this lousy
math is an indication of a wrong theory. He wished he had never
started this whole rotten affair. Like Einstein, he died a very
frustrated man; both victims of obsessing on 'beautiful' (but wrong)
mathematics.

> >> > In my view, this is
> >> >because, like Jay, I see theoretical physics today almost totally
> >> >hijacked by the mathematicians.
>
> >> Not true. The standards of mathematics to which they adhere are so poor
> >> that very few mathematicians are able to stick an undergraduate physics
> >> course.
>

> >Your implied approach, Charles would rapidly empty out the  physics


> >departments of all undergraduate students, leaving even more seats for
> >kids with only an aptitude for math.
>
> Not the physics departments, but I would make theoretical physics a
> subject in which mathematical training is a prerequisite, and, instead
> of teaching undergraduates the "shut up and calculate" interpretation,
> telling them (as I was told) that if you try to think about why the laws
> of quantum theory obtain, I would encourage mathematicians who want to
> think about the whys of quantum theory rather than its application.
>

Almost fully agree on this one, except I wouldn't just be recruiting
kids with a math aptitude - I would seek out those with a real
physical intuition (more women) - like engineers and technologists
(the guys who really transform the world!) & don't over-expose them to
mathematics, it will surely stunt their imaginations.

> > One can sympathize with Alfred
> >Nobel who refused to fund any prize for mathematics (although his
> >wishes have been subverted by the 'theoretical physicists') as he must
> >anticipated their lack of contributions 'to the benefit of mankind'.
>
> Did Newton, Einstein, Maxwell, Heaviside make no contribution?
>

Actually no; not for improving the lives of mankind, except for
Heaviside who proposed using the upper atmosphere for 'bending' radio
waves around the Earth: the technique needed for long-range wireless
communications. But then the dear academics refused to nominate him
for the Nobel in physics : "I mean, the fellow never even got a
degree, what would people think?".

> >> > These individuals already have a
> >> >philosophy (Plato's Pythagoreanism) and do not wish to defend it.
> >> >Just like the Soviets (or the Catholics in the Middle Ages), it is
> >> >much simpler to silence one's critics than to defend one's own
> >> >position (the role of today's professional journal referees -
> >> >hopefully, not that of Google newsgroup moderators!)
> >> >You appear to suggest that the mathematicians in the physics
> >> >departments are not up to the standard of those left in the math
> >> >departments & if only these 'purists' would deign to do some physics
> >> >then the problems would disappear.  Quite the contrary, this would
> >> >complete the hijacking of physics - these pure mathematicians have no
> >> >physical intuition whatsoever.
>
> >> It is necessary to distinguish "physical intuition" from unjustified
> >> metaphysical assumption.
>
> >Interesting?  How would you distinguish these?  Newton's gravity,
> >Maxwell's aether & Einstein's photons were all first 100% metaphysical
> >concepts.
>
> Newton made no metaphysical assumption "I frame no hypotheses".
>

Newton was not prepared to suggest any new ENTITY as the substance of
gravity; a very worthy approach (he just proposed a new universal
PROPERTY of matter). This conservative approach (Bill Ockham's) is to
be distinguished from the present penchant for inventing unobservable
'elementary particles' (e.g. quarks and 'strings') as new entities to
'explain' the world. I had hoped that we had learned Newton's lesson:
the world is not like chocolate cake but old (Greek) habits die hard.

> >> >The only good outcome is that it would
> >> >decelerate the progress of physics more rapidly to zero, so that they
> >> >could all get turfed out and we could get back to doing physics like
> >> >the giants of the 19th century.
>
> >> That requires individuals who are all three, mathematician, physicist,
> >> and philosopher. The reject any one of those disciplines, as you seem to
> >> reject mathematics, will leave you unequipped to deal with the
> >> fundamental issues facing physics.
>
> >You do me an injustice; all my degrees are in physics from a most
> >reputable English university; I suspect, Charles, that all of yours

> >were in mathematics.


>
> Indeed. Thus I feel better qualified than you to say what mathematics
> is, and what mathematicians are likely to think.
>

Too true, Charles, too true. In this area I grant you exclusive
domain.

> > Incidentally, I would agree with your
> >requirements but would totally reverse the order of their importance.
>
> I do not put essentials into order of importance.
>

The essence of 'quality' is the ordering of choices. Selecting new
physics undergraduates forces one to weigh varying personal strengths
differently. Unfortunately, math is easier to teach (deductive) and
far easier to examine (correct answers) so that selecting on math
scores alone becomes much more 'objective'.

> >I am not holding my breath waiting for the 'fundamental issues' to be
> >solved by any mathematician (including all those string theorists).
>
> I do not regard string theorists as mathematicians, nor even physicists
> or philosophers, since their subject is now so cut off from its roots
> that I find it impossible to say what it is.
>

On this last point we can agree 100%.

Well, Charles, after this 'minor' response I'm goint to call it a day
on this one. I've certainly enjoyed jousting with you on this topic
(one of my personal bugaboos) but I have more work to do (& time
really is of the essence). I'm sure you will (as moderator) have the
final say.
Good hunting, 'maxwell'.

Oh No

unread,
Sep 9, 2008, 2:07:15 PM9/9/08
to
Thus spake maxwell <sp...@shaw.ca>

>On Sep 9, 1:55 am, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
>> Thus spake maxwell <s...@shaw.ca>
>> > >>On Sep 7, 2:05 am, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
>> >> Thus spake maxwell <s...@shaw.ca>
>> > >> >On Sep 6, 1:29 pm, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
>>
>> >The real breakthroughs in physics have always been conceptual.
>>
>> I don't deny it. Mathematics is the study of concepts.
>
>Agreed, creative mathematicians, philosophers, etc are all original
>imagineers but philosophers try to ground their concepts in reality -
>mathematicians are free to let their ideas float off into eternity, as
>we've seen in physics this last 100 years.

I think we should recognise that the problems started with the divorce
of maths from physics, and really post war not 100 yrs, though the seeds
were sewn earlier, with the failure of interpretations of quantum theory
and the rise of quantum field theory.


>
>> >Maxwell was quite 'sloppy' in his math, Heaviside ignored his academic
>> >critics & invented operator calculus, the delta function & vectors
>> >(not bad, for an auto-didact)
>>
>> Not bad, but the delta function is usually credited to Dirac.
>>
>True, but history doesn't always get it right. Dirac (first trained
>in Bristol as an electrical engineer) actually credits the
>'derivative' of the step function to Heaviside (another EE, who was
>quite happy using pulses). Lorentz was notorious for taking ideas
>from others without due creditation (e.g. the 'Lorentz' gauge invented
>in 1867 by Ludwig Valentin Lorenz not Hendrik Antoon; the 'Lorentz'
>transform, first pioneered by Voigt, improved by Heaviside & completed
>in 1901 by Larmor).

It is the Lorenz gauge, and only mispelled and miscreditted by those who
don't know better.

>> >& Einstein was famous for his concepts
>> >not his math.
>>
>> Einstein was much underrated as a mathematician. He made real
>> contributions.
>>
>I'm not aware of any (please inform us), most of his physics used
>rather trivial math (when he wasn't borrowing tensor calculus).

Do not underestimate the worth of the summation convention, a simple
thing perhaps, but isn't it a measure of genius to notice something
simple that everyone else overlooks. Also, he discovered absolute
parallelism independently of Cartan, known as the best geometer in
Europe, and is one of only a few relativists to pay heed to
inconsistency between gr and cem.


>
>> >'Proper standards' (in math) don't seem to have
>> >contributed anything to the progress of physics in the past.
>>
>> The standards of mathematics only need to be sufficient for the problem
>> in hand. QED is the first subject in physics in which divergences have
>> played an important role. The response of physics has been to continue
>> to ignore proper mathematical treatment of divergence, and to base
>> further theory on the errors in the sloppy treatment.
>>
>The divergences in QED are the inevitable result of using calculus
>throughout space including infinitely small separations between
>interacting 'fields' (Dyson).

True. They can be fixed by removing these infinitely small separations
from the theory. This is necessary, on physical grounds, to a theory of
particle interactions, which is as I have described on my website. It is
also necessary on mathematical grounds, else the theory is not defined.
If they actually did take a mathematical approach, the divergences would
not be allowed.

>As Dirac finally admitted, this lousy
>math is an indication of a wrong theory. He wished he had never
>started this whole rotten affair. Like Einstein, he died a very
>frustrated man; both victims of obsessing on 'beautiful' (but wrong)
>mathematics.

Yeah, but the theory is only a little bit wrong. This is the problem
with physicists thinking the underlying entities are fields, not
particles. That is in turn rooted in philosophical and interpretational
issues which they refuse to address.

>> >> > In my view, this is
>> >> >because, like Jay, I see theoretical physics today almost totally
>> >> >hijacked by the mathematicians.
>>
>> >> Not true. The standards of mathematics to which they adhere are so poor
>> >> that very few mathematicians are able to stick an undergraduate physics
>> >> course.
>>
>> >Your implied approach, Charles would rapidly empty out the  physics
>> >departments of all undergraduate students, leaving even more seats for
>> >kids with only an aptitude for math.
>>
>> Not the physics departments, but I would make theoretical physics a
>> subject in which mathematical training is a prerequisite, and, instead
>> of teaching undergraduates the "shut up and calculate" interpretation,
>> telling them (as I was told) that if you try to think about why the laws
>> of quantum theory obtain,

sorry, I lost a phrase. We were told that if you try to think about why
the laws of quantum theory obtain, you will fail your exams. I was
sufficiently horrified that I left the course.

>>I would encourage mathematicians who want to
>> think about the whys of quantum theory rather than its application.
>>
>Almost fully agree on this one, except I wouldn't just be recruiting
>kids with a math aptitude - I would seek out those with a real
>physical intuition (more women) - like engineers and technologists
>(the guys who really transform the world!) & don't over-expose them to
>mathematics, it will surely stunt their imaginations.

No. The mathematical training is one of rigorous thinking, and is
necessary.


>
>> > One can sympathize with Alfred
>> >Nobel who refused to fund any prize for mathematics (although his
>> >wishes have been subverted by the 'theoretical physicists') as he must
>> >anticipated their lack of contributions 'to the benefit of mankind'.
>>
>> Did Newton, Einstein, Maxwell, Heaviside make no contribution?
>>
>Actually no; not for improving the lives of mankind, except for
>Heaviside who proposed using the upper atmosphere for 'bending' radio
>waves around the Earth: the technique needed for long-range wireless
>communications.

I don't believe in the industrial revolution without Newton, or TV
without Maxwell.

>> > Incidentally, I would agree with your
>> >requirements but would totally reverse the order of their importance.
>>
>> I do not put essentials into order of importance.
>>
>The essence of 'quality' is the ordering of choices. Selecting new
>physics undergraduates forces one to weigh varying personal strengths
>differently. Unfortunately, math is easier to teach (deductive) and
>far easier to examine (correct answers) so that selecting on math
>scores alone becomes much more 'objective'.

Research maths is another matter.

JimJast

unread,
Sep 9, 2008, 10:28:12 PM9/9/08
to
On 7 Wrz, 11:11, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
> The concept of dark energy does not make Einstein's gravitation invalid.
> It is just another word for Einstein's cosmological constant. The modern
> concordance model is a solution of Einstein's field equation, i.e. it is
> entirely within Einstein's theory of gravitation. It has flat space, but
> it does not have flat spacetime.
Unfortunately flat space is outside Einstein's theory of gravitation.
The theory of gravitation with flat space is called "Newton's theory"
and it happens to be a wrong theory (inconsistent with observations).

JimJast

unread,
Sep 9, 2008, 10:29:14 PM9/9/08
to
On 7 Wrz, 11:11, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
> I cannot say what your professor is teaching, [...]
The professor is teaching the same thing that you say below:

> What we may not do is add the energy at one part of space with the
> energy at another, because energy is a component of a vector and there
> is no means to add vectors defined at different places. Hence, there is
> no concept of total global energy in gtr.
..., which is consistent with a false idea that 4-vectors can't be
conserved in gtr, while they can't be conserved only in curved
spacetime. If our spacetme happens to be flat (as the calculations of
redshift in stationary space suggest) then there is also global
conservation of energy in gtr (contrary to your statement). And there
is no reason to assume that spacetime isn't flat if rather simple
calculations show it. Why would we prefer curved spacetime to global
conservation of energy? It doesn't seem to be the choice of physicists.

Oh No

unread,
Sep 10, 2008, 3:59:37 AM9/10/08
to
Thus spake JimJast <jim_jas...@yahoo.com>
See http://www.teleconnection.info/rqg/LargeScaleStructure for an
overview of the possibilities for Friedmann cosmologies (solutions of
Einstein's field equation). We can have flat space (in global
approximation) but not flat spacetime.

Oh No

unread,
Sep 10, 2008, 4:00:43 AM9/10/08
to
Thus spake JimJast <jim_jas...@yahoo.com>

>On 7 Wrz, 11:11, Oh No <N...@charlesfrancis.wanadoo.co.uk> wrote:
>> I cannot say what your professor is teaching, [...]
>The professor is teaching the same thing that you say below:
>> What we may not do is add the energy at one part of space with the
>> energy at another, because energy is a component of a vector and there
>> is no means to add vectors defined at different places. Hence, there is
>> no concept of total global energy in gtr.
> ..., which is consistent with a false idea that 4-vectors can't be
>conserved in gtr, while they can't be conserved only in curved
>spacetime.

No it is not. Study the definition of vectors in gtr.

>If our spacetme happens to be flat

It doesn't

> (as the calculations of
>redshift in stationary space suggest)

No they do not. The observations suggest flat space, not flat spacetime.

>then there is also global
>conservation of energy in gtr (contrary to your statement).

Study the definitions. What you say does not even make sense.

>And there
>is no reason to assume that spacetime isn't flat if rather simple
>calculations show it. Why would we prefer curved spacetime to global
>conservation of energy? It doesn't seem to be the choice of physicists.
>

See http://www.teleconnection.info/rqg/TheEquivalencePrinciple for a
description of how Einstein realised that gravity is a manifestation of
curved spacetime.

Peter

unread,
Sep 10, 2008, 5:08:03 PM9/10/08
to
>>Thus spake maxwell <sp...@shaw.ca>

> >> >The real breakthroughs in physics have always been conceptual.

> >> I don't deny it.

I agree, too

> >> >Mathematics is the study of concepts.

an interesting definition ;-)


> >Agreed, creative mathematicians, philosophers, etc are all original
> >imagineers but philosophers try to ground their concepts in reality -
> >mathematicians are free to let their ideas float off into eternity, as
> >we've seen in physics this last 100 years.

> I think we should recognise that the problems started with the divorce
> of maths from physics, and really post war not 100 yrs, though the seeds
> were sewn earlier, with the failure of interpretations of quantum theory
> and the rise of quantum field theory.

I agree that this issue should be considered in a more differentiate manner


> >> >Maxwell was quite 'sloppy' in his math, Heaviside ignored his academic
> >> >critics & invented operator calculus, the delta function & vectors
> >> >(not bad, for an auto-didact)

> >> Not bad, but the delta function is usually credited to Dirac.

> >True, but history doesn't always get it right. Dirac (first trained
> >in Bristol as an electrical engineer) actually credits the
> >'derivative' of the step function to Heaviside (another EE, who was
> >quite happy using pulses). Lorentz was notorious for taking ideas
> >from others without due creditation (e.g. the 'Lorentz' gauge invented
> >in 1867 by Ludwig Valentin Lorenz not Hendrik Antoon; the 'Lorentz'
> >transform, first pioneered by Voigt, improved by Heaviside & completed
> >in 1901 by Larmor).

indeed, 'Heaviside's step function' is commonly accepted - 'history' is
written by (wo)men => often not fair

> It is the Lorenz gauge, and only mispelled and miscreditted by those who
> don't know better.

this statement is a logical triviality on the one hand and wrong on the other
hand that accounts for the possible badness of human characters

most authors copied the error from Whittaker => why he took it wrong?


> >> >& Einstein was famous for his concepts not his math.

> >> Einstein was much underrated as a mathematician. He made real
> >> contributions.

> >I'm not aware of any (please inform us), most of his physics used
> >rather trivial math (when he wasn't borrowing tensor calculus).

> Do not underestimate the worth of the summation convention, a simple
> thing perhaps, but isn't it a measure of genius to notice something
> simple that everyone else overlooks.

This depends on the degree of the vector calculus accepted those days -
Anyway, he is known to exhibit certain difficulties with recognizing the
superiorities of others

> Also, he discovered absolute
> parallelism independently of Cartan, known as the best geometer in
> Europe,

who was superior outside Europe?

> and is one of only a few relativists to pay heed to
> inconsistency between gr and cem.

why "few", isn't this inconsistency trivial?


> >> >'Proper standards' (in math) don't seem to have
> >> >contributed anything to the progress of physics in the past.

> >> The standards of mathematics only need to be sufficient for the problem
> >> in hand. QED is the first subject in physics in which divergences have
> >> played an important role.

this seems to ignore point charges in CEM

> >> The response of physics has been to continue
> >> to ignore proper mathematical treatment of divergence, and to base
> >> further theory on the errors in the sloppy treatment.

what about Scharf's results?

> >The divergences in QED are the inevitable result of using calculus
> >throughout space including infinitely small separations between
> >interacting 'fields' (Dyson).

a typical answer by someone who has characterized themselves as "someone who
has just invented tricks"

this is not to say that the Dyson equation ist not a most powerfull equation
of mathematical physics!


> True. They can be fixed by removing these infinitely small separations
> from the theory. This is necessary, on physical grounds, to a theory of
> particle interactions, which is as I have described on my website. It is
> also necessary on mathematical grounds, else the theory is not defined.
> If they actually did take a mathematical approach, the divergences would
> not be allowed.

Looking forward to see this on your website :-)


> >As Dirac finally admitted, this lousy
> >math is an indication of a wrong theory. He wished he had never
> >started this whole rotten affair. Like Einstein, he died a very
> >frustrated man; both victims of obsessing on 'beautiful' (but wrong)
> >mathematics.

'beautiful' is independent of correct/wrong


> Yeah, but the theory is only a little bit wrong. This is the problem
> with physicists thinking the underlying entities are fields, not
> particles. That is in turn rooted in philosophical and interpretational
> issues which they refuse to address.

But those ideas of 'non-particlecists' are supported by the failures of the
other fractions

indeed

> >> > One can sympathize with Alfred
> >> >Nobel who refused to fund any prize for mathematics (although his
> >> >wishes have been subverted by the 'theoretical physicists') as he must
> >> >anticipated their lack of contributions 'to the benefit of mankind'.
> >>
> >> Did Newton, Einstein, Maxwell, Heaviside make no contribution?
> >>
> >Actually no; not for improving the lives of mankind, except for
> >Heaviside who proposed using the upper atmosphere for 'bending' radio
> >waves around the Earth: the technique needed for long-range wireless
> >communications.
>
> I don't believe in the industrial revolution without Newton, or TV
> without Maxwell.

exactly


Best wishes,
Peter


PS: One (including me) should more often agree that one not agrees ;-)

Oh No

unread,
Sep 11, 2008, 7:16:45 AM9/11/08
to
Thus spake Peter <end...@dekasges.de>

>>>Thus spake maxwell <sp...@shaw.ca>
>
>> >> >The real breakthroughs in physics have always been conceptual.
>
>> >> I don't deny it.
>
>I agree, too
>
>> >> >Mathematics is the study of concepts.
>
>an interesting definition ;-)

I should have said consistent concepts.

>> >> >& Einstein was famous for his concepts not his math.

By my above definition, the same thing.


>
>> >> Einstein was much underrated as a mathematician. He made real
>> >> contributions.
>
>> >I'm not aware of any (please inform us), most of his physics used
>> >rather trivial math (when he wasn't borrowing tensor calculus).
>
>> Do not underestimate the worth of the summation convention, a simple
>> thing perhaps, but isn't it a measure of genius to notice something
>> simple that everyone else overlooks.
>
>This depends on the degree of the vector calculus accepted those days -

I think only really studied and developed by top mathematicians.


>
>> Also, he discovered absolute
>> parallelism independently of Cartan, known as the best geometer in
>> Europe,
>
>who was superior outside Europe?

was there an "outside Europe''?


>
>> and is one of only a few relativists to pay heed to
>> inconsistency between gr and cem.
>
>why "few", isn't this inconsistency trivial?

I don't think so. It is ignored in textbooks, and my experience is that
most do not know of it.

>> >> >'Proper standards' (in math) don't seem to have
>> >> >contributed anything to the progress of physics in the past.
>
>> >> The standards of mathematics only need to be sufficient for the problem
>> >> in hand. QED is the first subject in physics in which divergences have
>> >> played an important role.
>
>this seems to ignore point charges in CEM

I think these were dealt with by assuming that point charges are an
idealisation, not realised in practice. I.e. a recognition that CEM did
not extend to understanding the nature of particles.


>
>> >> The response of physics has been to continue
>> >> to ignore proper mathematical treatment of divergence, and to base
>> >> further theory on the errors in the sloppy treatment.
>
>what about Scharf's results?

The exception that proves the rule. (credit should be to Epstein &
Glaser, btw, not the writer of the textbook). Scharf's treatment is
rigorous, but largely ignored. The implication is that renormalisation
is ill conceived, hence that every thing beyond qed is misguided,
including Higg's, QCD, strings etc.


>
>> >The divergences in QED are the inevitable result of using calculus
>> >throughout space including infinitely small separations between
>> >interacting 'fields' (Dyson).
>

>> True. They can be fixed by removing these infinitely small separations
>> from the theory. This is necessary, on physical grounds, to a theory of
>> particle interactions, which is as I have described on my website. It is
>> also necessary on mathematical grounds, else the theory is not defined.
>> If they actually did take a mathematical approach, the divergences would
>> not be allowed.
>
>Looking forward to see this on your website :-)

It is there (with references to Scharf, btw)

>> >As Dirac finally admitted, this lousy
>> >math is an indication of a wrong theory. He wished he had never
>> >started this whole rotten affair. Like Einstein, he died a very
>> >frustrated man; both victims of obsessing on 'beautiful' (but wrong)
>> >mathematics.
>
>'beautiful' is independent of correct/wrong

Not entirely. It is strongly correlated.

>> Yeah, but the theory is only a little bit wrong. This is the problem
>> with physicists thinking the underlying entities are fields, not
>> particles. That is in turn rooted in philosophical and interpretational
>> issues which they refuse to address.
>
>But those ideas of 'non-particlecists' are supported by the failures of the
>other fractions

No. Confusing an issue to the point where it can no longer be understood
is not the same thing as resolving it. Nor is dismissing it from
discussion. One could only say this if a) the failure was shown to be
due to a fundamental problem such that it could not be solved, as
distinct from simply a human failure to solve it, and b) if the
alternative ideas actually presented a resolution.

glird

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Oct 4, 2008, 9:08:48 PM10/4/08
to
On Sep 6, 4:29 pm, Oh No wrote:
> Thus spake Jay R. Yablon:

>
<< I did want to bring forth a recent "behind the scenes" discussion
between one individual poster, and the moderators.  That individual
made the statement, which which I could not agree more, that:
The "corruption of physics by mathematicians (not mathematics) has

been burgeoning for over 100 years with today's dismal lack of
progress a predictable result."
I could not agree more. >>

< I cannot agree at all. ... Physicists, not mathematicians, impose
the philosophy that the physics consists only of experimental
predictions, not the validity of the arguments or of the assumptions.
>
...


<< I am often appalled a) not only at the complete lack of connection
between much of what I read in the physics literature and any sort of

direct intuitive feeling about nature, and even more so by, b) the


complete willingness on the part of most participants to accept this
state of affairs without so much as a raised eyebrow. >>

< Indeed, but the blame lies with the philosophies of physics, not
with mathematicians.
Charles Francis >

The Lorentz Transformations are a group of four equations which
convert co-ordinates x, y, z and t that a system plots for a given
event into those a differently moving system would plot for that same
event. They rest on and impose the requirements that lengths and clock-
rates of a moving system physically deform as a function of their
velocity, that clocks of all systems are set to measure the velocity
of light as a constant in any and all directions, and that the
direction of v is on the coinciding X axes of the two systems. How,
then, do you reconcile the philosophies of present physicists with the
following bit from another thread, which is semantically accurate
insofar as mathematics is concerned?
--------

The above transformations are just one special type of Lorentz
transformations (LTs). To be more precise we consider the proper
orthochronous LTs, which in their whole define a group which is
mathematically known as SO(1,3)^\uparrow. This group is equivalent to
the group of real 4x4-matrices with determinant 1 which leave the
Minkowski bilinear form x_mu y^mu=x^0 y^0-\vec{x} \vec{y} invariant
and do not change the sign of the time components. It's the component
(invariant subgroup) of the full Lorentz group O(1,3) which is
connected continuously to the identity.
What you've written down are the so called "rotation free" Lorentz
transformations L(\vec{v}). These matrices describe the transformation
of space-time components from one inertial frame of reference to
another which moves with relative velocity \vec{v} to the first frame,
without rotating the spatial axes of these to frames. These boosts are
characterized as those SO(1,3)^{\uparrow}
matrices which have two space-like eigenvectors with eigenvalue 1.
It is (physically!) important to note that these transformations do
not build a subgroup, i.e., the composition of two boosts in different
directions gives not another such rotation-free boost but a boost
followed by a rotation. This is important insofar as it, e.g., gives
the answer, why the gyrofactor of the electron is 2 and not 1
as one might guess from a naive non-relativistic argument (Thomas
precession).
If I remember right, the rest of the SO(1,3)^\uparrow is
characterized by the cases that they have a time-like eigenvector with
eigenvalue 1. Then they necessarily also have a space-like eigenvector
with eigenvalue 1 and describe a rotation. Finally there is the case
of light-like eigenvectors (the so called "null rotations") which play
an
important role in the representation theory of the Poincare group for
massless particles in QFT.
Physically important is also that the Lorentz group can be generated
by the 6 one-parameter subgroups defined by rotation-free boosts in x,
y, z direction, each of which build a one-parameter group, were the
natural parameter is the rapidity, related to the velocity by v=c tanh
\eta, and the rotations around the three spatial axes of this
reference.

Hendrik van Hees
--------

I know you understand and agree with that, Charles, and so do I.
But WHAT does it mean insofar as PHYSICS is concerned? In what way
does it explain or help us understand the structure or mechanism of
anything real in the universe?

maxwell

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Oct 6, 2008, 12:48:40 PM10/6/08
to

As the 'hidden poster' with a deeply skeptical view of the pitiful
contributions of modern mathematicians to physics (read: self-styled,
'theoretical physicists'), I can only concur. Just what does all this
mathematical gobbledy-gook have to do with physics? Gentlemen, back
to reality - please!

Message has been deleted

Oh No

unread,
Oct 7, 2008, 8:16:04 AM10/7/08
to

> to reality - please!- Hide quoted text -
>
This is about reality. If you define a coordinate system, with time
and space coordinates, with yourself at the origin, and the x axis
pointing dead ahead, then turn through an angle of, say 45deg and
define a new coordinate system, then clearly there is a direct
correspondence between the coordinates of each point in your old
coordinates and your new one. If you move forward at a constant speed,
then do the same thing again to produce a third coordinate system,
there is again a direct correspondence between each of the first two
systems and third. All the Lorentz transformation does is describe
these (and similar) correspondences.

maxwell

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Oct 7, 2008, 6:17:13 PM10/7/08
to

Really, Charles? Your example of standard Cartesian axes is OK as
long as it stays within the macro realm of common-sense but the
objection was to the high-falutin' math and the unreality of the
'Lorentz' (Larmor) transformation.
The real questions about co-ordinate systems are philosophical, not
the simplistic algebra; IOW the nature (& technologies) of the
underlying mapping between the math and the real world, such as: axes
relative to what? how straight lines lines defined? or right-angles?
or units of length? or speed? etc. Answers to these questions define
a physical theory, not an abstract conceptual scheme.


======================================= MODERATOR'S COMMENT:
It would be useful to discuss Helmholtz's thoughts about the foundations of geometry in a separate thread

Cl.Massé

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Oct 8, 2008, 11:00:31 AM10/8/08
to
<mikek...@sirus.com> a écrit dans le message de
news:008f4dc2-6215-4971...@25g2000hsk.googlegroups.com...

> It is presumptuous to think that we can understand reality only from
> our limited observation of it. Need I remind you of Dark Matter, Dark
> Energy, Quantum Gravity, etc.

We don't know whether they exist until observation validates the theory
about them.

> It may be that we need observation to
> confirm a theory, but I don't think we're going to understand reality
> from finding equations for curves that fit the data. What we need is
> to understand the basics of what is logical in the universe.

If the Universe is logical. Evolution hasn't necessarily given us the
ultimate logics. It is even likely that it gave us only the one necessary
for classical physics. It is presumptuous to think that mathematics, which
is human, will lead us to truth.

> It is
> reason alone that provides true understanding and not the contrived
> analogies of this or that particle or field or whatever.

I would say, creativity, be it mathematical or not.

> Since that
> only begs the question as to where this or that particle came from,
> such questions will never end until we trace reality back to the
> reasoning process itself.

It is not because we have a mathematical theory about the particles that
they exist as such. The limit is here, only creativity allows us to go
beyond it. The reasoning process is the one that lead us to the particles,
it won't be useful for that purpose.

> If physics can be traced back to precepts of
> logic alone, then we will no longer be asking where this thing came
> from. We'll be left to ask about where logic came from to being with
> (why are proposition either true or false, etc.) Or we'll have to be
> content that a full explaination has been given - given in terms of
> logic, unless you want to question reason itself, good luck.

That is a Clintonesque argument.

> To that end, I've been able to derive quantum mechanics starting from
> reason alone. Just by assuming all facts coexist in conjunction so
> that none contradicts the other, I've been able to derive the Feynman
> Path integral of Quantum mechanics. By labeling different propositions
> with different numbers and assuming a "time" coordinate carries us
> through steps from premise to conclusion, the path integral for a free
> particle is realized. Though not complete, this certainly give
> confidence that this is the right path to pursue.

Such derivations are simply trickery. The assumptions you start from are
mainly hidden, and has been inspired by observation. For instance, Nature
isn't necessarily probabilistic, there isn't necessarily something like time
and so on. And above all, when a new theory is developed, all your
reasoning will be false, and someone else will find another one.

--
~~~~ clmasse on free F-country
Liberty, Equality, Profitability.

Mike

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Oct 8, 2008, 10:47:36 PM10/8/08
to
On Oct 8, 11:00 am, "Cl\.Massé" <a...@c.com> wrote:
> <mikekoki...@sirus.com> a écrit dans le message denews:008f4dc2-6215-4971...@25g2000hsk.googlegroups.com...

> > It may be that we need observation to
> > confirm a theory, but I don't think we're going to understand reality
> > from finding equations for curves that fit the data. What we need is
> > to understand the basics of what is logical in the universe.
>
> If the Universe is logical.  Evolution hasn't necessarily given us the
> ultimate logics.  It is even likely that it gave us only the one necessary
> for classical physics.  It is presumptuous to think that mathematics, which
> is human, will lead us to truth.
>

Anything you might say (or theorize) can only leave me asking the
question of whether your statement is true or false, which is a matter
for logic to decide. Thus it is inescapable to require theory to
comply with logic. So the Theory of Everything must necessarily be
derivable from logic. For if a theory is not derived from logic, we
will never know it is the final theory. Since we cannot possibly
measure everything in the universe to prove that a theory describes
everything, there must be some other criterion to judge whether a
theory covers everything or not. But the decision process itself
(about anything including theory) is a process of logic.

Rich L.

unread,
Oct 9, 2008, 3:15:34 AM10/9/08
to
My two cents on this issue:

I consider math to be a tool with which we construct models of the
real world. Mathematics is an incredibly rich subject, with
mathematics that describe things that most likely don't exist (e.g. 57
dimensional spaces, spaces with a -1, -1, 1, 1 metric, etc.). Doing
math without testing it against reality is just as bad as trying to do
physics without math. I've always worked hard to relate the
mathematics to the physics, although the more advanced I've gotten in
physics the more difficult this has been.

I recall two clear experiences that confirmed for me the importance of
maintaining contact between the math and the physics. In one case an
undergraduate Electromagnetism professor was calculating the
scattering of light by a free charge. Because of an algebraic error
he came up with an expression that gave the polarization of the
scattered light as being in line with the poynting vector of the
incident wave, rather than perpendicular to it. Even when I pointed
out this unphysical result the professor maintained that I was wrong.
He had lost the connection between the math and the physics.

Another case was a classical mechanics class teaching variational
calculus. The simple problem of the shortest path between two points
on a sphere was being calculated. At one point an approximation was
made. If you related that approximation back to the original problem,
you were approximating the sphere to be a circular cylinder. While in
fact this approximation still gives a valid result (if the two points
are not too far away on the sphere), it should give one pause to
wonder exactly what problem was actually solved.

In the case of the Lorentz transformations, there is great difficulty
relating our ordinary experience with the implications of the Lorentz
transform. The discussion cited earlier I think is a very good
example. It is difficult enough to get our minds around length
contractions and time dilations. When you deal with a series of
boosts in different directions, and rotating frames, our physical
intuition fails us. The mathematics then is essential to appreciating
the more subtle implications of the physical theory. In this case it
yields an understanding of the Larmour precession and gyromagnetic
ratio of the electron. The mathematics is not nonsense in this case,
but it is very difficult to relate to the physical effects it
predicts. Part of the problem is jargon, and part is that there is
rarely an attempt to show the physical significance of the
mathematical ideas.

The problem is that mathematicians (and mathematical physicists) tend
to get wrapped up in the math and loose touch with the physics, like
my electromagnetism professor. On the other hand a physicist that
cannot work with the math, or worse is ignorant of the mathematical
theory, is likely to make equally absurd predictions. What is really
needed is a cultural (and educational) emphasis on always making the
connection between the two. This is what I see lacking in modern
physics. Of course the real difficulty is that the connection is
difficult to make. I have been working at it, off and on, for 30
years now, with not very spectacular results. What really bothers me
is that so many practicing physicists seem to have given up even
making the attempt. I've lost count of all the books on general
relativity I've read that start out with theorems about vectors,
covectors, formal definitions of metrics and 1forms, 2forms, etc.
etc. This mathematical theory is clearly all good stuff, but what is
missing is how to relate it to the physics. I got so frustrated with
this sort of thing during my first try at graduate school in the
1970's that I ended up dropping out. Based on the text books I've
seen since then I don't think the situation has changed that much. I
suspect that it would be much better if modern physics (I'm thinking
primarily of quantum mechanics and general relativity) would be taught
with alternating physical and mathematical arguments, so the student
could gradually develop a physical understanding about how all these
mathematical objects relate to the real world.

Rich L.

Ken S. Tucker

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Oct 9, 2008, 11:42:43 AM10/9/08
to
Hi Rich and Guys.
I think this is a three cent article :-).

Of course I agree.
I compare using math and physics to walking,
with one foot being math and the other physics.
Walking from A to B, using one leg is hopping,
you'll look a bit funny on the way to a grocery
store, and it's a definite liability in an ass-kickin'
contest, if you have only one leg.

In this article, (see the sample using Hi & Lois),
http://physics.trak4.com/MST_UFT.pdf
I tried to inject an ancedotal connection to relate
power to the metric. Did I succeed?

If so, I can suggest your 60 Watt light bulb is
emitting quantized power in the form of photons
and then generalize that power "W_00" is quantized.

The meaning of quantizing W_00 means the differential
d(W_00) =0 , since NO continous function of power is
possible, however power can vary incrementally so we
can use /\W_00 , (/\ is the finite increment Delta).

The next problem is the equation, /\g_00 = - /\W_00,
that requires the quantization of the metric g_00.
(that's why the article ends with a comma).

Sometimes producing (defining) a question is as
important as a solution.
For example, do we need a new calculus basing GR
entirely on increments, and dismiss the continuum?

I'm tending to think that way, especially in view of the
Quantum Theory, but with conditions.
For example consider velocity, dx/dt, it's quantized
only for light c=1=dx/dt locally.
So then the conditions of quantization (the use of the
increment) needs to be reasoned out logically.
Regards
Ken S. Tucker


======================================= MODERATOR'S COMMENT:
quantization (eg, energy of quantum oscillator) is quite different from discretization (eg, wavelengths of classical standing waves)

Mike

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Oct 9, 2008, 12:56:36 PM10/9/08
to
On Oct 9, 3:15 am, "Rich L." <ralivings...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:

> I suspect that it would be much better if modern physics (I'm thinking
> primarily of quantum mechanics and general relativity) would be taught
> with alternating physical and mathematical arguments, so the student
> could gradually develop a physical understanding about how all these
> mathematical objects relate to the real world.
>
> Rich L.

The problem is that physical descriptions are just analogies. And they
are only specific examples of generalities that we are trying to find.
We can't know where our analogies break down or how general our
descriptions are. So no wonder we are groping in the dark for ultimate
answers.

We of course have to check our math with measurements. But our best
intuition is that all facts are consistent with each other so one does
not prove the nonexistence of another. So if a theory can be developed
from this requirement of consistency, then no one should be able to
argue with it.


======================================= MODERATOR'S COMMENT:
(this moderator does not think that the comment refers to the quoted text, but others may say this differently)

Cl.Massé

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Oct 10, 2008, 3:08:08 PM10/10/08
to
>> If the Universe is logical. Evolution hasn't necessarily given us the
>> ultimate logics. It is even likely that it gave us only the one necessary
>> for classical physics. It is presumptuous to think that mathematics,
>> which is human, will lead us to truth.

"Mike" <mj...@sirus.com> a écrit dans le message de
news:1efcf822-6d21-419e...@z6g2000pre.googlegroups.com...

> Anything you might say (or theorize) can only leave me asking the
> question of whether your statement is true or false, which is a matter
> for logic to decide.

Logics need the truth values of other statements to decide. Those truth
values can only be brought by observation. And in turn, observation could
give inconsistent truth values.

> Thus it is inescapable to require theory to comply with logic. So the
> Theory of Everything must necessarily be derivable from logic.

Theory is different from reality. You don't know if there exist a theory of
everything consistent with observation.

Finally, what you are doing is only rearranging existing theories in a
palatable way, and more specifically, searching for a minimal set of
axioms. It may be your purpose or the one of mathematics, but it isn't the
purpose of research or physics.

maxwell

unread,
Oct 10, 2008, 3:08:08 PM10/10/08
to

Thinking in analogies & metaphors are some of our most powerful
conscious techniques for mapping the external world to our shared
inner world (see "Women, Fire & Dangerous Things" - Geo. Lakoff etc).
Our attention consciousness operates at the slowest level of
information processing (less than 10 bits per second, see "The User
Illusion" - Tor Norretranders). Anything that can link to our visual
system (like our pictorial imagination) can make use of the largest
sub-system in the mammalian brain. It is this appeal to visual
imagination that powered progress in theoretical physics prior to the
20th Century. Th recent attempts to replace these "mechanical models"
with linear (deductive) mathematical thinking has been a disaster for
physics with minimal progress & massive disagreements on the "meaning
of the symbols".

Rich L.

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Oct 10, 2008, 3:00:32 PM10/10/08