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Passions in Poetry

Of the sciences...

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since 08-07-2000
Posts 380
Bronx, NY

25 posted 09-08-2000 07:06 PM       View Profile for JnR4eva   Email JnR4eva   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JnR4eva

"Is it not true that hard sciences are just as soft as the soft sciences?At one time it was accepted that the sun revolved around the earth, that the earth was flat and that we were the only universe in existence."

trew thank you for stopping by and putting in ur two cents..  
now about this comment, u might be able to debate and argue for ur positon..but then again its all a matter of language...when we say 'soft' we mean in respect to the fact that it deals with interpretation and subjectivity...certainly u could not provide a universal truth as to why children start crying in the bank with their mothers...but it has been justified how those tears do come out of those child's eyes  
i understand very much that ur saying sciences undergo interpretations just as psychology...but scientific findings are based on what the world has provided for us...i may say that back in the day sciences weren't as rigid as they are today and that's why ur statement now holds true..but to say now that the derivative of velocity = acceleration is just one man's interpretation..well u better provide some strong evidence stating how so!

"The newest theory (law) in physics that is currently being dispelled is the speed of light.  Researches in the US have accelerated light up to 300x its believed set speed of 186, 000 miles per second.  This is achieved by directing the light through specially treated Caesium gas.  In following this new set standard, it appears that Einstein's theory of relativity is in jeopardy, due to it's assumption of light speed as a set standard."

thank you for this bit...certainly is something to look into.

"One place where you are quite wrong though jnR is in the "discovery of mathematics""

not a poet...ur absolutely wasn't discovered, though i wish not to excuse myself...i think i should be given a pardon b/c when i wrote up that reply i was VERY was invented...but it doesn't mean that it hasn't always existed with out or knowing..i believe you and Ron have discussed it and came to a conclusion which is pretty sound so no need for me to add on to what was already said  

"Then I would refer you to Einstein's book "Relativity: The Special And General Theory.""

At the time I am reading, or trying to finish, a book called the elegant universe by brain is about the superstring theory and it covers, in an undergraduate way lol, some of the basic principles of Quantum physics and theory of relativity and a whole slew of topics that the strong theory is trying to enmesh into one "one theory of a unified everything" but thank you for the recommendation.

"Mathematics has long been called the "queen of sciences" but mostly by mathematicians."

would physics be the king?? let me know lol

hello local rebel..
thank you for stopping by and giving us that explanation to HUP.. i can not say much about it b/c i am not learned in that field...but from my understanding physics is built on two being Quantum mechanics (the study of our world in its smallest of size) and the theory of relativity (the study of our world in the biggest of all sizes such as galaxies and such)...and though I know the two beliefs are incompatible however does the theory of relativity take into account this particle that has the possibility of being somewhere it isn't supposed to be?  Can it better explain why, or rather show how, this particle is where it is supposed to be as opposed to the HUP?

"In a universe of uncertainties ... therefore... I would postulate that the only 'hard' science is one that measures probabilities -- and that is Statistics -- an application of Math -- not Math itself..."

sorry im gonna have to go against this one..statistics is certainly beautiful and great but it does not do what physics does.  it doesn't do what math does..i mean lets just say this...u put ur trust into an apple, but not its core?  u put more trust into statistics but not the math that makes statistics what it is?  statistics will never fathom what physics has proven....i certainly understand where u were probably going with ur statement..but u seem to neglect  the fact that math and physics have approximations and likelihood's within their laws as well like (when calucating bounds of error, and probality theory)...not everything is an absolute number..the hypotenuse, of an isosceles triangle with legs 1, has the length of an infinite what to do?  well round off the number and u have urself the length...just like in physics when one tries to find tensions in pulling block A (lol sorry i had to incorporate my homework into this lol ) it is ideal to find a whole number..but approximations are just as good  

not a poet...
cool teacher.

[This message has been edited by JnR4eva (edited 09-08-2000).]
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US

26 posted 09-08-2000 09:18 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

The newest theory (law) in physics that is currently being dispelled is the speed of light.  Researches in the US have accelerated light up to 300x its believed set speed of 186, 000 miles per second.  This is achieved by directing the light through specially treated Caesium gas. In following this new set standard, it appears that Einstein's theory of relativity is in jeopardy, due to it's assumption of light speed as a set standard.

For those interested, here's the original article in Nature, a very prestigious science journal. The findings are, indeed, very important. But, sadly, the results were entirely blown out of proportion by the media. Hey, we all know the newspapers love snappy headlines.

The experiment involves sending a pulse of light through a chamber filled with a caesium vapor. Think about it. A pulse of light is not a simple object. It is not infinitely short in time, nor in space. The shape of the pulse is the critical part of the experiment. Any light pulse can be thought of as starting with an intensity smoothly rising from zero up to a maximum value and then dropping away again. When you tell me the "burst" of light exited before it had fully entered, you have to also tell me which part of the burst you were measuring. The leading edge? The peak? It makes a difference.

What essentially happens (some think) is that the leading edge is "rebuilt" into a burst of lesser light (dimmer) of exactly the same "shape." If you are measuring the peak of the burst entering, you seem to see the peak leaving more quickly than can be accounted for in relativistic terms. But, in reality, you are seeing the leading edge leave.

The really critical factor, however, is that no information can be transmitted in this manner. If you wish to actually transmit information, you need to measure more of the pulse. When you work out the details, it turns out that you need to measure enough of the pulse to bring the total transmission speed back down below the speed of light in a vacuum.

For a more balanced view of the experiment (something you won't find in many places), here's an article by Chris Colin at

I particularly liked your "bump into it" description. That makes more sense to the layman than the traditional "cannot observe without interference."

Einstein did not like quantum theory. One of his more famous quotations was, "I refuse to believe that God plays dice with the Universe." During the 1930's Einstein and Niels Bohr fought tooth and nail over the particulars. And of course, Einstein spent most of the next 25 years, until his death in 1955, trying to unseat quantum mechanics.

I mention this because the "cannot observe without interference" interpretation of HUP was Einstein's. He wanted very much to believe the consequences of HUP were simply a reflection of our own clumsiness. The standard interpretation of quantum physics, known as the Copenhagen Interpretation, was established largely through the efforts of Bohr, who argued that the fuzziness was an intrinsic feature of the quantum world, and that within the limits set by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle an electron itself does not "know" both where it is and where it is going.

(Incidentally, momentum and position are not the only complimentary properties that cannot be measured simultaneously. Spin, for example - or more correctly, angular momentum - can never be measured accurately in more than one axis.)

If you accept Einstein's interpretation, then HUP is simply a consequence of our own limitations. But if you accept the Copenhagen Interpretation, it goes a long way towards explaining some of the paradoxes of modern science. For example, in other threads, we've occasionally mentioned the fact that light (and we're discovering just about everything else, right up to molecules) seems to exist as both a wave and as particles. Some of its characteristics can only be explained as a wave function, others by assuming it is composed of particles. Einstein's own Nobel Prize, by the way, wasn't for Relativity, but rather for showing the particle nature of light (the photon). In one of the most ironic examples of wave-particle duality, the physicist J. J. Thomson received a Nobel Prize for discovering that the electron is a particle, while his son George received a Nobel Prize for proving that the electron is a wave.

This wave-particle duality is linked with the uncertainty principle. "Waviness" is a property associated with momentum - a typical wave is spread out, so it has no definite location in space, but it does have a direction in which it is going. By contrast, a particle can have a precisely defined position. Heisenberg found that the quantum equations imply a strict tradeoff between the two complementary properties. If the position of a quantum entity is precisely defined (for example, when it hits a detector screen), its waviness is suppressed; but if it is allowed to give full expression to its wave nature, the particle aspect vanishes.

Sound confusing? Think of it this way, then. Photons and electrons travel through space as particles. Given their direction, we cannot then tell exactly where they are. But we can predict approximately where they will be through probabilities. And if you graph those probabilities? By golly, it looks just like a wave!  

Not A Poet
Member Elite
since 11-03-1999
Posts 4427
Oklahoma, USA

27 posted 09-11-2000 11:56 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet


Excellent explanation. You mentioned a few things in there which I either hadn't heard or had forgotten, or both. I particularly appreciated your debunking of the media's hyping of the recent "faster than a speeding photon" experiment. In fact, I had just captured the same quote you did to write my own answer. But I find that I like yours better. but there is one thing which hasn't been mentioned yet, and it is VERY IMPORTANT. Einstein's theory of relativity states that the fixed speed of light IN A VACUUM is 3x10^8 meter/sec. There is nothing in that statement which would preclude light from traveling faster in some specially prepared medium. However, your further discussion IMO explains why the experiment may not mean anything at all. I say that because it exactly matches my thinking on the subject.

Also, you are quite right in stating that Einstein didn't like the concept of quantum theory and spent much of his life trying to disprove it. Personally, I'm not sure that he didn't believe it so much as he wanted a more logical explanation or theory. It is interesting though that one of the important tools of quantum mechanics is Bose-Einstein statistics, although I cannot remember what is its purpose (attribute that to brain atrophy and a long time since used I'm afraid).

So, it looks like you saved me not only a bunch of writing but also a bunch of thinking which would have gone into that writing.


Never express yourself more clearly than you can think - Niels Bohr
Local Rebel
Member Ascendant
since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia

28 posted 09-11-2000 09:04 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

and having said all that Ron... I'm a subscriber to String Theory myself... best I've yet seen for GUT...thanks for your post man..

no time to write more right now... sorry...
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