The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: renormalization  (Read 2177 times)

Offline wolram

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 103
    • View Profile
renormalization
« on: 20/02/2006 18:37:46 »

Can some one explain this mathematical tool? it seems to me to be a
(bodge) that makes some problem solvable, but does the ansewer reflect
the real world?

A born optomist


 

Offline Ray hinton

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 476
    • View Profile
    • http://uk.geocities.com/rayhinton56@btinternet.com/photopagetan.html
Re: renormalization
« Reply #1 on: 21/02/2006 00:33:23 »
its an abacus,best mathematical tool of all.
 

Offline Solvay_1927

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 383
    • View Profile
Re: renormalization
« Reply #2 on: 21/02/2006 23:46:55 »
wolram (would it be presumptuous of me to call you nibor?),

you could have a look at wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renormalization

My understanding is that it IS a bodge, in the sense that the mathematics involved isn't "self-consistent". But the fact is, renormalisation works, so it must reflect the real world somehow.

As far as I can recall, it might only be considered a bodge if you believe that space (and time) are infinitely divisible - i.e. if you believe that space is a continuum and you can separate any two points in space by as small a distance as you want (whether that's 10^-100 or 10^-100000 metres).

However, if you believe in the quantisation of space (and time) - i.e. that two points can never be closer that a certain distance apart (say, the "Planck length", about 10^-35 m) - then renormalisation might make sense.

(But as I said, that's as far as I can recall. My memory ain't what it used to be, and my physics is getting rusty.)

And if you're not familiar with the concept of the quantisation of space & time (i.e. the idea that space and time come in indivisible - but tiny - quantities), don't dismiss it too easily.  It's (apparently) accepted by alot of scientists working on "quantum gravity" (i.e. working on the elusive unification of quantum theory with general relativity).
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: renormalization
« Reply #2 on: 21/02/2006 23:46:55 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums