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Author Topic: Sharing Knowledge: Physics topics  (Read 6109 times)

Offline QuantumClue

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« on: 24/12/2010 21:41:07 »
So I was thiking of writing some topics up, and was wondering if anyone wanted to join in this little idea I have had. It is always refreshing to learn something new about physics, and sometimes this is best done through sharing knowledge.

I am not sure how this will go down with the moderators here, but how about we give it a go, and see what topics myself and other people would like to write up about. My first topic would be Dirac Equation, maybe talk through it with a lot of maths, only problem is I don't think I could express matrix algebra correctly here.


 

Offline chris

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« Reply #1 on: 25/12/2010 00:06:35 »
Speaking as the editor of this board, I think this is a very good idea, but do please ensure that the topics you write up are cast as questions: "Why is the sky blue?" and so on.

Also, please bear in mind that the audience are general, like me, and hence we want to ensure that everyone can follow what you are presenting so that they learn too.

Best wishes and happy Christmas,

Chris
 

Offline Bill S

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« Reply #2 on: 25/12/2010 00:29:14 »
Great idea, Q C, but please explain the maths for the benefit of the less numerate among us.   
 

SteveFish

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« Reply #3 on: 25/12/2010 00:54:12 »
Chris, I am not so sure about this idea because there seems to be a lot of speculation and ideas presented by individuals who disagree on physics that is pretty settled. How can I, or you for that matter, know what is fact and what is fiction on topics that are very complicated. I would like to see some moderation by someone who actually  knows what the science is. Somebody with credentials. Steve
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #4 on: 25/12/2010 12:37:00 »
Actually, I think Steve makes a reasonable point. I think it should be made clear with whoever decides to write up topics to leave out any contraversial interpretations; let there work shadow honestly what mainstream accepts.

Whilst some of us may think we might be led down a wrong path, or with nothing to compare it to, I want you to trust me when I say it's not easy making baloney up - they will get caught out, as I have a little background in physics, and I also see some other members present who may or may not have had a continued education in physics, but still presents good science.
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #5 on: 25/12/2010 12:38:36 »
Great idea, Q C, but please explain the maths for the benefit of the less numerate among us.

Oh yes Bill, of course, I promise to explain the mathematics, and that goes for everyone else who wishes to write up any topics.
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #6 on: 25/12/2010 12:39:54 »
''Best wishes and happy Christmas,

Chris ''


Thanks chris, I promise to explain this like a series of questions - needless to say, it will most likely take me a while to actually write one up :) Hope you have a wonderful day today!
 

Offline Bill S

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« Reply #7 on: 25/12/2010 17:25:41 »
Quote
Chris, I am not so sure about this idea because there seems to be a lot of speculation and ideas presented by individuals who disagree on physics that is pretty settled.

Surely this is dangerous only if the author fails to make it clear that his/her ideas do not represent mainstream science.   
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #8 on: 25/12/2010 17:30:15 »
Quote
Chris, I am not so sure about this idea because there seems to be a lot of speculation and ideas presented by individuals who disagree on physics that is pretty settled.

Surely this is dangerous only if the author fails to make it clear that his/her ideas do not represent mainstream science.   

I agree, then it's an error of the author, and perhaps maybe considerable to warrant a punishment.
 

Offline Geezer

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« Reply #9 on: 25/12/2010 21:39:11 »
Chris, I am not so sure about this idea because there seems to be a lot of speculation and ideas presented by individuals who disagree on physics that is pretty settled. How can I, or you for that matter, know what is fact and what is fiction on topics that are very complicated. I would like to see some moderation by someone who actually  knows what the science is. Somebody with credentials. Steve

I don't think it's practical to expect the moderators to be able to adjudicate on the scientific content of all the possible topics that might arise. The moderators may (and do) have excellent credentials in many specific fields, but they can't possibly have excellent credentials in all fields. It's really up to the forum members to identify flaws, or raise objections to, unsupportable opinions. It strikes me that they do a pretty good job too.

Part of the confusion may lie in the fact that moderators also participate as members by expressing their views in fields where they believe they can contribute, or asking questions about things they would like to learn more about, or even cracking silly jokes for light relief. In those situations, the moderators actually do try not to take advantage of their moderating role to suppress the views of other members.

The moderator's role (Chris will correct me if I'm wrong  ;D) is to facilitate the discussion more than anything else by keeping the topic, more or less, on track, and maintain, in a lighthearted manner, a certain amount of decorum as identified within the AUP.

 

Offline yor_on

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« Reply #10 on: 25/12/2010 22:34:48 »
Maybe TNS should create a Mathematics section?
Although I guess that one would get some pretty involved questions at times.
 

SteveFish

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« Reply #11 on: 26/12/2010 01:55:03 »
The hard case of my argument above is— If somebody comes to this site and leaves with an incorrect understanding of some aspect of science, or thinks an area is under flux when it is actually pretty solid because non-experts were knocking around some aspect of physics, for example, that they are actually untrained to resolve, can this site be realistically called a science site? Should it advertise itself as a science opinion site?

I realize that this is a really tough row to hoe and I really like the back and forth and humor. Scientists are quietly known for their humor, otherwise why would the anticoagulant found in the saliva of vampire bats be called “draculin,” and then there is “buckminsterfullerene” (there are lists of these things). However, I believe my concern is something to be concerned about at some level.
« Last Edit: 26/12/2010 15:12:08 by SteveFish »
 

Offline yor_on

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« Reply #12 on: 26/12/2010 03:58:25 »
I think those reading will be able to see who knows what they are talking about Steve? They seem to have succeeded so far, in fact I haven't seen one person telling TNS that they don't know what they are talking about, although sometimes there will be a matter of opinions :)

But a mathematics section would best be left too those really working in the field, depending on severity, of course. Physics per se, you don't really need to know all that advanced math to get an inkling of how it works though. The formulas leading to some spectacular insights is another thing, but I agree with Einstein there. I think he said that if you can't explain it so that a layman can understand it, then there have to be something wrong with your own understanding too. Or something to that effect.

We do not strive after becoming a site only filled with mathematicians and physicists, again as I see it. We do strive after giving as good an answer as we know how. and I think there are a lot of expertize here.
 

Offline Geezer

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« Reply #13 on: 26/12/2010 07:16:31 »
Maybe TNS should create a Mathematics section?
Although I guess that one would get some pretty involved questions at times.


Yoron,

I'm not overly optimistic that it would work. I have attempted to introduce a couple of math problems based on fairly simple physical problems, but I didn't get much (if any) response. I came to the conclusion that all the mathematicians were on sabbatical, although it's possible that the problems were trivial.
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #14 on: 26/12/2010 13:04:25 »
Correct me if I am wrong, but is there not always these levels of worry on a forum board? It is easy to say we don't want anyone to leave in light of our written work with incorrect statements - it is completely identical to the nature of how threads here work anyway. People come for answers, and usually we try to answer those questions as best we can.
 

Offline yor_on

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« Reply #15 on: 26/12/2010 13:16:53 »
Oh I know there are some good mathematicians here :)

And I'm sure there are more reading us than what one might expect, when the need arises the good men (&  the little Wimma, naturally and firstly our ladies, please, stop throwing those heavy things at me) will answer to the need, as they say in Robin Hood. They will, I'm sure of it..

It's just that it's not the format we have used here before. But take a look at some posts of Lightarrow, SoulSurfer, Pete, Rosie etc etc (And QC:s offer too) here for example. I expect them to have a good grasp, and then we have others, maybe not speaking out that often, but as I expect it quite good at a lot of things, mathematics amongst them.

Never the less, I'm proud over this forum as it is :) And if we now make a fool out of ourselves at times? Well, that's life, no way around it, living that is. But for those wanting the more rigorous definitions? Well, as long as they don't tell us other to 'bug off' that is :) Sure, a mathematical section will fulfill a need I think, even if it might not be used that much as on some other sites as we're a fairly unruly lot :)
« Last Edit: 26/12/2010 13:23:14 by yor_on »
 

Offline Foolosophy

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« Reply #16 on: 26/12/2010 14:24:38 »
So I was thiking of writing some topics up, and was wondering if anyone wanted to join in this little idea I have had. It is always refreshing to learn something new about physics, and sometimes this is best done through sharing knowledge.

I am not sure how this will go down with the moderators here, but how about we give it a go, and see what topics myself and other people would like to write up about. My first topic would be Dirac Equation, maybe talk through it with a lot of maths, only problem is I don't think I could express matrix algebra correctly here.

Your proposal is a good one - especially for physics and cosmology.

(Correct me if I am wrong, but wasnt the Dirac approach to quantum mechanics based on vectors? I thought that Heisenberg used the matrix approach??? Interesting how Heisenberg, Shroedinger, Dirac and Feyhnam used different mathematical approaches and yet made similar conclusions with regards to the weird quantum world?)
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #17 on: 26/12/2010 15:36:38 »
So I was thiking of writing some topics up, and was wondering if anyone wanted to join in this little idea I have had. It is always refreshing to learn something new about physics, and sometimes this is best done through sharing knowledge.

I am not sure how this will go down with the moderators here, but how about we give it a go, and see what topics myself and other people would like to write up about. My first topic would be Dirac Equation, maybe talk through it with a lot of maths, only problem is I don't think I could express matrix algebra correctly here.

Your proposal is a good one - especially for physics and cosmology.

(Correct me if I am wrong, but wasnt the Dirac approach to quantum mechanics based on vectors? I thought that Heisenberg used the matrix approach??? Interesting how Heisenberg, Shroedinger, Dirac and Feyhnam used different mathematical approaches and yet made similar conclusions with regards to the weird quantum world?)

I actually took a bit of time out of yesterday night to start typing up the page.

Well, vector quantities are used thoroughly throughout many equations of quantum mechanics. The matrix mechanics in the Dirac equation are basically the α and β matrices which anticommute - anticommutation relations are a pivotal mathematical relation used in the Dirac equation.
 

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« Reply #17 on: 26/12/2010 15:36:38 »

 

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