renormalization

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Offline wolram

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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?

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Offline Ray hinton

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Re: renormalization
« Reply #1 on: 21/02/2006 00:33:23 »
its an abacus,best mathematical tool of all.
its the drugs,y-know.

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Offline Solvay_1927

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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).