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Posted on 10/11/2005 4:07:11 AM PDT by mlc9852
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With a name like Stochastic who am I to argue.
I do remember from my physic text that Einstein was a difficult sell. But Richard Feynman was the man who put Quantum physics over the top.
Kuhn was mostly right however. IMO.
Predator or Prey?
Somewhere there's also this picture of a samll optimistic just-out-of-kittenhood cat leaping at a huge Japanese Sea Eagle
I haven't read Kuhn in decades, so I'm going on memory. But I don't recall a lot of discussion on quantum theory. I could be wrong.
That said, I thought about the fact of quantum theory being excepted relatively quickly and how it relates to Kuhn's thesis. Kuhn stressed the "priority of the paradigm". He cited as an example the over throw of the geocentric paradigm by Kepler and Galileo's heliocentric paradigm as an example.
But an essential part of his thesis was that a new paradigm would not be established until a superior one was well vetted and excepted. Excepted mainly by the younger scientists who don't have a vested interest in the old paradigm.
Most anyone who has spent a career in engineering and/or science can vouch for this as a fact of human nature. How does the saying go? "You can't teach and old dog new tricks".
As far as quantum theory goes it never replaced existing paradigms. It was a new theory of the subatomic world. Just as Einsteins theory of relatively never replaced Newton's laws of motion, quantum never challenged either, except in special circumstances. I see the theory of relativity as an addendum to Newton. We will still us Newtonian mechanics to get us to the moon.
Although quantum theory was and still is a radical break from Newton it's essentially limited to the micro world although it does have macro world applications.
There was never a fundamental replacement issue, although it did give Einstein heart burn. Remember his famous quote: "
..God doesn't play dice with the universe".
My pleasure. Thanks for the good review. I still haven't told the story of the headless chicken who knew where she was going, or the territory squabble between my wife and a Canada goose.
"I can't top it, but I do have a little story from when I was about the same age as you were. I was kind of a city boy, but my uncle and grandfather were outdoorsmen so I've hunted and cleaned game fowl. One day I invited a friend over for dinner. My grandmother was making roast dove. My friend has never had dove, but I guaranteed he would like it because grandma was such a good cook.
"As soon as the plate was set in front of him, we all instantly knew something was wrong. There was no outward expression, but his eyes betrayed something deep welling up inside him. He excused himself and made a beeline for the bathroom. I don't suppose he had confronted the idea of where food came from, and to his eyes he was looking at nothing but a crispy bird carcass with the head and feet lopped off. Grampa and I spilt his portion (not wanting it to go to waste) while grandma went to go check on him. We cleared the table, and I think grandma boiled him a hot dog.
Did anyone ever think to show him where the material inside a hot dog comes from? Or would that be too mean?
It doesn't really ensure a higher number of chicken deaths though, they'll just serve the next customer the remains of both chickens. Probably make him feel much better though and that is more important than the actual number of dead chickens roaming around in restaurants.
It wasn't my best Sunday.
Maybe not in the eyes of the public, for which it's all mysterious, but it was pretty wrenching for the community that actually had to understand it. As you have noted with the case of Einstein.
Indeed it was. But we will still use newtonian mechanics when we return to the moon.
The computer chips that calculate the Newtonian trajectories will be designed using quantum mechanics.
And indeed, to get to Mars Newtonian mechanics is insufficient. Mars probes have to correct for Einstein. Likewise GPS gives the wrong answers unless you correct for relativistic effects.
We could get to Mars with Newton, perhaps not as directly or efficiently. We could probably do it with vacuum tubes and slide rules, also. It's a matter of decimal places.
I imagine that you'd get to Mars in the end if you course corrected on the way and used more fuel than the most efficient trajectory. If you aim from earth using Newton you'll miss Mars orbit. I have this on authority from Radio Astronomer, whose job it actually is to calculate the orbits.
"High Precision Orbit Propagator (HPOP) has been updated with relativistic accelerations to model the effects of general relativity in accordance with IERS, Technical Note 21, IERS Conventions (1996)."
Side Note: A non-relativistic orbit propagator (Newtonian only) should get you there, however, for VLBI, GPS, timing, high accuracy, etc. relativity is taken into account. :-)
Well...yes. They will fine tune their calculations to be more precise. But they will still use Newtonian Mechanics in their calculations. Newton's laws are still valid in normal circumstances. But sometimes requires tweaking. That was the point I was trying to make.
Newtonian Mechanics are still taught in engineering schools. As opposed to say 'phlogiston theory'.