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Kevin Ingram: on 3/30/18 at 6:53am UTC, wrote Thanks for sharing this blog. Education is a basic need for all and we...

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Theodore St. John: on 2/28/15 at 15:48pm UTC, wrote Hi Domenico, I appreciate your response. And thank you for explaining your...

Domenico Oricchio: on 2/28/15 at 13:00pm UTC, wrote Dear Theodore St. John. Thank you for taking time to decode my essay; it...

Theodore St. John: on 2/16/15 at 15:12pm UTC, wrote Thank you very much. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Ted

Akinbo Ojo: on 2/16/15 at 14:23pm UTC, wrote Thanks for your comments over at my essay thread/ blog. I agree fully that...


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FQXi FORUM
October 15, 2019

CATEGORY: Trick or Truth Essay Contest (2015) [back]
TOPIC: Doctors of the Ring – The Power of Merlin the Mathematician to Transform Chaos into Consciousness by Theodore St. John [refresh]
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Author Theodore St. John wrote on Feb. 4, 2015 @ 21:35 GMT
Essay Abstract

The story of physics and mathematics is the same great myth that is classic in every culture. Their mysterious connection is a story about the quest for a unified truth that must be derived from a world of duality. Physics is a quest for truth. It is a synergy of philosophy and mathematics, built on a solid foundation of measurement. Mathematics is a faithful process that uses symbols, like a wizard uses magic words, to give physics life. A mathematical equation models the process of life by separating a unified concept (with a symbol) into at least two equivalent yet different symbols. Thus unity symbolically separates into duality. Correct manipulation of the symbols is the trick that reveals truth, which in-forms physics and creates more questions. A physicist must be noble, with the highest degree of honor and integrity. He must be bold to submit new theories that may clash with the current paradigm. Yet he must be humble to submit if his theories fail the tests that ensure a firm foundation of Truth. He must be skilled in the use of mathematical tools and scientific weapons and he must be courageous and competent to handle the highly complex monstrosities that fill the literary forest. There are traps along the way. He will be tangled in paradox and confusion if he lacks philosophical insight and fails to rise above the flat perspective of duality. He will be tempted to force complex theories beyond the frontier of science for the sake of material rewards but the fate of the world depends on his integrity. As in every myth, there is an unlikely character who finds himself with a simple key and a mission to unlock the mystery. This essay will take you into and behind the scenes of the myth.

Author Bio

Theodore St. John is a retired U. S. Navy Radiation Health Officer who holds a dual degree in physics and EE, an MS in physics and a Ph. D. in Medical Physics. His career in the navy included 3 years in a nuclear submarine. He got out of the navy and received his M.S. after which he got back in the navy as a Medical Physicist. His graduate research was on analysis of oxygen implanted by recoil collisions in metal using Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry and his doctorate dissertation was on geometric optimization of radiation therapy treatment planning.

Download Essay PDF File

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Feb. 5, 2015 @ 23:19 GMT
Dear Theodore St. John,

Thank you for your essay. It is a difficult essay to summarize or even understand all your points, but there are many very nice statements in it, beginning with

"He assigns a symbol that represents a concept, the simple truth, which can then be combined with other symbols to reveal other truths that lead to much deeper meaning."

Magical, isn't it! I also like your discussion on page 3 about "the secret to performing math…" That is very well done, concluding that "truths can be represented simultaneously as different and the same."

But, despite the power of the process, on page 5 you observe that the injured Albert "became more and more tangled in the web of complex math." Amen. But it produces golden grants and special privileges so, as you note "disparages those who appeal to simplicity…"

Your essay is full of nuggets, and ends with a line that I can agree with.

I invite you to read my essay and comment on it.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Theodore St. John replied on Feb. 7, 2015 @ 21:48 GMT
Dear Edwin,

Thank you for reading my essay and posting comments. I understand that the essay is not an easy one to summarize, but I am happy that you seem to "get it". I expect that there will be plenty who won't get it, so it is very encouraging for me that you, as the first reviewer, had positive comments. Most of the concepts that I discussed came to me over years of contemplation and introspection, and I hope that readers who don't get it in the first read will allow the process to unfold in their minds rather than discard them due to the unconventional approach.

Respectfully,

Ted

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basudeba mishra wrote on Feb. 12, 2015 @ 18:39 GMT
Dear Sir,

The narrative suggests your command over linguistic proficiency.

In mathematics, “Moving a symbol to the other side of the equation requires it to be represented as its opposite: it’s negative”. However, physics is guided by causality, where the left hand side represents the initial state and the right hand side the final state mediated by the equality sign specifying special conditions to be met for the reaction to take place. For example, you cannot write σ(q)σ(p) ≥ h/4π as σ(q)σ(p) - h/4π ≥ 0. It is meaningless. Manipulation of mathematics without putting correct values leads to misguided results.

Mathematical reality is the quantitative aspect of Nature, which is logically consistent – hence unchanging - and harmonizes with other aspects. But the problem arises when we try to manipulate them. In one of the essays here, the final equation is consistent with the figures given. But if the same sets of figures are applied to the initial equations, it shows 1200 = -1250. The author has not cared to reply to our comment. With such basic flaws, even if the final equation turns out to be right, the theories become questionable.

There is a need to review and rewrite physics and un-mathematical mathematics. We have discussed these in our essay.

Regards,

basudeba

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Author Theodore St. John replied on Feb. 12, 2015 @ 23:19 GMT
Dear Basudeba,

Thank you for reading my essay. I understand and agree that there are certain operations and reactions in physics and chemistry that occur in one direction and not the other. And there are symbols that convey that process. However, I was not addressing these in my essay. I also did not mention inequalities, which certainly have their own set of rules. I was strictly referring to the concept of equivalence.

Respectfully,

Ted

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basudeba mishra replied on Feb. 13, 2015 @ 16:50 GMT
Dear Sir,

We have discussed relativity and equivalence principle in our essay. You are welcome to visit.

Regards,

basudeba

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Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Feb. 13, 2015 @ 14:27 GMT
Dear Theodore,

Magnificent essay. Highest score. I invite you to read and evaluate my essay .

Good luck in the Contest,

Kind regards,

Vladimir

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Author Theodore St. John replied on Feb. 14, 2015 @ 11:54 GMT
Thank you very much.

Ted

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Akinbo Ojo wrote on Feb. 14, 2015 @ 13:42 GMT
Hi Ted,

A simple, easy to read and hilarious way to paint the current sad situation that our physics has found itself. Well done.

Among the memorable words, "Mathematics has given physics its great success but it is the very same thing that will lead to its demise". In the light of this, as you discussed Calculus was invented to sidetrack the curse of Zeno. I will therefore say that in a way, "Calculus has given the physics of Motion its great success but it is the very same Calculus that will lead to the demise of our fully understanding the phenomenon".

You may wish to comment on my suggestion how the curses of Zeno and Parmenides that (in my opinion) still plague our physics may be resolved since you appear to be familiar with both the philosophical and mathematical arguments.

Best regards,

Akinbo

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Author Theodore St. John replied on Feb. 15, 2015 @ 01:43 GMT
Hello Akinbo,

Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my essay. I am glad to know that you appreciate the way I presented. It certainly does seem sad that physics has come so far only to be caught up in its own web of complexity, but I honestly think that this is the way the natural process works. And fortunately, as foretold in mythology, (and noted by Thomas Kuhn) the crisis sets the stage and the mood for the right spark of information to set off a revolution in science. I think the crisis has to run its course because it gives humility to those extremely smart people who have the power to break the spell and save the world.

According to Mythologist Joseph Campbell, those who know how to break the spells -- those who know that there is even a spell that needs to be broken -- don't have the power to break them. The more knowledge they gain, the more confident they grow, the less willing they are to open their minds to other wisdom, and the stronger the spell becomes.

In fact, the line you mentioned is almost exactly what Merlin the Magician said in one of the King Arthur tales. As I interpret it, the story of Merlin's death represents the trap created by our magical ability to define opposites and illustrates how the two sides of reality can be pitted against each other. In that story, King Arthur's sister, Queen Morgana le Fay, who represents the shallow material world of measured reality, recruits a "damsel of bewitching beauty," named Vivien, which I see as science and technology. They provide the enchanting lure of physical pleasure and comfort. Vivien gets Merlin to teach her the magic which she eventually uses to paralyze him. Merlin said, "I grieve not for my own undoings so much as I grieve at the folly that hath turned mine own wisdom against me to my destruction."

I have downloaded and will read your essay soon.

Ted

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Author Theodore St. John replied on Feb. 15, 2015 @ 01:57 GMT
I left out a couple of sentences in my comment above. After the sentence:

"According to Mythologist Joseph Campbell, those who know how to break the spells -- those who know that there is even a spell that needs to be broken -- don't have the power to break them." I should have said:

Those who do have the power to break them (the renown physicists who define the "authorized version" or standard model) do not know or do not accept the notion that there is a spell to be broken. The more knowledge they gain, the more confident they grow, the less willing they are to open their minds to other wisdom, and the stronger the spell becomes.

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Akinbo Ojo replied on Feb. 15, 2015 @ 10:45 GMT
I fully agree to this view: Those who do have the power to break them (the renown physicists who define the "authorized version" or standard model) do not know or do not accept the notion that there is a spell to be broken..., and the stronger the spell becomes.

However, history shows that it is the eventual fate of spells that sooner or later they are broken. We can only hope that it is sooner so that our physics can make more rapid progress.

When you eventually read my essay and the contained hypothesis I would prefer you to show its impossibility rather than accept as possible, out of trying to be polite.

Regards,

Akinbo

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Sujatha Jagannathan wrote on Feb. 16, 2015 @ 06:47 GMT
Your submission to the quest of Truth is applaud able.

Great work!

Sincerely,

Miss. Sujatha Jagannathan

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Author Theodore St. John replied on Feb. 16, 2015 @ 15:12 GMT
Thank you very much. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Ted

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Domenico Oricchio wrote on Feb. 28, 2015 @ 13:00 GMT
Dear Theodore St. John.

Thank you for taking time to decode my essay; it was only an experimental writing, like a Gedanken experiment in the writing, to show that a story is nothing more than transfer of ideas; and it is not important the temporal order of a speech.

I am thinking that a speech is like a physical experiment, with a temporal order, if there is not much interaction between parts of speech, then it happen like in the fundamental physical processes (time symmetry).

I had thought of something more elaborate, a random distribution of the proposition (that work like a cinematographic flashback), but somehow the writing form reinforces the idea that it is not necessary a teaching linked to the history of scientific discovery (temporal order), because alternatives are possible, and the meaning is not lost (civilization can exist in which scientific discovery has followed alternative ways).

I read your essay, and I see the Pythagorean school more like a religion, if not a cult, mathematics so that there was historical heresies, and this does not happen in physics.

Your writing is interesting, a good experiment, and Einstein has in the name the legend of King Arthur.

The equal sign is a new symbol, invented in 1557 by Robert Recorde, the zeros was invented in the 628 by Brahmagupta, before was a chaotic life for mathemaricians, but mathematicians existed, then the current equations were not so necessary.

It is interesting that we are free to choice a definition of time evolution, then every motion has instant velocity unitary

Respectfully

Domenico Oricchio

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Author Theodore St. John replied on Feb. 28, 2015 @ 15:48 GMT
Hi Domenico,

I appreciate your response. And thank you for explaining your intent. It’s an interesting idea and yes, I can see how points in a speech can be compared to physical points in terms of interactions and temporal symmetry. However, I think that this only applies to the most elementary points since interactions (processes) do occur and the processes have more meaning than the...

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George Gantz wrote on Mar. 10, 2015 @ 02:44 GMT
Ted -

Thanks for a great essay! It was a pleasure to see someone else look to mythology for some answers (or perhaps, should I say, non-answers). I took a more direct approach, ealing with creation mythology. For me the questions of paradox are quite central. I am not, however, sanguine about new magicians coming forth to break the spell.

Cheers - George Gantz

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 2, 2015 @ 14:36 GMT
Dear Theodore,

I thought that your engrossing essay was exceptionally well written and I do hope that it fares well in the competition.

I think Newton was wrong about abstract gravity; Einstein was wrong about abstract space/time, and Hawking was wrong about the explosive capability of NOTHING.

All I ask is that you give my essay WHY THE REAL UNIVERSE IS NOT MATHEMATICAL a fair reading and that you allow me to answer any objections you may leave in my comment box about it.

Joe Fisher

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