If you are aware of an interesting new academic paper (that has been published in a peer-reviewed journal or has appeared on the arXiv), a conference talk (at an official professional scientific meeting), an external blog post (by a professional scientist) or a news item (in the mainstream news media), which you think might make an interesting topic for an FQXi blog post, then please contact us at forums@fqxi.org with a link to the original source and a sentence about why you think that the work is worthy of discussion. Please note that we receive many such suggestions and while we endeavour to respond to them, we may not be able to reply to all suggestions.

Please also note that we do not accept unsolicited posts and we cannot review, or open new threads for, unsolicited articles or papers. Requests to review or post such materials will not be answered. If you have your own novel physics theory or model, which you would like to post for further discussion among then FQXi community, then please add them directly to the "Alternative Models of Reality" thread, or to the "Alternative Models of Cosmology" thread. Thank you.

Please also note that we do not accept unsolicited posts and we cannot review, or open new threads for, unsolicited articles or papers. Requests to review or post such materials will not be answered. If you have your own novel physics theory or model, which you would like to post for further discussion among then FQXi community, then please add them directly to the "Alternative Models of Reality" thread, or to the "Alternative Models of Cosmology" thread. Thank you.

Contests Home

Previous Contests

**What Is “Fundamental”**

*October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018*

*Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation*

read/discuss • winners

**Wandering Towards a Goal**

How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?

*December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017*

Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.

read/discuss • winners

**Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics**

*Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation*

Media Partner: Scientific American

read/discuss • winners

**How Should Humanity Steer the Future?**

*January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014*

*Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American*

read/discuss • winners

**It From Bit or Bit From It**

*March 25 - June 28, 2013*

*Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American*

read/discuss • winners

**Questioning the Foundations**

Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?

*May 24 - August 31, 2012*

*Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American*

read/discuss • winners

**Is Reality Digital or Analog?**

*November 2010 - February 2011*

*Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American*

read/discuss • winners

**What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?**

*May - October 2009*

*Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams*

read/discuss • winners

**The Nature of Time**

*August - December 2008*

read/discuss • winners

Previous Contests

read/discuss • winners

How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?

Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.

read/discuss • winners

Media Partner: Scientific American

read/discuss • winners

read/discuss • winners

read/discuss • winners

Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?

read/discuss • winners

read/discuss • winners

read/discuss • winners

read/discuss • winners

Forum Home

Introduction

Terms of Use

RSS feed | RSS help

Introduction

Terms of Use

*Posts by the author are highlighted in orange; posts by FQXi Members are highlighted in blue.*

RSS feed | RSS help

RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

**Mohammed Khalil**: *on* 4/24/15 at 11:01am UTC, wrote Dear Steven, Thank you for your kind words on our essay. I am glad you...

**Steven Sax**: *on* 4/23/15 at 1:06am UTC, wrote Dear Mohammed, Thank you for your kind remarks on my essay and I enjoyed...

**Mohammed Khalil**: *on* 4/20/15 at 22:59pm UTC, wrote Dear Armin, Thank you very much for your interesting comments. I respect...

**Mohammed Khalil**: *on* 4/20/15 at 22:51pm UTC, wrote Dear William, Thank you very much for your kind and encouraging words. I...

**Mohammed Khalil**: *on* 4/20/15 at 22:47pm UTC, wrote Dear Alma, Thank you very much for your kind and encouraging words. I...

**Armin Nikkhah Shirazi**: *on* 4/20/15 at 22:29pm UTC, wrote Dear Basem and Mohammed, Though I disagree with your instrumentalist...

**William Parsons**: *on* 4/20/15 at 19:39pm UTC, wrote Hi Mohammed and Basem-- An absolutely brilliant essay. I concur fully...

**Alma Ionescu**: *on* 4/19/15 at 19:23pm UTC, wrote Dear Mohammed, Basem, It is a well established fact that people will...

RECENT FORUM POSTS

**Robert McEachern**: "You seem to be equating Continuous=Classical. But communications engineers..."
*in* Schrödinger’s Zombie:...

**Steve Dufourny**: "Hi Eckard,you seems persuaded by your Words and thoughts.I don t understand..."
*in* First Things First: The...

**Eckard Blumschein**: "In Darwinism/Weismannism there is no first cause, just a causal chain...."
*in* First Things First: The...

**Steve Agnew**: "There are some questions that do not seem to have answers in the classical..."
*in* Schrödinger’s Zombie:...

**Steve Dufourny**: "lol no indeed it is not a lot,like I said I liked your general ideas.I have..."
*in* The Demon in the Machine...

**Steve Agnew**: "There are three assumptions...is that a lot? The aether particle mass, the..."
*in* The Demon in the Machine...

RECENT ARTICLES

*click titles to read articles*

**First Things First: The Physics of Causality**

Why do we remember the past and not the future? Untangling the connections between cause and effect, choice, and entropy.

**Can Time Be Saved From Physics?**

Philosophers, physicists and neuroscientists discuss how our sense of time’s flow might arise through our interactions with external stimuli—despite suggestions from Einstein's relativity that our perception of the passage of time is an illusion.

**Thermo-Demonics**

A devilish new framework of thermodynamics that focuses on how we observe information could help illuminate our understanding of probability and rewrite quantum theory.

**Gravity's Residue**

An unusual approach to unifying the laws of physics could solve Hawking's black-hole information paradox—and its predicted gravitational "memory effect" could be picked up by LIGO.

**Could Mind Forge the Universe?**

Objective reality, and the laws of physics themselves, emerge from our observations, according to a new framework that turns what we think of as fundamental on its head.

RECENT FORUM POSTS

RECENT ARTICLES

Why do we remember the past and not the future? Untangling the connections between cause and effect, choice, and entropy.

Philosophers, physicists and neuroscientists discuss how our sense of time’s flow might arise through our interactions with external stimuli—despite suggestions from Einstein's relativity that our perception of the passage of time is an illusion.

A devilish new framework of thermodynamics that focuses on how we observe information could help illuminate our understanding of probability and rewrite quantum theory.

An unusual approach to unifying the laws of physics could solve Hawking's black-hole information paradox—and its predicted gravitational "memory effect" could be picked up by LIGO.

Objective reality, and the laws of physics themselves, emerge from our observations, according to a new framework that turns what we think of as fundamental on its head.

FQXi FORUM

October 14, 2019

CATEGORY:
Trick or Truth Essay Contest (2015)
[back]

TOPIC: How Accurately Can Mathematics Describe Nature? by Basem Galal and Mohammed M. Khalil [refresh]

TOPIC: How Accurately Can Mathematics Describe Nature? by Basem Galal and Mohammed M. Khalil [refresh]

Mathematics and physics are different, yet they are closely connected. The effectiveness of mathematics in physics is unparalleled in any other branch of knowledge. In this essay, we try to explain the reason for this effectiveness based on the view that mathematics is invented. We also question the accuracy of mathematics in describing nature, and argue that mathematics does not provide us with the truth about how nature works, but with models that enable us to make predictions about the outcome of observations and experiments.

Basem and Mohammed are undergraduate students at Alexandria University, Egypt. Basem is interested in doing research in machine learning (theory and application), especially deep learning. Mohammed is interested in theoretical physics. He won third prize in the previous FQXi essay contest, and coauthored 7 research papers http://inspirehep.net/author/profile/M.M.Khalil.1

Great essay.

I think math is discovered. I think you present a very good analysis of the comparison of discovered vs. invented. I’ll spend more time thinking about your `invented’ arguments.

The following addresses your objections to `discovered’ (``Math is a part of nature…”.)

A There is a need to discover the truth of how nature works to advance our survival....

view entire post

I think math is discovered. I think you present a very good analysis of the comparison of discovered vs. invented. I’ll spend more time thinking about your `invented’ arguments.

The following addresses your objections to `discovered’ (``Math is a part of nature…”.)

A There is a need to discover the truth of how nature works to advance our survival....

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Dear Mr. Hodge,

Thank you for your comments. I looked at your essay, and I appreciate your arguments for mathematics as a characteristic of the universe.

I will read your essay in more detail and write my comments on it, but here I would like to address your comments about the discovery of mathematics.

A) Different formulations*are equivalent,* but they tell us...

view entire post

Thank you for your comments. I looked at your essay, and I appreciate your arguments for mathematics as a characteristic of the universe.

I will read your essay in more detail and write my comments on it, but here I would like to address your comments about the discovery of mathematics.

A) Different formulations

view entire post

Dear Mr. Galal and Mr. Khalil:

Your essay is very well written and insightful. Are you really both undergraduate students?

Given that your essay focuses on the role of mathematics in providing models for physical systems, you might be interested in my essay, "Remove the Blinders: How Mathematics Distorted the Development of Quantum Theory". I argue that contrary to universal...

view entire post

Your essay is very well written and insightful. Are you really both undergraduate students?

Given that your essay focuses on the role of mathematics in providing models for physical systems, you might be interested in my essay, "Remove the Blinders: How Mathematics Distorted the Development of Quantum Theory". I argue that contrary to universal...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Dear Dr. Kadin,

Thank you for your interesting post. I am glad you liked our essay. I agree with you that mathematics provides models for nature. Some models might accelerate the progress of physics, while others might hinder it.

Your model for quantum mechanics seems interesting. I will read it in more detail soon.

Best,

Mohammed

Thank you for your interesting post. I am glad you liked our essay. I agree with you that mathematics provides models for nature. Some models might accelerate the progress of physics, while others might hinder it.

Your model for quantum mechanics seems interesting. I will read it in more detail soon.

Best,

Mohammed

Basem and Mohammed,

I salute you for your cogent and straightforward argument that math is invented.

I also believe that it is an effective invention to represent and model the natural world, providing all the advantages you mention. My views are similar in my essay, "Connections: math, physics and the mind"

Regards,

Jim

report post as inappropriate

I salute you for your cogent and straightforward argument that math is invented.

I also believe that it is an effective invention to represent and model the natural world, providing all the advantages you mention. My views are similar in my essay, "Connections: math, physics and the mind"

Regards,

Jim

report post as inappropriate

Dear Jim,

Thank you for your kind comments. I am glad we agree that mathematics is an effective invention. I looked at your essay and I also salute your well-written arguments. I enjoyed your analogy with the Euler’s identity and the connection between math, physics, and the brain.

Best regards,

Mohammed

Thank you for your kind comments. I am glad we agree that mathematics is an effective invention. I looked at your essay and I also salute your well-written arguments. I enjoyed your analogy with the Euler’s identity and the connection between math, physics, and the brain.

Best regards,

Mohammed

Dear Basem Galal and Mohammed M. Khalil,

Very interesting and thought provoking essay. Your initial premise that mathematics is invented leading to its effectiveness, is followed up by a very solid argument "we argue that the usefulness of mathematics in discovering new theories is limited, and that it does not provide us with a real picture of the world, but with models useful as calculational tools for making predictions.".

Your statement "Our theories are models of nature. Some models are more useful than others." is the lead in to the geometric models in my essay here of the particles of the standard model. Hope you get a chance to read and comment on it.

Great essay, best of luck in the contest.

Regards, Ed Unverricht

report post as inappropriate

Very interesting and thought provoking essay. Your initial premise that mathematics is invented leading to its effectiveness, is followed up by a very solid argument "we argue that the usefulness of mathematics in discovering new theories is limited, and that it does not provide us with a real picture of the world, but with models useful as calculational tools for making predictions.".

Your statement "Our theories are models of nature. Some models are more useful than others." is the lead in to the geometric models in my essay here of the particles of the standard model. Hope you get a chance to read and comment on it.

Great essay, best of luck in the contest.

Regards, Ed Unverricht

report post as inappropriate

Dear Ed Unverricht,

Thank you for the kind and interesting comments. I looked at your essay, and I am glad we agree that mathematics provides useful models for nature. I enjoyed very much your beautiful images, and I could only wonder at the amazing usefulness of mathematical models.

Good luck to you too.

Best regards,

Mohammed

Thank you for the kind and interesting comments. I looked at your essay, and I am glad we agree that mathematics provides useful models for nature. I enjoyed very much your beautiful images, and I could only wonder at the amazing usefulness of mathematical models.

Good luck to you too.

Best regards,

Mohammed

I think that this is a remarkable essay for two undergraduates. It should signal a great future for both. Since my contribution takes a very similar position, but develops it historically, I really have no adverse comments. However, I find the claim that nature is symmetric a bit ambiguous. We use symmetry principles in developing theories especially the standard model of particle physics. Then we have to add qualifications because what we find are broken symmetries.

Ed MacKinnon

report post as inappropriate

Ed MacKinnon

report post as inappropriate

Dear Ed MacKinnon,

Thank you for your kind comments. Your essay is interesting, and you gave well-written arguments for the coevolution of physics and mathematics. I am glad we agree on some points.

By "nature is symmetric", we mean that the laws of physics are invariant under specific transformations, such as translation in space and motion at constant velocity. If not for this property, describing nature would be very difficult indeed.

Best regards,

Mohammed

Thank you for your kind comments. Your essay is interesting, and you gave well-written arguments for the coevolution of physics and mathematics. I am glad we agree on some points.

By "nature is symmetric", we mean that the laws of physics are invariant under specific transformations, such as translation in space and motion at constant velocity. If not for this property, describing nature would be very difficult indeed.

Best regards,

Mohammed

Dear Mssrs. Galal and Khalil,

You wrote: “A theory can have support from its theoretical foundation and solid mathematics,

but until it can produce predictions that can be compared with experiment, we must not evaluate it as the only truth. We should always consider alternative approaches even if they are less developed.”

Please behold my alternative approach: This is my...

view entire post

You wrote: “A theory can have support from its theoretical foundation and solid mathematics,

but until it can produce predictions that can be compared with experiment, we must not evaluate it as the only truth. We should always consider alternative approaches even if they are less developed.”

Please behold my alternative approach: This is my...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Hi Mohammed,

Thank you for reading my essay. You have written a very well essay although you probably know that our philosophies are different.

I have seen that you have co authored with Das and Faraj, that is very impressive. How did you do that? Is it possible to show my idea to Faraj and also get Basem to run the simple simulation(at the end of each section written "program link") to confirm the results.

Thanks and good luck.

report post as inappropriate

Thank you for reading my essay. You have written a very well essay although you probably know that our philosophies are different.

I have seen that you have co authored with Das and Faraj, that is very impressive. How did you do that? Is it possible to show my idea to Faraj and also get Basem to run the simple simulation(at the end of each section written "program link") to confirm the results.

Thanks and good luck.

report post as inappropriate

Dear Basem Galal and Mohammed M. Khalil,

This is by far the best essay to argue that mathematics is invented which I have read, and, believe me, in researching for this contest, I read a lot of them!

Please take the time to check out and vote on my own essay:

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2391

Best of luck in the contest!

Rick Searle

report post as inappropriate

This is by far the best essay to argue that mathematics is invented which I have read, and, believe me, in researching for this contest, I read a lot of them!

Please take the time to check out and vote on my own essay:

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2391

Best of luck in the contest!

Rick Searle

report post as inappropriate

Mohammed (& Basem),

Thanks for commenting in my forum. I am at a loss, however, to know why you think our ideas are opposed -- I found your excellent essay to reflect an entirely rationalist view of science, as does mine.

I want to point out something to you: You quote Einstein on mathematics as a human invention:

“How is it possible that mathematics, a product of human...

view entire post

Thanks for commenting in my forum. I am at a loss, however, to know why you think our ideas are opposed -- I found your excellent essay to reflect an entirely rationalist view of science, as does mine.

I want to point out something to you: You quote Einstein on mathematics as a human invention:

“How is it possible that mathematics, a product of human...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Dear Tom,

Thank you for your comments. I really like that quote of Einstein; his closed watch analogy agrees well with our essays.

I admit that our essays have some similar views. However, I think that mathematics is invented, and hence, there is no preexisting correspondence between mathematics and the physical world. Mathematics is effective because it was invented to describe patterns and regularities in nature. Mathematics provides models that describe nature, and most of those models are not exact, i.e. they do not correspond exactly to the phenomena they describe. This view is different from that of the mathematical universe hypothesis which your essay supports.

All the best,

Mohammed

Thank you for your comments. I really like that quote of Einstein; his closed watch analogy agrees well with our essays.

I admit that our essays have some similar views. However, I think that mathematics is invented, and hence, there is no preexisting correspondence between mathematics and the physical world. Mathematics is effective because it was invented to describe patterns and regularities in nature. Mathematics provides models that describe nature, and most of those models are not exact, i.e. they do not correspond exactly to the phenomena they describe. This view is different from that of the mathematical universe hypothesis which your essay supports.

All the best,

Mohammed

Mohammed, I'm afraid you still miss the point. I don't support the mathematical universe hypothesis a priori. The philosophical question of whether mathematics is invented or discovered has *nothing* to do with the correspondence of mathematics to physics, i.e., the corresponding truth content of their respective models.

You wouldn't say that natural language has truth content independent of physics, would you? In other words, the string of symbols C-A-T is true if, and only if, there is a physical counterpart to the symbols. That is what Einstein was saying -- e.g., he favored the introduction of extra dimensional models, even in his day, " ... if there exist good physical reasons to do so."

The MUH is based on physical probability, not mathematical philosophy.

Best,

Tom

report post as inappropriate

You wouldn't say that natural language has truth content independent of physics, would you? In other words, the string of symbols C-A-T is true if, and only if, there is a physical counterpart to the symbols. That is what Einstein was saying -- e.g., he favored the introduction of extra dimensional models, even in his day, " ... if there exist good physical reasons to do so."

The MUH is based on physical probability, not mathematical philosophy.

Best,

Tom

report post as inappropriate

Dear Galal & Khalil,

You have tried to give a logical picture how mathematics has become effective in physics, and suggest the need for new mathematical inventions to solve the hitherto unsolved problems. You say correctly, “A great mystery about nature is that we can describe the same phenomenon with different mathematical formulations”. Have you thought of the reverse possibility? A...

view entire post

You have tried to give a logical picture how mathematics has become effective in physics, and suggest the need for new mathematical inventions to solve the hitherto unsolved problems. You say correctly, “A great mystery about nature is that we can describe the same phenomenon with different mathematical formulations”. Have you thought of the reverse possibility? A...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Dear Basem and Mohammed

I agree with your that mathematics is not enough to describe physics. Thus, that many mathematical theories predicted something in mathematics, but predictions were wrong. My opinion is that math is only an abstract language, which tell more simple what happening in physics. (Torsten Asselmeyer-Maluga used the best words: ''' abstraction is necessary concept for...

view entire post

I agree with your that mathematics is not enough to describe physics. Thus, that many mathematical theories predicted something in mathematics, but predictions were wrong. My opinion is that math is only an abstract language, which tell more simple what happening in physics. (Torsten Asselmeyer-Maluga used the best words: ''' abstraction is necessary concept for...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Dear Basem and Mohammed,

I liked reading your essay. It is very well written, and you explain very well the role of mathematical models, and how they can turn out to be inadequate to describe the physical world. I also like that you let open the possibility that a mathematical theory well suited to describe the universe may exist, although we will never be sure it is the true one.

Best wishes,

Cristi

report post as inappropriate

I liked reading your essay. It is very well written, and you explain very well the role of mathematical models, and how they can turn out to be inadequate to describe the physical world. I also like that you let open the possibility that a mathematical theory well suited to describe the universe may exist, although we will never be sure it is the true one.

Best wishes,

Cristi

report post as inappropriate

Dear Basem and Mohammed,

You have presented one of the best essays in the contest. Very clear, modest and not intrusive like many others. You deserve very high rating what you will observe in a minute. However I want to address some issues.

You present important objections to the view No. “2. Mathematics is discovered because it is part of nature just like physics.” I agree with...

view entire post

You have presented one of the best essays in the contest. Very clear, modest and not intrusive like many others. You deserve very high rating what you will observe in a minute. However I want to address some issues.

You present important objections to the view No. “2. Mathematics is discovered because it is part of nature just like physics.” I agree with...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Dear Jacek,

Thank you very much for your kind comments and for the rating.

I am glad you agree with our objections to the discovery of mathematics if we define math as an abstract language of equations. However, I also think that geometry is invented not discovered. In the real world there are no straight lines extending to infinity, or perfect circles that exactly lead to pi when...

view entire post

Thank you very much for your kind comments and for the rating.

I am glad you agree with our objections to the discovery of mathematics if we define math as an abstract language of equations. However, I also think that geometry is invented not discovered. In the real world there are no straight lines extending to infinity, or perfect circles that exactly lead to pi when...

view entire post

Dear Mohammed,

The principle of minimum energy (really the second law of thermodynamics) states that for a closed system, with constant external parameters and entropy, the internal energy will decrease and approach a minimum value at equilibrium. It means that every object/structure shall deform to the shape that minimizes the total potential energy. That shape is an ideal shape. But the system cannot approach that ideal shape.

I am not a Platonist. Obviously, in nature we cannot find ideal shapes. As I have mentioned, the geometry is about shapes that we perceive in real world and not equations. However it is not practical or possible to make calculus on real shapes. To make predictions we need calculus. That is the reason we need idealizations (approximations) of real complexity. In my opinion, the lack of ideal shapes in nature is not an intrinsic feature of real objects (the second law) but the outcome of complexity , interactions and dynamics of interacting objects.

Best regards

Jacek

report post as inappropriate

The principle of minimum energy (really the second law of thermodynamics) states that for a closed system, with constant external parameters and entropy, the internal energy will decrease and approach a minimum value at equilibrium. It means that every object/structure shall deform to the shape that minimizes the total potential energy. That shape is an ideal shape. But the system cannot approach that ideal shape.

I am not a Platonist. Obviously, in nature we cannot find ideal shapes. As I have mentioned, the geometry is about shapes that we perceive in real world and not equations. However it is not practical or possible to make calculus on real shapes. To make predictions we need calculus. That is the reason we need idealizations (approximations) of real complexity. In my opinion, the lack of ideal shapes in nature is not an intrinsic feature of real objects (the second law) but the outcome of complexity , interactions and dynamics of interacting objects.

Best regards

Jacek

report post as inappropriate

Dear Basem and Mohammed

Congratulations on an exceptionally thought-out and well-written essay. It helped me appreciate it that I agree in my own essay with many (but not all) of the points you made. For example you mention symmetry and universality as explanation of the effectiveness of mathematics. I go much further and speculate that at the deepest level mind, mathematics and nature...

view entire post

Congratulations on an exceptionally thought-out and well-written essay. It helped me appreciate it that I agree in my own essay with many (but not all) of the points you made. For example you mention symmetry and universality as explanation of the effectiveness of mathematics. I go much further and speculate that at the deepest level mind, mathematics and nature...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Dear Mohammed,

thanks for reading my essay. As I see we are agreeing in many points. But more importantly, I also think that math is an invention. Thanks for bringing your essay to my attention.I rate your essay high.

Best

Torsten

report post as inappropriate

thanks for reading my essay. As I see we are agreeing in many points. But more importantly, I also think that math is an invention. Thanks for bringing your essay to my attention.I rate your essay high.

Best

Torsten

report post as inappropriate

Dear Basem and Mohammed,

Your point is very well argued and reasonable, very close to the one by the great mathematician, physicist and thinker Henri Poincaré in Science and Hypothesis

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/37157/37157-pdf.pdf

"Rôle of Hypothesis.—Every generalisation is a hypothesis. Hypothesis therefore plays a necessary rôle, which no one has ever...

view entire post

Your point is very well argued and reasonable, very close to the one by the great mathematician, physicist and thinker Henri Poincaré in Science and Hypothesis

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/37157/37157-pdf.pdf

"Rôle of Hypothesis.—Every generalisation is a hypothesis. Hypothesis therefore plays a necessary rôle, which no one has ever...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Dear Michel,

Thank you for your kind comments. I wasn't aware of Poincaré's book, but it seems very interesting, and I am glad our essay agrees with his ideas. I think that currently the main problem with theoretical physics is the wide gap between hypothesis and verification.

I have read your essay and I find it very interesting.

Best regards,

Mohammed

Thank you for your kind comments. I wasn't aware of Poincaré's book, but it seems very interesting, and I am glad our essay agrees with his ideas. I think that currently the main problem with theoretical physics is the wide gap between hypothesis and verification.

I have read your essay and I find it very interesting.

Best regards,

Mohammed

Dear Mohammed,

Congratulations, you are on the right way already gussing what matters, soon being involved in a great chapter of science.

All the best,

Michel

report post as inappropriate

Congratulations, you are on the right way already gussing what matters, soon being involved in a great chapter of science.

All the best,

Michel

report post as inappropriate

Hi,

You wrote me that you looked at my paper and I am very appreciative. I read your paper and I like it.

I wish you would work out some more of your idea that simplicity and beauty in physical theories can be understood from the computational complexity point of view. Has anyone else talked about this?

Thanks again!

All the best,

Noson Yanofsky

report post as inappropriate

You wrote me that you looked at my paper and I am very appreciative. I read your paper and I like it.

I wish you would work out some more of your idea that simplicity and beauty in physical theories can be understood from the computational complexity point of view. Has anyone else talked about this?

Thanks again!

All the best,

Noson Yanofsky

report post as inappropriate

Dear Noson,

Thank you for reading our essay

In our article we suggest that we can use computational complexity as a measure of simplicity because we use computers today for almost all physical computations and simulations .Hence , it's reasonable to choose measure of simplicity relative to computers, I am not sure if anyone else talked about that.

All the best,

Basem

report post as inappropriate

Thank you for reading our essay

In our article we suggest that we can use computational complexity as a measure of simplicity because we use computers today for almost all physical computations and simulations .Hence , it's reasonable to choose measure of simplicity relative to computers, I am not sure if anyone else talked about that.

All the best,

Basem

report post as inappropriate

Dear Mohammed, Basem,

It is a well established fact that people will mostly speak of things that impress them, either good or bad. I couldn't agree more with your point that Wigner's speech is not shedding light on theories that have not worked as hoped. For every successful theory like relativity or quantum mechanics, there is a bunch of other theories that we know are wrong, like N=4 super Yang Mills or your SU(5) example. I like your idea of quantifying the elegance of a theory through the number of dependent variables and the relations between variables. It sounds like the most compact network model possible. Your arguments do a very good job getting the point across as well as your clear and enjoyable writing style.

Warm regards,

Alma

report post as inappropriate

It is a well established fact that people will mostly speak of things that impress them, either good or bad. I couldn't agree more with your point that Wigner's speech is not shedding light on theories that have not worked as hoped. For every successful theory like relativity or quantum mechanics, there is a bunch of other theories that we know are wrong, like N=4 super Yang Mills or your SU(5) example. I like your idea of quantifying the elegance of a theory through the number of dependent variables and the relations between variables. It sounds like the most compact network model possible. Your arguments do a very good job getting the point across as well as your clear and enjoyable writing style.

Warm regards,

Alma

report post as inappropriate

Dear Alma,

Thank you very much for your kind and encouraging words. I agree with you about wrong theories like N=4 super Yang Mills. We suggested using computational complexity as a measure of simplicity because we use computers today for almost all physical computations and simulations. Hence, it's reasonable to choose measure of simplicity relative to computations.

Kind regards,

Mohammed

Thank you very much for your kind and encouraging words. I agree with you about wrong theories like N=4 super Yang Mills. We suggested using computational complexity as a measure of simplicity because we use computers today for almost all physical computations and simulations. Hence, it's reasonable to choose measure of simplicity relative to computations.

Kind regards,

Mohammed

Hi Mohammed and Basem--

An absolutely brilliant essay. I concur fully with your analysis. In fact, your essay is so good that I'm glad I didn't write on your precise topic. You would have put me to shame. And, needless-to-say, I certainly agree with your last bullet on page 3.

I can't believe you two are only undergraduates. Your professors are lucky to have you. I predict shining futures for both of you. Keep up the good work!

Best regards and best of luck in the contest,

Bill.

report post as inappropriate

An absolutely brilliant essay. I concur fully with your analysis. In fact, your essay is so good that I'm glad I didn't write on your precise topic. You would have put me to shame. And, needless-to-say, I certainly agree with your last bullet on page 3.

I can't believe you two are only undergraduates. Your professors are lucky to have you. I predict shining futures for both of you. Keep up the good work!

Best regards and best of luck in the contest,

Bill.

report post as inappropriate

Dear Basem and Mohammed,

Though I disagree with your instrumentalist perspective on physics and your antiplatonist view of mathematics, I am genuinely impressed by your eloquent defense of your positions. It is all the more impressive considering that, if I infer correctly, you are not even native English Speakers.

Despite our philosophical differences, there is much in your essay that I do concur with, especially the notion that observation and experiment trumps any other consideration in science.

Your ideas about quantifying aesthetic notions like beauty are interesting and deserve more detailed treatment.Finally, I could not agree more with your last paragraph as my own research effort is geared precisely to developing new mathematics that helps us model and especially understand fundamental aspects of reality.

Overall, you did a great job

Best wishes,

Armin

report post as inappropriate

Though I disagree with your instrumentalist perspective on physics and your antiplatonist view of mathematics, I am genuinely impressed by your eloquent defense of your positions. It is all the more impressive considering that, if I infer correctly, you are not even native English Speakers.

Despite our philosophical differences, there is much in your essay that I do concur with, especially the notion that observation and experiment trumps any other consideration in science.

Your ideas about quantifying aesthetic notions like beauty are interesting and deserve more detailed treatment.Finally, I could not agree more with your last paragraph as my own research effort is geared precisely to developing new mathematics that helps us model and especially understand fundamental aspects of reality.

Overall, you did a great job

Best wishes,

Armin

report post as inappropriate

Dear Armin,

Thank you very much for your interesting comments. I respect your opinion about the Platonist view, and I am glad you concur with other points.

Indeed the importance of experiments and observations in science cannot be overstressed. I think that currently the main problem with theoretical physics is the wide gap between theory and experiment.

Finally, I am glad to...

view entire post

Thank you very much for your interesting comments. I respect your opinion about the Platonist view, and I am glad you concur with other points.

Indeed the importance of experiments and observations in science cannot be overstressed. I think that currently the main problem with theoretical physics is the wide gap between theory and experiment.

Finally, I am glad to...

view entire post

Dear Mohammed,

Thank you for your kind remarks on my essay and I enjoyed reading yours as well. As you know, we agree on many points. It's very true that many theories which were considered beautiful or simple ended up failing to explain observations and experimental data. I liked your discussion on simplicity and computational complexity, and on how the same phenomenon can be described with different mathematical formulations. You present throughout a very interesting essay, and I rate it highly.

Kind regards,

Steve Sax

report post as inappropriate

Thank you for your kind remarks on my essay and I enjoyed reading yours as well. As you know, we agree on many points. It's very true that many theories which were considered beautiful or simple ended up failing to explain observations and experimental data. I liked your discussion on simplicity and computational complexity, and on how the same phenomenon can be described with different mathematical formulations. You present throughout a very interesting essay, and I rate it highly.

Kind regards,

Steve Sax

report post as inappropriate

Login or create account to post reply or comment.