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**Vladimir Fedorov**: *on* 5/18/20 at 6:25am UTC, wrote Dear Israel, I greatly appreciated your work and discussion. I am very...

**Irek Defee**: *on* 5/10/20 at 16:18pm UTC, wrote Dear Israel, Thank you for your comments placed in my thread, they are...

**Israel Perez**: *on* 5/9/20 at 19:56pm UTC, wrote Dear Luca Indeed, Galilean relativity is just a theorem derived from the...

**Luca Valeri**: *on* 5/8/20 at 19:35pm UTC, wrote Dear Israel, Thanks for your explanation. But does not Galilean relativity...

**Israel Perez**: *on* 5/7/20 at 20:28pm UTC, wrote Dear Dr. Kadin Thanks for reading my essay and commenting. I am glad you...

**Israel Perez**: *on* 5/7/20 at 19:57pm UTC, wrote Dear David I am happy you liked my essay, thanks for leaving some...

**Israel Perez**: *on* 5/7/20 at 19:45pm UTC, wrote Dear Luca, Thanks a lot for reading my essay and leaving some comments. I...

**Israel Perez**: *on* 5/7/20 at 18:17pm UTC, wrote Dear Kwame Thanks for reading my work. It would be interesting to read...

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CATEGORY:
Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest (2019-2020)
[back]

TOPIC: LOST IN MATH... AND MEASUREMENTS by Israel Perez [refresh]

TOPIC: LOST IN MATH... AND MEASUREMENTS by Israel Perez [refresh]

Based on physical sensations the human brain manufactures mental structures leading to a theoretical framework that is used to make sense of life and external reality. Such framework turns out to be our physical understanding. To quantify and model physical systems humans have also invented both mathematics and experimental instruments. The physics developed in the last decades has trusted its validity on these two aspects above our physical understanding. I argue that undecidability and unpredictability might not be relevant for physics. Math and measurement are not the sole players in apprehending natural reality. Physical understanding should play a prominent role in physics if we wish to make headway.

Israel Perez is a physicist in hard condensed matter. He works for the National Council of Science and Technology and does research at the Physics and Mathematics Department at the Autonomous University of Juarez City in Mexico. For this contest he has written a thought-provoking essay.

Dear Israel Perez,

Thanks for an insightful and enjoyable essay. I agree with you completely and my current essay supports your discussion. I consider the fact that space and time can be described mathematically as four dimensional or as (3+1)D. The math is correct in either case, so human understanding is needed to choose between these two. My essay is here: Deciding on the nature of time and space.

If we assume that there is a unique physical reality (ontology) and there is an alternate imagined reality, there is nothing that prevents math from describing both ‘realities’ in detail. Measurements may do the trick, but some measurements are hard to perform perfectly. In that case only intuition will guide us, and many physicists, as you point out, have been warned to ignore intuition — ‘shut up and calculate’.

Your essays are usually insightful, and I’m glad you focused on this issue. There are too many imagined realities [a dozen in QM?] and the best way to navigate through these is human understanding.

Thanks again and good luck.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Thanks for an insightful and enjoyable essay. I agree with you completely and my current essay supports your discussion. I consider the fact that space and time can be described mathematically as four dimensional or as (3+1)D. The math is correct in either case, so human understanding is needed to choose between these two. My essay is here: Deciding on the nature of time and space.

If we assume that there is a unique physical reality (ontology) and there is an alternate imagined reality, there is nothing that prevents math from describing both ‘realities’ in detail. Measurements may do the trick, but some measurements are hard to perform perfectly. In that case only intuition will guide us, and many physicists, as you point out, have been warned to ignore intuition — ‘shut up and calculate’.

Your essays are usually insightful, and I’m glad you focused on this issue. There are too many imagined realities [a dozen in QM?] and the best way to navigate through these is human understanding.

Thanks again and good luck.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Dear Edwin

Thanks for reading my work and for your comments. I wonder what you mean by (3+1)D, as far as I understand it is already that way; but I will read your essay asap to make this clear. Certainly quantum mechanics is a theory that requires deeper understanding. I have also worked out this theory to deeper understandt it, especially entanglement and its spooky action at a distance. I am looking forward to seeing your essay.

Best regards and good luck!

Thanks for reading my work and for your comments. I wonder what you mean by (3+1)D, as far as I understand it is already that way; but I will read your essay asap to make this clear. Certainly quantum mechanics is a theory that requires deeper understanding. I have also worked out this theory to deeper understandt it, especially entanglement and its spooky action at a distance. I am looking forward to seeing your essay.

Best regards and good luck!

" For if science is not about truth, then scientific activity becomes

meaningless..."

We may never know the "truth" or the ontology. Science is about helping humanity survive. Its realm is to be useful which requires prediction and creating models of how the universe works.

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meaningless..."

We may never know the "truth" or the ontology. Science is about helping humanity survive. Its realm is to be useful which requires prediction and creating models of how the universe works.

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Dear John

Thanks for reading my essay and leaving a comment. As I said,theories should reflect the true reality because this is the only way science can be used in favor of humanity. If science were not about true knowledge, it would be useless.

Regards

Thanks for reading my essay and leaving a comment. As I said,theories should reflect the true reality because this is the only way science can be used in favor of humanity. If science were not about true knowledge, it would be useless.

Regards

Dear Israel,

Absolutely agree with "If science were not about true knowledge, it would be useless." Only several hours ago I had to address this same issue on my blog:

... such misconceptions are often caused by inadequate views on the nature of physical theories (e.g. one can hear "theories are just descriptions"). Perhaps, the saddest example of how such inadequate views can prevent even great scientists from making a discovery is Poincaré's failure to discover the spacetime structure of the world. He believed that our physical theories are only convenient descriptions of the world and therefore it is really a matter of convenience and our choice which theory we would use. As T. Damour stressed it, it was

"the sterility of Poincaré's scientific philosophy: complete and utter "conventionality" ... which stopped him from taking seriously, and developing as a physicist, the space-time structure which he was the first to discover."

Best wishes,

Vesselin

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Absolutely agree with "If science were not about true knowledge, it would be useless." Only several hours ago I had to address this same issue on my blog:

... such misconceptions are often caused by inadequate views on the nature of physical theories (e.g. one can hear "theories are just descriptions"). Perhaps, the saddest example of how such inadequate views can prevent even great scientists from making a discovery is Poincaré's failure to discover the spacetime structure of the world. He believed that our physical theories are only convenient descriptions of the world and therefore it is really a matter of convenience and our choice which theory we would use. As T. Damour stressed it, it was

"the sterility of Poincaré's scientific philosophy: complete and utter "conventionality" ... which stopped him from taking seriously, and developing as a physicist, the space-time structure which he was the first to discover."

Best wishes,

Vesselin

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Dear Vesselin

Thanks for your comment. The etymology of the word science says it all: science=knowledge. But not any kind of knowledge but true knowledge, knowledge that can lead us understand as much as possible how the world works. We may deal with approaches to the truth and in that sense it might be convenient to use one or the other, however, the final goal of a scientist is to gain true knowledge that can be useful to tell reality from fiction.

Best Regards

Thanks for your comment. The etymology of the word science says it all: science=knowledge. But not any kind of knowledge but true knowledge, knowledge that can lead us understand as much as possible how the world works. We may deal with approaches to the truth and in that sense it might be convenient to use one or the other, however, the final goal of a scientist is to gain true knowledge that can be useful to tell reality from fiction.

Best Regards

Dear Israel Perez,

I enjoyed your essay very much. Although I am a mathematician, it is clear to me that mathematics alone does not provide a complete picture of physical reality, and that physical understanding as you explain it is also required. I have also been wrestling with the fact that while rectilinear motion appears to be relative, both in theory and in practice, rotational motion appears to be absolute. Taking this physical understanding to its logical extreme in quantum mechanics leads me to some very surprising, but I believe inevitable, conclusions about the nature of mass. This argument, and its conclusions, form the subject of my essay, which I hope you will find interesting.

Robert Wilson.

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I enjoyed your essay very much. Although I am a mathematician, it is clear to me that mathematics alone does not provide a complete picture of physical reality, and that physical understanding as you explain it is also required. I have also been wrestling with the fact that while rectilinear motion appears to be relative, both in theory and in practice, rotational motion appears to be absolute. Taking this physical understanding to its logical extreme in quantum mechanics leads me to some very surprising, but I believe inevitable, conclusions about the nature of mass. This argument, and its conclusions, form the subject of my essay, which I hope you will find interesting.

Robert Wilson.

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Dear Robert Wilson

Thanks so much for reading my essay and leaving your comments. I am glad that you recognized that math is not enough to prescribe reality.

Regarding motion, I think Newton was right, there is absolute and relative motion and one can be distinguished from the other by forces and accelerations. Uniform motion appears to be relative because we were taught that there was no preferred frame. I do not think this is correct you may want to check one of my previous entries

I would be happy to read and comment your essay, I also did some research on mass some time ago, I guess it would be exciting to see your view.

Regards

Thanks so much for reading my essay and leaving your comments. I am glad that you recognized that math is not enough to prescribe reality.

Regarding motion, I think Newton was right, there is absolute and relative motion and one can be distinguished from the other by forces and accelerations. Uniform motion appears to be relative because we were taught that there was no preferred frame. I do not think this is correct you may want to check one of my previous entries

I would be happy to read and comment your essay, I also did some research on mass some time ago, I guess it would be exciting to see your view.

Regards

Dear Israel Perez,

Your essay is perfect clear and to the point. Personally I like the last part about Einstein’s lectures by his friend Paul Ehrenfest at the University of Leiden the most. For me it was an eyeopener when I read about it some 15 years ago. Before I had already discovered that the curvature of space isn’t real, it “terms” the visualization of Einstein’s model.

With kind regards, Sydney

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Your essay is perfect clear and to the point. Personally I like the last part about Einstein’s lectures by his friend Paul Ehrenfest at the University of Leiden the most. For me it was an eyeopener when I read about it some 15 years ago. Before I had already discovered that the curvature of space isn’t real, it “terms” the visualization of Einstein’s model.

With kind regards, Sydney

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Dear S. E. Grim

Thanks a lot for your comments and reading my essay. I am glad that you enjoyed it. Einstein theory of relativity is just a geometrization of space which in that context is understood as curvature and in some sense can be seen like that. But I guess there are other approaches that not resort to geometry. I wonder how you discovered that there is no space curvature. In what sense you say it.

I would seek for your essay and comment asap.

Best regards

Thanks a lot for your comments and reading my essay. I am glad that you enjoyed it. Einstein theory of relativity is just a geometrization of space which in that context is understood as curvature and in some sense can be seen like that. But I guess there are other approaches that not resort to geometry. I wonder how you discovered that there is no space curvature. In what sense you say it.

I would seek for your essay and comment asap.

Best regards

Writing a function as F(x,y,z) does not mean that F really exists in physical space, even though x, y and z seem to refer to physical space.

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Dear Martin

Thanks for your comment. For instance, the electron density depends on the spatial variables, and exists because electrons exists, so if the density exists why not its mathematical representation? The problem as I argue in my essay is that we think that what exists is what we can detect with instruments or our senses but that just half of the story. I think you should first start by telling what you understand by "exist".

Regards

Thanks for your comment. For instance, the electron density depends on the spatial variables, and exists because electrons exists, so if the density exists why not its mathematical representation? The problem as I argue in my essay is that we think that what exists is what we can detect with instruments or our senses but that just half of the story. I think you should first start by telling what you understand by "exist".

Regards

Dear Israel,

since Paul Feyerabend we know that there is no golden methodology to do physics, because scientific effort is either gap-filling (Th. Kuhn) or in the worst case just permutation of existing knowledge - or it is making observable what so far was unobservable. In the latter case absolute novelty comes into play, the invention/discovery of which can not possibly be traced back to...

view entire post

since Paul Feyerabend we know that there is no golden methodology to do physics, because scientific effort is either gap-filling (Th. Kuhn) or in the worst case just permutation of existing knowledge - or it is making observable what so far was unobservable. In the latter case absolute novelty comes into play, the invention/discovery of which can not possibly be traced back to...

view entire post

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Dear Heinz

Thanks for reading my work and leaving your important comments. I would like to ask in what sense Gravitation and el. mag. waves came out of the blue. To my understanding there was a gradual process for the development of these theories.

You mention that: no substantial progress has been made beyond the tautological confirmation of what lies hidden in the axioms of those theories.

Definitely I agree, no much progress, but as always, attacking the principles will lead to progress. For instance the question on the origin of the particle spin.

Regarding your disagreement, certainly, measurements and math might compose a model, but what kind of model? Current models are merely mathematical and the explanations are also mathematical, with barely no physical insight, this is why nobody understands quantum mechanics. I argue that we should work out a physical understanding to make physical sense. This would help us, for instance, to rule out the different interpretations in quantum mechanics and make some progress in this field.

As for your last comment, I wonder why you call it pseudo-empirical model-view of world. Why pseudo? Where is the pseudo part? and what is your understanding of a model?

I will be looking forward to seeing some feedback.

Best regards

Thanks for reading my work and leaving your important comments. I would like to ask in what sense Gravitation and el. mag. waves came out of the blue. To my understanding there was a gradual process for the development of these theories.

You mention that: no substantial progress has been made beyond the tautological confirmation of what lies hidden in the axioms of those theories.

Definitely I agree, no much progress, but as always, attacking the principles will lead to progress. For instance the question on the origin of the particle spin.

Regarding your disagreement, certainly, measurements and math might compose a model, but what kind of model? Current models are merely mathematical and the explanations are also mathematical, with barely no physical insight, this is why nobody understands quantum mechanics. I argue that we should work out a physical understanding to make physical sense. This would help us, for instance, to rule out the different interpretations in quantum mechanics and make some progress in this field.

As for your last comment, I wonder why you call it pseudo-empirical model-view of world. Why pseudo? Where is the pseudo part? and what is your understanding of a model?

I will be looking forward to seeing some feedback.

Best regards

Dear Israel,

as regards concepts it is difficult to see how they could evolve. Until Newton it was uncontested knowledge that force can only be conveyed by collision. Accordingly was his gravitation, which is action at a distance, initially ridiculed by some. I also don't see a viable trajectory from Newton's to Einstein's gravitation. Further, Huygens' superposition of unit waves...

view entire post

as regards concepts it is difficult to see how they could evolve. Until Newton it was uncontested knowledge that force can only be conveyed by collision. Accordingly was his gravitation, which is action at a distance, initially ridiculed by some. I also don't see a viable trajectory from Newton's to Einstein's gravitation. Further, Huygens' superposition of unit waves...

view entire post

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Dear Heinz

Thanks for your comments. Despite your explanation I still don't see any justification of your claim that those theories came out of the blue. For instance, Newton was aware that gravitation was not conveyed in total emptiness, he always held that there was aether. However, his theory does not include it and for this he was criticized. So why at the end was his theory...

view entire post

Thanks for your comments. Despite your explanation I still don't see any justification of your claim that those theories came out of the blue. For instance, Newton was aware that gravitation was not conveyed in total emptiness, he always held that there was aether. However, his theory does not include it and for this he was criticized. So why at the end was his theory...

view entire post

LOST IN MATH ... AND MEASUREMENT sounds a bit hopeless.

I claim having FOUND among others a possibly important mistake by Fourier.

Eckard

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I claim having FOUND among others a possibly important mistake by Fourier.

Eckard

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Israel,

Excellent essay. Nicely expressed and argued, and we're in very close agreement yet again.

You well describe the issues of Absolute v Relative motion etc, but it seems may not recall that you (with others) briefly grasped the solution I posited, consistent with Einsteins final (1952) rationale. That's proved powerfully resolving so I'll outline it again here for your...

view entire post

Excellent essay. Nicely expressed and argued, and we're in very close agreement yet again.

You well describe the issues of Absolute v Relative motion etc, but it seems may not recall that you (with others) briefly grasped the solution I posited, consistent with Einsteins final (1952) rationale. That's proved powerfully resolving so I'll outline it again here for your...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Dear Peter

Thanks for reading my essay, I am glad you find it interesting. Definitely you have a very good memory, I do recall we discussed these matters in the past. I am sorry for not recalling the details and thanks for the reminder. The reference appears to be interesting, I will take a look at it asap. As I argue in my essay, math does not tell the whole story. The preferred frame is sound and can be used to make some progress in physics, let's see what happens in the following years in this respect. The article you cite seems to be in agreement with this view.

As for Einstein's arguments, it seems that he was happy with the mathematical formulation of general relativity but not very much with references frames. In the book Relativity authored by Pauli, it is clear that Einstein's tried several times to remove any trace of the absolute frame, without success.

Thanks again, I will read your essay and leave some comments asap. I am sure you did a good job.

Regards

Thanks for reading my essay, I am glad you find it interesting. Definitely you have a very good memory, I do recall we discussed these matters in the past. I am sorry for not recalling the details and thanks for the reminder. The reference appears to be interesting, I will take a look at it asap. As I argue in my essay, math does not tell the whole story. The preferred frame is sound and can be used to make some progress in physics, let's see what happens in the following years in this respect. The article you cite seems to be in agreement with this view.

As for Einstein's arguments, it seems that he was happy with the mathematical formulation of general relativity but not very much with references frames. In the book Relativity authored by Pauli, it is clear that Einstein's tried several times to remove any trace of the absolute frame, without success.

Thanks again, I will read your essay and leave some comments asap. I am sure you did a good job.

Regards

Israel I appreciated your essay. Perhaps because my creation theory came from “physical understanding” and then finding the mathematics to explain the measurements. In my essay I describe a flowing “picture” of compositional changes that originate in chaos and become our universe. It also creates the mathematics that can be used to describe it and match the its measurements. I would appreciate your comments (coming from your perspective) on my “revised” essay. John Crowell.

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Israel

I have answered your post on my page.

Regards ________________ John-Erik

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I have answered your post on my page.

Regards ________________ John-Erik

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Dear Israel,

Thanks for this essay, whose main point cannot be stressed enough - indeed even Einstein did not appreciate it, especially in his later life. An interesting and polemical analysis in this direction is also contained in Sabine Hossenfelder's book Lost in Math. As you say, it is all about balancing physics, math and measurement, Newton understood this! Best wishes, Klaas Landsman

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Thanks for this essay, whose main point cannot be stressed enough - indeed even Einstein did not appreciate it, especially in his later life. An interesting and polemical analysis in this direction is also contained in Sabine Hossenfelder's book Lost in Math. As you say, it is all about balancing physics, math and measurement, Newton understood this! Best wishes, Klaas Landsman

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Dear Israel,

Your enjoyable essay makes a very good case for more ontological reasoning in physics, rather than just remaining lost in the maths wilderness, where we have been stuck for decades in many areas of physics.

My particular areas of interest are particle physics, time and the aether. By complete chance, back in 2002, I discovered a new preon theory, which I have named gimli...

view entire post

Your enjoyable essay makes a very good case for more ontological reasoning in physics, rather than just remaining lost in the maths wilderness, where we have been stuck for decades in many areas of physics.

My particular areas of interest are particle physics, time and the aether. By complete chance, back in 2002, I discovered a new preon theory, which I have named gimli...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Dear Lockie Cresswell

Thank you for comments and for reading my essay. I am pleased that you enjoyed it. I am surprise that you also mention my previous entry, which by the way it was a 4th prize winner from the 2012 contest. I hope you enjoy it as well.

It will be interesting to read your essay, this contest it's been for about 10 years. If you think you have develop a relevant theory, you should try publishing it in a recognized journal. That's my advice.

Best Regards

Israel

Thank you for comments and for reading my essay. I am pleased that you enjoyed it. I am surprise that you also mention my previous entry, which by the way it was a 4th prize winner from the 2012 contest. I hope you enjoy it as well.

It will be interesting to read your essay, this contest it's been for about 10 years. If you think you have develop a relevant theory, you should try publishing it in a recognized journal. That's my advice.

Best Regards

Israel

Dear Israel,

I enjoyed reading your essay.

It does propose various claims with which I would tend to disagree but in any case they are well argued for.

I have some questions/ comments if I may:

-You said that "For if science is not about truth, then scientific activity becomes meaningless and in that case I should not be writing this essay". What if science is about unravelling "facets" of the truth rather than some absolute one way of looking at the world? Would that still make it meaningless?

- In your well-thought diverse examples to show that mathematics alone is not enough and ampliative principles from physics are necessary, I would more than agree with you.

But I thought that the way it was phrased was somehow unfair to the practice of mathematics. When solving an equation, an actual mathematician would ask in what space we are looking for the solutions. In the case of the degree 2 polynomial equation for the radius of a quantum dot, physics compels us to search for solutions in the set of positive real numbers. With regards to the particle in a box problem, I would argue the same. Although I totally agree with the main message, the mathematics problem that should be posed is that we are looking for a wave function psi(x) that satisfies the time-independent Schrodinger equation, hard boundary conditions at the walls and is normalised. If one chooses n=0, the last condition is not fulfilled since the wave function is identically zero everywhere. It is not that we decide to discard it for the sake of it, it just not satisfies the properties of a wave function.

- Of course we can also come back to the while discussion on relativity of motion later on :) .

I would be happy to know your thoughts on the questions/comments above.

Best,

Fabien

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I enjoyed reading your essay.

It does propose various claims with which I would tend to disagree but in any case they are well argued for.

I have some questions/ comments if I may:

-You said that "For if science is not about truth, then scientific activity becomes meaningless and in that case I should not be writing this essay". What if science is about unravelling "facets" of the truth rather than some absolute one way of looking at the world? Would that still make it meaningless?

- In your well-thought diverse examples to show that mathematics alone is not enough and ampliative principles from physics are necessary, I would more than agree with you.

But I thought that the way it was phrased was somehow unfair to the practice of mathematics. When solving an equation, an actual mathematician would ask in what space we are looking for the solutions. In the case of the degree 2 polynomial equation for the radius of a quantum dot, physics compels us to search for solutions in the set of positive real numbers. With regards to the particle in a box problem, I would argue the same. Although I totally agree with the main message, the mathematics problem that should be posed is that we are looking for a wave function psi(x) that satisfies the time-independent Schrodinger equation, hard boundary conditions at the walls and is normalised. If one chooses n=0, the last condition is not fulfilled since the wave function is identically zero everywhere. It is not that we decide to discard it for the sake of it, it just not satisfies the properties of a wave function.

- Of course we can also come back to the while discussion on relativity of motion later on :) .

I would be happy to know your thoughts on the questions/comments above.

Best,

Fabien

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Dear Fabien

Thanks for reading my essay, I am glad you enjoyed it. Indeed science has been unraveling the truth progressively, and I think that we made a lot of progress in this direction: understanding nuclear energy, electromagnetic radiation, life, evolution, gravity, matter, consciousness, etc. is astonishing. Certainly, due to space limitations it is difficult to express ideas with...

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Thanks for reading my essay, I am glad you enjoyed it. Indeed science has been unraveling the truth progressively, and I think that we made a lot of progress in this direction: understanding nuclear energy, electromagnetic radiation, life, evolution, gravity, matter, consciousness, etc. is astonishing. Certainly, due to space limitations it is difficult to express ideas with...

view entire post

Dear Israel Perez,

I enjoyed reading your essay.

Your discussion of negative solutions was very thought provoking. I think it is worth pointing out that sometimes negative solutions should not be dismissed and

do have significant physical meaning. Dirac's finding of the positron comes to mind.

I wonder if all fake negative solutions would go away if we dealt with the right mathematics. For example, we always thing of the whole set of real numbers. Maybe we should do mathematics only with positive real numbers. We always deal with groups. Maybe we should deal with the less familiar monoids.

I also enjoyed you stressing the importance of understanding. I once humorously pointed out to my thesis advisor, Alex Heller, that

there are subatomic particles in nature that follow equations of motion

that human beings cannot solve. And even though humans do not know

where the particles will go, the particles seem to know exactly where to

go. Professor Heller responded by saying that this shows that science has

nothing to do with calculating or predicting. Calculations can be done by

computers. Predictions can be performed by subatomic particles. Science

is about understanding — an ability only human beings possess.

Again, thanks for a great essay.

All the best,

Noson Yanofsky

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I enjoyed reading your essay.

Your discussion of negative solutions was very thought provoking. I think it is worth pointing out that sometimes negative solutions should not be dismissed and

do have significant physical meaning. Dirac's finding of the positron comes to mind.

I wonder if all fake negative solutions would go away if we dealt with the right mathematics. For example, we always thing of the whole set of real numbers. Maybe we should do mathematics only with positive real numbers. We always deal with groups. Maybe we should deal with the less familiar monoids.

I also enjoyed you stressing the importance of understanding. I once humorously pointed out to my thesis advisor, Alex Heller, that

there are subatomic particles in nature that follow equations of motion

that human beings cannot solve. And even though humans do not know

where the particles will go, the particles seem to know exactly where to

go. Professor Heller responded by saying that this shows that science has

nothing to do with calculating or predicting. Calculations can be done by

computers. Predictions can be performed by subatomic particles. Science

is about understanding — an ability only human beings possess.

Again, thanks for a great essay.

All the best,

Noson Yanofsky

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Dear Noson

Thanks for reading my essay and leaving some comments. Indeed, I also mention Dirac in my essay in relation to antimatter and the negative solutions. My work stresses that physical understanding is very important. Unfortunately, in the last decades we have not worked much this understanding and instead we are betting on mathematical description. Thanks for sharing your story with your advisor, indeed, calculations are just a matter of quantifying.

Best Regards

Thanks for reading my essay and leaving some comments. Indeed, I also mention Dirac in my essay in relation to antimatter and the negative solutions. My work stresses that physical understanding is very important. Unfortunately, in the last decades we have not worked much this understanding and instead we are betting on mathematical description. Thanks for sharing your story with your advisor, indeed, calculations are just a matter of quantifying.

Best Regards

Dear Izrael,

Your essay is very interesting. I completely agree with you that physical understanding is very important and in my essay I try to prove it on concrete examples. One mathematical model can have several interpretations and one physical phenomenon can be described by different mathematical models. The force of physics is in the possibility to combine different methods of cognition in order to find the correct solution. Without experiments and math physics is philosophy as it was at the very beginning. But without physical understanding and experimental confirmations physics can turn into mathematical philosophy.

I wish you good luck

Boris

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Your essay is very interesting. I completely agree with you that physical understanding is very important and in my essay I try to prove it on concrete examples. One mathematical model can have several interpretations and one physical phenomenon can be described by different mathematical models. The force of physics is in the possibility to combine different methods of cognition in order to find the correct solution. Without experiments and math physics is philosophy as it was at the very beginning. But without physical understanding and experimental confirmations physics can turn into mathematical philosophy.

I wish you good luck

Boris

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Dear Izrael,

Interesting essay. The message mathematics is an amazingly useful tool but that we do need to talk about the real world is an important one. Indeed, claiming the universe is made of mathematics is pure untestable metaphysics, a claim quite beyond our abilities. At the very least, our current ones.

Best,

André

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Interesting essay. The message mathematics is an amazingly useful tool but that we do need to talk about the real world is an important one. Indeed, claiming the universe is made of mathematics is pure untestable metaphysics, a claim quite beyond our abilities. At the very least, our current ones.

Best,

André

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Greetings Israel Perez

To respond to your last paragraph: “… that mathematical beauty is not enough to tell the whole story, and to achieve a solid knowledge we should work out a physical understanding. The history of physics has shown that physical understanding is crucial to make headway in this field; otherwise we might continue lost in math and measurements.”

I must submit that math can and does obstruct –

especially when that math describes things not observed in real life that becomes the basis of physics – as in de Sitter’s expanding space – Friedman’s creation of the world from nothing – and Lemaître notation – “If the world has begun with a single quantum…” these all obscure applicable common 3D physics hiding the physics of the Big Bang.

It is proposed that any evidence describing the Big Bang is beyond science’s reach and yet this essay of mine entered January 18th*Common 3D Physics Depicts Universe Emerging From Chaos * presents a plausible explanation with plenty of current replicable evidence describing ‘Reality.’ Check it out.

Regards

Charles Sven

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To respond to your last paragraph: “… that mathematical beauty is not enough to tell the whole story, and to achieve a solid knowledge we should work out a physical understanding. The history of physics has shown that physical understanding is crucial to make headway in this field; otherwise we might continue lost in math and measurements.”

I must submit that math can and does obstruct –

especially when that math describes things not observed in real life that becomes the basis of physics – as in de Sitter’s expanding space – Friedman’s creation of the world from nothing – and Lemaître notation – “If the world has begun with a single quantum…” these all obscure applicable common 3D physics hiding the physics of the Big Bang.

It is proposed that any evidence describing the Big Bang is beyond science’s reach and yet this essay of mine entered January 18th

Regards

Charles Sven

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Dear Charles

Thanks for reading my essay and commenting. My essay is about finding an equilibrium between our physical understanding and mathematical objects. In this work, I discuss a couple of instances where physical understanding sees things that math doesn't. However, the opposite is also true. Mathematical symmetry has predicted physical reality that our physical understanding was not able to foresee, for this reason both aspects are important. I will try to find some spare time to read your essay and leave some comments. Thanks again.

Best regards

Israel

Thanks for reading my essay and commenting. My essay is about finding an equilibrium between our physical understanding and mathematical objects. In this work, I discuss a couple of instances where physical understanding sees things that math doesn't. However, the opposite is also true. Mathematical symmetry has predicted physical reality that our physical understanding was not able to foresee, for this reason both aspects are important. I will try to find some spare time to read your essay and leave some comments. Thanks again.

Best regards

Israel

Dear Israel,

Your essay is very interesting and well written. The relation of mathematics and physics is a fundamental issue. Tegmark is championing radical thesis that physics is mathematics. This of course sounds like a metaphysical belief but the "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics" when applied to physics can not be just brushed away. Thinking along these lines I developed approach in which uncomputability is foundational, Theory of Everything has to be founded on it but in a very peculiar way. This is sketched in my essay.

Best regards,

Irek

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Your essay is very interesting and well written. The relation of mathematics and physics is a fundamental issue. Tegmark is championing radical thesis that physics is mathematics. This of course sounds like a metaphysical belief but the "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics" when applied to physics can not be just brushed away. Thinking along these lines I developed approach in which uncomputability is foundational, Theory of Everything has to be founded on it but in a very peculiar way. This is sketched in my essay.

Best regards,

Irek

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Dear Irek

Thanks for your comments and reading my essay. For me metaphysics is an old term to describe aspects that are beyond the physical realm. But, accepting the existence of metaphysical entities implies the acceptance of a metaphysical world. I therefore, deny the existence of metaphysical entities along with that world, I only accept a physical world and ideas or abstractions as part of this world, after all, the process of thinking is also a physical process that demands energy consumption. So mathematics as a way our brain has for representing the world is quite acceptable. I guess, the success of applying math to physics comes from this physical essence. I will do my best to try to find some spare time to read your essay which sounds interesting.

Regards

Israel

Thanks for your comments and reading my essay. For me metaphysics is an old term to describe aspects that are beyond the physical realm. But, accepting the existence of metaphysical entities implies the acceptance of a metaphysical world. I therefore, deny the existence of metaphysical entities along with that world, I only accept a physical world and ideas or abstractions as part of this world, after all, the process of thinking is also a physical process that demands energy consumption. So mathematics as a way our brain has for representing the world is quite acceptable. I guess, the success of applying math to physics comes from this physical essence. I will do my best to try to find some spare time to read your essay which sounds interesting.

Regards

Israel

Dear Israel,

Thank you for your comments placed in my thread, they are valuable as I can see from them where my arguments should be clarified and sharpened to make them clear. I am replying here to reach you easier.

You write "I also support the view that we should develop a physical understanding to have a complete view of reality." This of course is fundamental issue. Position of...

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Thank you for your comments placed in my thread, they are valuable as I can see from them where my arguments should be clarified and sharpened to make them clear. I am replying here to reach you easier.

You write "I also support the view that we should develop a physical understanding to have a complete view of reality." This of course is fundamental issue. Position of...

view entire post

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Lovely Essay,

Checkout the long form version of my essay where I too compare the human brain to a supercomputer that is actively processing information about the physical universe

Please take a look at my essay A grand Introduction to Darwinian mechanic

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3549

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Checkout the long form version of my essay where I too compare the human brain to a supercomputer that is actively processing information about the physical universe

Please take a look at my essay A grand Introduction to Darwinian mechanic

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3549

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Dear Israel,

what a refreshing essay. I usually do not consider to read an all-caps-title-essay, (Why did you do that?), but I'm glad I did. I think, I knew your name from your arxiv article on the physicist's view of the universe.

I like your approach to physics. As fascinating some of more modern information theoretic approaches to quantum foundations are, I miss the physics sometimes. It is so different to read the 'old ones' on foundational questions.

I have a few questions though. Where did Landau and Lifshitz exclude inertial frames? Didn't they just say, that between the inertial frames non is preferred?

Regarding the rotational motion, I did not know, that statement (2) is accepted as false by most physicist. How and when did this change come? I somehow missed that.

In my own investigations on time dependent symmetries (within quantum mechanics), I asked myself why does the translation symmetry remain a symmetry, if we make it time dependent and the rotational not. The answer I found was basically: For rotational symmetry to hold on subsystems the environment must be isotropic. Introducing a global time dependent rotation introduces a direction in the environment and hence breaks the isotropy. Group theoretical arguments where enough to show this.

In my own essay symmetry plays a prominent role and the question under which conditions measurements are well defined and so also concepts of the laws or properties of objects or systems. It would be a pleasure if you would find the time to read and give your opinion on my essay.

Best regards,

Luca

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what a refreshing essay. I usually do not consider to read an all-caps-title-essay, (Why did you do that?), but I'm glad I did. I think, I knew your name from your arxiv article on the physicist's view of the universe.

I like your approach to physics. As fascinating some of more modern information theoretic approaches to quantum foundations are, I miss the physics sometimes. It is so different to read the 'old ones' on foundational questions.

I have a few questions though. Where did Landau and Lifshitz exclude inertial frames? Didn't they just say, that between the inertial frames non is preferred?

Regarding the rotational motion, I did not know, that statement (2) is accepted as false by most physicist. How and when did this change come? I somehow missed that.

In my own investigations on time dependent symmetries (within quantum mechanics), I asked myself why does the translation symmetry remain a symmetry, if we make it time dependent and the rotational not. The answer I found was basically: For rotational symmetry to hold on subsystems the environment must be isotropic. Introducing a global time dependent rotation introduces a direction in the environment and hence breaks the isotropy. Group theoretical arguments where enough to show this.

In my own essay symmetry plays a prominent role and the question under which conditions measurements are well defined and so also concepts of the laws or properties of objects or systems. It would be a pleasure if you would find the time to read and give your opinion on my essay.

Best regards,

Luca

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Dear Luca,

Thanks a lot for reading my essay and leaving some comments. I am glad you like my essay. I am sorry I could not reply before, but I am overwhelm with my academic activities. The article from arxiv was published about 10 years ago, when I was still a graduate student. Some things have changed since then.

As for your first question the answer is: In their quote they are clearly excluding the absolute frame of reference which is also inertial. As for the second question the answer is: no! They say that Galilean relativity implies that there is no absolute frame of reference that should be preferred to other frames. In other words, they are denying absolute motion and embracing only relative motion as real phenomenon. This clearly contradicts Newton's theory. When we remove the absolute frame, there is no absolute motion; all motion becomes relative in the same sense of special relativity. But relativism is not the hearth of Newton's theory for this relies in absolute motion, absolute time, and absolute position. They are absolute because it is assumed that there is an absolute frame. It seems that many people do not see this distinction.

As for the third question: Since Galileo we know that the Earth rotates absolutely. Newton understood very well the distinction between absolute and relative motion. No physicist thinks that the universe rotates, for as we learned from Newton, we understand that the apparent motion of the stars in a day is due to the absolute rotation of the Earth.

I hope I have clarified your doubts, in any case please let me know. I will do my best to read your essay and comment on it.

Best Regards

Israel

Thanks a lot for reading my essay and leaving some comments. I am glad you like my essay. I am sorry I could not reply before, but I am overwhelm with my academic activities. The article from arxiv was published about 10 years ago, when I was still a graduate student. Some things have changed since then.

As for your first question the answer is: In their quote they are clearly excluding the absolute frame of reference which is also inertial. As for the second question the answer is: no! They say that Galilean relativity implies that there is no absolute frame of reference that should be preferred to other frames. In other words, they are denying absolute motion and embracing only relative motion as real phenomenon. This clearly contradicts Newton's theory. When we remove the absolute frame, there is no absolute motion; all motion becomes relative in the same sense of special relativity. But relativism is not the hearth of Newton's theory for this relies in absolute motion, absolute time, and absolute position. They are absolute because it is assumed that there is an absolute frame. It seems that many people do not see this distinction.

As for the third question: Since Galileo we know that the Earth rotates absolutely. Newton understood very well the distinction between absolute and relative motion. No physicist thinks that the universe rotates, for as we learned from Newton, we understand that the apparent motion of the stars in a day is due to the absolute rotation of the Earth.

I hope I have clarified your doubts, in any case please let me know. I will do my best to read your essay and comment on it.

Best Regards

Israel

Dear Israel,

Thanks for your explanation. But does not Galilean relativity follow from Newtons law? Hence from the laws no absolute frame can be singled out. This does means, that Newton uses concepts and explanation, that go beyond, what the laws can express. But then how can these concepts like absolute space be defined and be understood.

Don't get me wrong. I can understand, that a theory might contain more, than just the formal language. There might also be the need of a meta language of how to apply the formal language. Sometime I am just puzzle how we can get an understanding of this language.

Luca

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Thanks for your explanation. But does not Galilean relativity follow from Newtons law? Hence from the laws no absolute frame can be singled out. This does means, that Newton uses concepts and explanation, that go beyond, what the laws can express. But then how can these concepts like absolute space be defined and be understood.

Don't get me wrong. I can understand, that a theory might contain more, than just the formal language. There might also be the need of a meta language of how to apply the formal language. Sometime I am just puzzle how we can get an understanding of this language.

Luca

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Dear Luca

Indeed, Galilean relativity is just a theorem derived from the laws. Newton was aware that absolute motion cannot be distinguished from relative one in inertial frames (this means that as long as we stay in inertial frames one cannot single out absolute motion, this is Galilean relativity). However, he claimed that it is possible to distinguish absolute motion from relative one by forces and accelerations. For this he envisioned the famous bucket experiment and some others. See Steven Weinberg discussion.

Cheers

Israel

Indeed, Galilean relativity is just a theorem derived from the laws. Newton was aware that absolute motion cannot be distinguished from relative one in inertial frames (this means that as long as we stay in inertial frames one cannot single out absolute motion, this is Galilean relativity). However, he claimed that it is possible to distinguish absolute motion from relative one by forces and accelerations. For this he envisioned the famous bucket experiment and some others. See Steven Weinberg discussion.

Cheers

Israel

Dear Israel,

How interesting!

What would you say about situations where exactly the same maths describes two completely different physical interpretations? Would this not support your assertion that it’s not just about the maths?

You may be interested in a couple of things that I have discovered and that are discussed in my essay.

First, if you imagine a world where all change travels at the same speed in an absolute space, then, clearly, that world would not be relative. However, it turns out that a clock that moves around in such a world will slow down, contract along it's direction of motion, and increase in mass, all in accordance with the equations of Special Relativity. The maths can, therefore, apply to both an absolute and a relative world.

Second, it is possible to use the maths of quantum electrodynamics (a quantum theory about photons and electrons) to describe a Universe made of just quantity, direction and change, and where photons and electrons don’t actually exist at all. The maths, therefore applies both to a world with electrons and photons, and a world without them.

All the very best,

David

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How interesting!

What would you say about situations where exactly the same maths describes two completely different physical interpretations? Would this not support your assertion that it’s not just about the maths?

You may be interested in a couple of things that I have discovered and that are discussed in my essay.

First, if you imagine a world where all change travels at the same speed in an absolute space, then, clearly, that world would not be relative. However, it turns out that a clock that moves around in such a world will slow down, contract along it's direction of motion, and increase in mass, all in accordance with the equations of Special Relativity. The maths can, therefore, apply to both an absolute and a relative world.

Second, it is possible to use the maths of quantum electrodynamics (a quantum theory about photons and electrons) to describe a Universe made of just quantity, direction and change, and where photons and electrons don’t actually exist at all. The maths, therefore applies both to a world with electrons and photons, and a world without them.

All the very best,

David

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Dear David

I am happy you liked my essay, thanks for leaving some comments. As for your question, that situation has happened in the past with the helicentric and the geocentric models. Both models made similar mathematical predictions. Another example is Snell's law that can be derived assuming that light is a particle or a wave. Here we have two different physical understandings (interpretations) of the same phenomenon with the same math. In this case, we are still uncertain as to what light is, wave or particle or both. So, this means that there is a deep reality behind and more investigations are required to settle this matter. Maybe strings or solitons!

I will try to find some spare time to read your essay which seems interesting.

Regards

Israel

I am happy you liked my essay, thanks for leaving some comments. As for your question, that situation has happened in the past with the helicentric and the geocentric models. Both models made similar mathematical predictions. Another example is Snell's law that can be derived assuming that light is a particle or a wave. Here we have two different physical understandings (interpretations) of the same phenomenon with the same math. In this case, we are still uncertain as to what light is, wave or particle or both. So, this means that there is a deep reality behind and more investigations are required to settle this matter. Maybe strings or solitons!

I will try to find some spare time to read your essay which seems interesting.

Regards

Israel

Dear Dr. Perez,

I enjoyed reading your essay, which argues that physical understanding (which is perhaps better known as physical intuition) may provide a better guide to promoting progress in physics than either abstract mathematics or experimental measurements.

I agree. I would take this argument a bit further, pointing out the importance of confirmation bias in the design and interpretation of complex experiments. We should not be trying to prove that a given theory is correct; rather, we should design experiments that could prove the theory incorrect.

In my own essay, ”The Uncertain Future of Physics and Computing”, I point out that the developing technology of quantum computing provides the first significant application of quantum entanglement, and therefore provides a major test of quantum foundations. But the experimental measurements thus far in quantum computing have been designed to confirm the orthodox theory, not to test it.

I predict that the entire technology of quantum computing will fail catastrophically within a few years. This may provide an opportunity for a reexamination of the foundations of quantum mechanics.

Alan Kadin

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I enjoyed reading your essay, which argues that physical understanding (which is perhaps better known as physical intuition) may provide a better guide to promoting progress in physics than either abstract mathematics or experimental measurements.

I agree. I would take this argument a bit further, pointing out the importance of confirmation bias in the design and interpretation of complex experiments. We should not be trying to prove that a given theory is correct; rather, we should design experiments that could prove the theory incorrect.

In my own essay, ”The Uncertain Future of Physics and Computing”, I point out that the developing technology of quantum computing provides the first significant application of quantum entanglement, and therefore provides a major test of quantum foundations. But the experimental measurements thus far in quantum computing have been designed to confirm the orthodox theory, not to test it.

I predict that the entire technology of quantum computing will fail catastrophically within a few years. This may provide an opportunity for a reexamination of the foundations of quantum mechanics.

Alan Kadin

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Dear Dr. Kadin

Thanks for reading my essay and commenting. I am glad you found it interesting. I would not say that physical understanding and physical intuition are synonyms. Intuition means: the ability to understand something immediately from instinctive feeling, without the need for conscious reasoning. Since intuition is related to "instinctive feelings without conscious reasoning", I reject to accept them as synonyms. Physical understanding, as I conceive it, is an understanding with conscious reasoning, with a well-reasoned complex picture of a phenomenon in mind, based on scientific observations and a well founded theoretical framework (not necessarily a mathematical framework). For this reason, I do not name it physical intuition or common sense. For instance, in the example about the electron in a box, I argue that the option n=0 is physically meaningless because this implies that k=0, which means that there is no electron wave in the box. Another way to mathematically say this, is that the wavefunction must satisfy both the Schrodinger equation and the normalization condition. The latter must be 1 for the whole space interval where the electron is supposed to be. If the integral of the square of the wavefunction were zero, there would be no electron in the box; this result also occurs when k=0. To me this is not an intuitive understanding (based on instinct or without conscious reasoning) but rather a physical understanding.

Quantum computing is an exciting topic. I am also interested in discussing topics on quantum mechanics. Both quantum mechanics and general relativity have been widely exploited by a century and, according to Thomas Kuhn, they are both in decadence, I guess they have not much to say. We need new theories. I would be happy to see your view on these matters. Thanks for calling my attention.

Best Regards

Israel

Thanks for reading my essay and commenting. I am glad you found it interesting. I would not say that physical understanding and physical intuition are synonyms. Intuition means: the ability to understand something immediately from instinctive feeling, without the need for conscious reasoning. Since intuition is related to "instinctive feelings without conscious reasoning", I reject to accept them as synonyms. Physical understanding, as I conceive it, is an understanding with conscious reasoning, with a well-reasoned complex picture of a phenomenon in mind, based on scientific observations and a well founded theoretical framework (not necessarily a mathematical framework). For this reason, I do not name it physical intuition or common sense. For instance, in the example about the electron in a box, I argue that the option n=0 is physically meaningless because this implies that k=0, which means that there is no electron wave in the box. Another way to mathematically say this, is that the wavefunction must satisfy both the Schrodinger equation and the normalization condition. The latter must be 1 for the whole space interval where the electron is supposed to be. If the integral of the square of the wavefunction were zero, there would be no electron in the box; this result also occurs when k=0. To me this is not an intuitive understanding (based on instinct or without conscious reasoning) but rather a physical understanding.

Quantum computing is an exciting topic. I am also interested in discussing topics on quantum mechanics. Both quantum mechanics and general relativity have been widely exploited by a century and, according to Thomas Kuhn, they are both in decadence, I guess they have not much to say. We need new theories. I would be happy to see your view on these matters. Thanks for calling my attention.

Best Regards

Israel

Dear Israel,

I greatly appreciated your work and discussion. I am very glad that you are not thinking in abstract patterns.

"By reasoning which will be studied in this volume, we may arrive at the conviction that it is necessary to introduce wavesinto the theory of matter and to do it in the following way....

By this simple reasoning and without resorting to mathematical symmetry (as opposed to Dirac discovery ofantimatter) but to physical symmetry, De Broglie was able to develop his famous relation:p=h/λ. This exampleteaches us that physical understanding can some times see where math can not".

While the discussion lasted, I wrote an article: “Practical guidance on calculating resonant frequencies at four levels of diagnosis and inactivation of COVID-19 coronavirus”, due to the high relevance of this topic. The work is based on the practical solution of problems in quantum mechanics, presented in the essay FQXi 2019-2020 “Universal quantum laws of the universe to solve the problems of unsolvability, computability and unpredictability”.

I hope that my modest results of work will provide you with information for thought.

Warm Regards, `

Vladimir

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I greatly appreciated your work and discussion. I am very glad that you are not thinking in abstract patterns.

"By reasoning which will be studied in this volume, we may arrive at the conviction that it is necessary to introduce wavesinto the theory of matter and to do it in the following way....

By this simple reasoning and without resorting to mathematical symmetry (as opposed to Dirac discovery ofantimatter) but to physical symmetry, De Broglie was able to develop his famous relation:p=h/λ. This exampleteaches us that physical understanding can some times see where math can not".

While the discussion lasted, I wrote an article: “Practical guidance on calculating resonant frequencies at four levels of diagnosis and inactivation of COVID-19 coronavirus”, due to the high relevance of this topic. The work is based on the practical solution of problems in quantum mechanics, presented in the essay FQXi 2019-2020 “Universal quantum laws of the universe to solve the problems of unsolvability, computability and unpredictability”.

I hope that my modest results of work will provide you with information for thought.

Warm Regards, `

Vladimir

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