hozhai (hozhai) wrote,

When a discovery is made?

Интересные слова говорим: http://shkrobius.livejournal.com/163385.html
Речь идёт о том, как идентифицировать момент какого-либо открытия и можно ли это в принципе сделать?

На мой взгляд -- нет. Чаще всего мы можем более или менее уверенно сказать: в момент t1 открытия ещё не было, а в моvент t2 оно уже было (t2>t1). В какой момент на отрезке [t1, t2] оно появилось? Вопрос праздный и однозначного ответа не имеющий.

In a sence, это ещё один фундаментальный принцип неопределённости (поклон в сторону могилы Гейзенберга). 

Краткое изложение беседы:

Shkrobius: Discovery has little to do with observations. Discovery is when a fact is recognized as necessary truth that significantly modifies the entire outlook. The confusing bit is that sometimes a new observation immediately leads to a discovery (in this sense) as the fact speaks for itself -- or there is a theory that recognizes its import. Newton is great not only for finding the three laws of motion, but also in realization of their significance; so is Kepler, etc. Such situations are infrequent. The usual fate of the important observation is rotting in oblivion, because its importance is not recognized.

Hozhai: Discovery takes place as a result of a sequence of observations and judgements. It may look like that: o + j. Or it may be o + j + o + o + j + o. When we talk about stubborn facts we mean judgements cannot contradict observations in those chains.

Shkrobius: I am not saying that observations are unimportant. I am saying that observations have nothing to do with discovery, because the latter is, if you prefer, creating a model of relaity in which this observation is important.

Hozhai:  Yes, I understand your point. I cannot say you are wrong about that. But I cannot say you are right either. In you approach, discoveries are separated from observations. You may insist on that, but it looks strange to me. In my approach, there is an intrinsic interconnection between them, i.e. observations are parts of discoveries.

The explanation behind my point is as follows. Consider a situation when a model has been created after a set of observations. A researcher may say, for example, OK the model is more or less satisfactory. But it is not a discovery yet, because I am not happy with some details. I need some extra experiments, i.e. observations. Only after that I will be able to talk about a discovery. Or I will not be able to do that. Thus a new stage of discovery starts.

Shkrobius: The moment someone's worldview has changed is the moment of discovery. There is no demarcation line.

Hozhai: When comeone's worldview changes? At the moment when an initial vague idea comes to his/her mind? Or at the moment when a hyposesis is formed? Or when it becomes a theory? Or when other people start sharing the knowledge? Or somewhere in between? When exactly?
One never knows.

Shkrobius: It changes when it changes. I guess it never happened to you; you'd notice.

Hozhai: I guess you also know the exact time within one's life, when a person stops being a child. I hope you noticed. Please tell me the answer.

Shkrobius: If you were consistent in your logic, the discoveries would never made because the place of the observation is constantly changing and so its judgment. If you have infinite life, being young is meaningless.

Hozhai: According to your queer logic, if a person does not know the exact moment of becoming adult, he|she never becomes adult.
Who is inconsistent then?

Shkrobius: What is queer about this logic? Surely everyone can name the exact event that made them to come of age or realize coming of age. If a person does not realize the exact moment of becoming an adult, maybe this person has never become an adult... Being an adult is viewing life as an adult, and this clearly involves retrospection.

Hozhai: However the queerest consequence of your answer is inability of making decision about adultness of someone else. To clarify the question you should always ask various people: Have you already experienced the event that made you come of age? It is funny.

In most cases, we do not need someone's retrospection to make a decision about his|her adultness.
All we need is a number of external reasonable criteria.

Consider a rainbow. What is the exact wavelength of the border between red and orange in a rainbow? It is a matterof mere agreement. We do not have any reasonable and indisputable means to say: that is the exact border between red and orange. Discoveries are like borders within a rainbow, not like mathematical smooth curves.

Shkrobius: Funny or not, childishness of their husbands is the universal complaint of wives.

Either E=mc2 or E=/=mc2, etc. Where are these smooth borders?

Hozhai: Now you say that wives can make a decision about adultness of their husbands without husbands' retrospection. It is yet another funny contradiction in your statements.

Blurry borders are not in facts. They are in time.

When the discovey of E=mc2 took place? Did it happen when the formula was mathematically written for the first time? Did it happen when the calculations were checked for possible mistakes? Did it happen after some understanding appeared? Did it happen after discussions with scientists? Did it happen after the community obtained the fact? Did it happen after some experiments? When exactly? Unlike you, I do not know when. But I know that E=mc2.

Shkrobius: As soon as relativistic equation of motion was written.

Hozhai: In my opinion, when the formula had been written, the author exclaimed: "Wow! In a way, it looks like energy and mass are equivalent! It would be great to arrange an experiment to make sure!"

Only after the experiment we can talk about true understanding. Physics is not about writting formulae. Mathematics is only an instrument. Mathematical results must always be verified.

Shkrobius: No, it was accepted completely and fully not as a hypothesis, but as the only logical possibility. You ignore the fact that "experiment" tells nothing. What experiment tells is interpreted by theory. If you do not have the conceptual framework, experiments are useless.

Hozhai: I cannot agree with that. In fact, the theory of relativity was born as a resut of experiments to measure the speed of light. It appeared, all of a sudden, that light is a very strange object whose speed cannot be relative. On the contrary, it is always constant and absolute. The theory of relativity (for which the constancy of the speed of light is just a postulate) cannot explain the fact. Instead, it concentrates on consequences. No logic could produce the theory of relativity without experiments to measure the speed of light. In a way, E=mc2 is the concequence of those experiments, not of any 'conceptual framework'.

In physics, there are lots of strange facts that are beyond logic. Why does the light 'refuse' to comply with our good old principles of manipulation with velocities? I do not see much logic in the fact. It is just the result of many experiments.

Tags: imho

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