[ExI] Discontent with the path physics is taking
spike66 at att.net
Wed Aug 17 17:31:34 UTC 2011
From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Dan
Subject: Re: [ExI] Discontent with the path physics is taking
Thanks for responding to this. To play Devil's Advocate, what about, say, QCD. That theory had little practical application, yet it seems like a fairly successful and fruitful area of research. And were we to go back further, one might wonder about the work of Kepler. Little immediate application, though the long term pay out, especially once it was integrated with other work, seems quite large. Might not the same be possible for string theory?
Ja, good point. Note that QCD (my limited grasp of it) is really more of a description than it is an explanation. Every attempt at an explanation-based approach to quantum physics sounds baffling and crazy. Second, the many applications of QCD do not depend on understanding QCD. Engineers don’t worry that the physicists are apparently insane, don’t necessarily read their books. The Josephson junction works fine, even when it looks to me like it should be impossible. I use them anyway. A particle doesn’t care if I don’t understand how it can tunnel through an energy barrier.
I am one who enjoys blowing my mind with physical theory, cosmology, the awesomeness of nature. But even I see string theory as an exclusive playground of the top level physicists. They left me behind soon after general relativity was discovered in the early 1900s. I have tried to follow, but the equations just don’t translate well to words, any more than hip hop translates to the saxophone.
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