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Thread: Humour in the Science Lab - Spot the theory....

  1. #1 Humour in the Science Lab - Spot the theory.... 
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    I am much amused at the number of theories chucked around, some fail at the first hurdle, some last a while longer. When it comes to the meaning of the universe there seem more theories than grains of sand on the Beach. We keep theories all while they appear to fit the 'facts', they are mostly conjecture and, mostly NOT fact.

    Suppose for example you open a door and enter a room lit by a single glass portal, within the room you see a dead parrot and a few pieces of rubber scraps (too small to discern anything other than it was rubber). You notice a foul (as opposed to fowl) smell, and there is a stain on the floor.

    Newton might contend that the bird died of starvation as there was no sign of food present (or bird droppings), he may also conclude the rubber was irrelevant. A simple explanation that anybody could understand.

    Einstein might (after a great deal of thought) decide the bird had learnt to play squash but had been hit by the ball on a rebound, after failing to realise that eventually the ball would come back and hit him irrespective of the direction he initially struck the ball. THe ball had perished with time. When asked about the stain he said "I will explain that in a second theory"

    Boyle would contend that the rubber had been part of a ballon filled with gas which when pecked by the bird (searching for sustenance) had ruptured resulting in asphixiation/shock. He might also add that this is confirmed by the peculiar smell.

    The quantum physicist might decide the rubber was infact the decayed remains of the bird's eggshell - the egg had appeared along with an anti-egg but a stray photon of light had struck the anti-egg causing an imbalance to occur before the eggs could re-unite and cancel as normal. The anti- egg fell to the floor where in contact with 'normal' matter it dissappeard leaving only a stain. Some might recognise 'Hawking radiation' here - any similarity is completely intended. After a while the physicist was able to modify his hypothesis in the light of obvious flaws.


    I used to think science was about observing some natural phenomena and then through a process of experiment, providing an explanation which others could also prove. Up until Einstein we could all understand science, many of us repeated the experiments of others in our classrooms and got the same results. Science used to be FACT. Today it seems more fiction.
    Sure if enough people make enough guess's about the big bang one of them will coincide with the truth, but it's the same for the monkeys, the typewriters, and the complete works of Shakespeare.


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  3. #2  
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    Indeed, there are many discliplines in Science.

    There are cold hard facts that we can see from experiments that are repeatable to everyone carrying out the same experiment under the same conditions.

    Then there are mathematical proofs of experiments that aren't yet capable of being carried out.

    And then there is theoretical science, where we dream up experiments that we cannot mathmatically prove, or prove by observation.

    We need to be open IMO to all scientific principles. Its sad that theorists and mathmaticians dont generally get along. They need eachother.

    The psychology of mathmaticians is generally strict, rigid and methodical, and sometimes they need the spark of creative thinking from theorists, while theorists need the mathmaticians to call bullshit from time to time to keep their imagination in check.

    And if you can keep it humourous all the better.

    Do you ever think to yourself (and take this non-offensively) that because you are mature, that you have become set in your ways - and age, comfort and security has made you resistant to change? Im sure cognitive dissonance must factor into some point of your reasoning process, and that would be entirly natural. Do you feel like everything you have taken as fact for your life, is eroding into insecurity?

    http://146.227.1.20/~jamesa//learning/dissonance.htm


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    To be honest I do not think I am set in my ways. I am still learning, If I don't exercise the grey stuff it'll deteriorate like the rest. I do however find some of the more exotic theories a little difficult, If anything I am dismayed that, having been a practical engineer all my life, I am no longer personally able to conduct experiment to prove a theory.

    Much these days is down to thought experiments, if you travel in a straight line eventually you will come back to where you started I think I have been told somewhere..

    From this I think.... the sun's rays travel outward in all directions - will they all meet up again? - that'd burn a hole in your ass as you travel through space! - will one of these 'focal' points ever track across the asteroid belt? - a cosmic laser with a power of 4.14x10^26 Watts vaporising everything in it's path! - see the old imagination's still there!

    So it's more a yearning for simpler times, but hell that's human eh?
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    certainly is.

    yet they keep messing with us
    http://www.newscientistspace.com/article/mg19125701.100
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcUK
    certainly is.

    yet they keep messing with us
    http://www.newscientistspace.com/article/mg19125701.100
    Maybe Beagle 2 was the first casualty...

    And there's hope yet for my self-contained mechanical space-engine!
    .... maybe I shan't throw the plans away just yet..
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcUK
    The psychology of mathmaticians is generally strict, rigid and methodical, and sometimes they need the spark of creative thinking from theorists, while theorists need the mathmaticians to call bullshit from time to time to keep their imagination in check.
    Haha great line Seems true.
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    Quote Originally Posted by densmin
    Quote Originally Posted by marcUK
    The psychology of mathmaticians is generally strict, rigid and methodical, and sometimes they need the spark of creative thinking from theorists, while theorists need the mathmaticians to call bullshit from time to time to keep their imagination in check.
    Haha great line Seems true.
    Actually, the theorists are the mathematical type. It is the experimentalists that must keep the imaginations of theorists and mathematicians in check.

    cheers
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by william
    Quote Originally Posted by densmin
    Quote Originally Posted by marcUK
    The psychology of mathmaticians is generally strict, rigid and methodical, and sometimes they need the spark of creative thinking from theorists, while theorists need the mathmaticians to call bullshit from time to time to keep their imagination in check.
    Haha great line Seems true.
    Actually, the theorists are the mathematical type. It is the experimentalists that must keep the imaginations of theorists and mathematicians in check.

    cheers
    In order to get to 1 million posts I disagree, many theorists in the history of Quantum physics were not primarily mathematicians.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    Quote Originally Posted by william
    Quote Originally Posted by densmin
    Quote Originally Posted by marcUK
    The psychology of mathmaticians is generally strict, rigid and methodical, and sometimes they need the spark of creative thinking from theorists, while theorists need the mathmaticians to call bullshit from time to time to keep their imagination in check.
    Haha great line Seems true.
    Actually, the theorists are the mathematical type. It is the experimentalists that must keep the imaginations of theorists and mathematicians in check.

    cheers
    In order to get to 1 million posts I disagree, many theorists in the history of Quantum physics were not primarily mathematicians.
    Edward Witten, a theoretical physicist, won the Fields Medal in mathematics not that long ago....

    cheers
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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