Both Quanta Magazine and New Scientist reported on some renewed interest in an old idea. It was an approach to particle physics, proposed by theoretical physicist Geoffrey Chew in the 1960s, that ignored questions about which particles were most elementary and put a major portion of the weight of discovery on mathematics. […]
When I read the subheading in a recent Scientific American article, it brought me back to some 18th century thoughts which I recently reviewed. The subheading of a piece by Clara Moskowitz’s that describes a new effort in theoretical physics reads:
Hundreds of researchers in a collaborative project called “It from Qubit” say space and […]
Random is often the word chosen to describe something that has no order. But randomness has become an increasingly useful tool in mathematics, a discipline whose meaningfulness relies, primarily, on order.
In statistics, randomness as a measure of uncertainty, makes possible the identification of events, whether sociopolitical or physical, with the use of probability distributions. […]
In 2011 John Horgan posted a piece on his blog, Cross Check (part of the Scientific American blog network), with the title, Why Information can’t be the basis of reality. There Horgan makes the observation that the “everything-is-information meme violates common sense.” As of last December (at least) he hadn’t changed his mind. He referred […]
Quanta magazine has a piece on a recent conference in Munich where scientists and philosophers discussed the history and future of scientific inquiry. The meeting seems to have been mostly motivated by two things. The first of these is found in the diminishing prospects for physics experiments – energy levels that can’t be reached by […]
I’ve been reading Rebecca Goldstein’s Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel which, together with my finding David Mumford’s Why I am a Platonist, has kept me a bit more preoccupied, of late, with Platonism. This is not an entirely new preoccupation. I remember one of my early philosophy teacher’s periodically blurting out, “See, […]
Looking through some blog sites that I once frequented (but have recently neglected) I saw that John Horgan’s Cross Check had a piece on George Johnson’s book Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith, and the Search for Order. This quickly caught my attention because Horgan and Johnson figured prominently in my mind in the late […]
In a recent Scientific American article, the late physicist Victor Stenger, along with authors James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian argue that, while not acknowledged as such, some interpretations of quantum mechanics are implicitly platonic (with a lower-case p).
We will use platonism with a lower-case “p” here to refer to the belief that the […]
The analysis of collective behavior is quickly becoming cross-disciplinary. I wrote a few years ago about a study that analyzed the coordination of starling flocks. That post was based on the work of Thierry Mora and William Bialek, presented in their paper Are Biological Systems Poised at Criticality. The paper was published in the Journal […]
As I read more discussions of the relationship between mathematics and physics, I find that what mathematics might reveal about how physical science progresses becomes an increasingly interesting question.
I recently found the text of a lecture given by Paul Dirac in 1939. It was reproduced on the occasion of the Dirac Centennial Celebration organized […]