Tagged: Byron Jennings Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 3:29 pm on January 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Byron Jennings, ,   

    From Byron Jennings of TRIUMF at Quantum Diaries: “The Role of the Individual in Science and Religion” 

    bj
    Byron Jennings

    “Lady Hope (1842 – 1922)[1] in 1915 published a claim that Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) on his death bed had recanted his views on evolution and God. This story published thirty-three years after Darwin’s death was strongly denied by his family but has made the rounds of various creationist publications and web sites to this day. Now my question is: Why would anyone care? It may be of interest to historians but nothing Darwin wrote, said, or did has any consequences for evolution today. The theory itself and the evidence supporting it have moved far beyond Darwin. But this story does serve to highlight the different role of individuals in science as compared to religion or even philosophy.

    I have always considered it strange that philosophy places such importance on reading the works of long dead people—Aristotle, Descartes, etc. In science, Newton’s ideas trumped those of both Aristotle and Descartes, yet very few scientists today read Newton’s works. His ideas have been taken, clarified, reworked, and simplified. The same thing applies to the scientific writings of other great and long dead scientists. Nothing is gained by going to the older sources. Science advances and the older writings lose their pedagogical value. This is because in science, the ultimate authority is not a person, but observation.”

    Byron strikes again!! A fabulous article. Read the whole article here.

    Participants in Quantum Diaries:

    Fermilab

    Triumf

    US/LHC Blog


    CERN

    Brookhaven Lab

    KEK

     
  • richardmitnick 4:08 pm on January 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Byron Jennings, , ,   

    From Quantum Diaries: Byron Jennings “The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics” 

    Byron Jennings is simply amazing. You can follow his blog here. Looks like one needs to go backwards, through his archive, one post at a time; but it is worth it. I doubt that there are many scientists who can write with the articulate elegance of Bryan Jennings. Here is the introduction to his latest post.

    bj
    Byron Jennings

    January 20th, 2012

    “When I first started dabbling in the dark side and told people I was working on the philosophy of science, the most common response from my colleagues was: Oh the foundations of quantum mechanics? Actually not. For the most part, I find the foundations of quantum mechanics rather boring. Perhaps that is because my view of science has a strong instrumentalist tinge, but the foundations of quantum mechanics have always seemed to me to be trying to fit a quantum reality into a classical framework; the proverbial triangular peg in an hexagonal hole. Take wave-particle duality for example. Wave and particles are classical idealizations. The classical point particle does not exist, even within the context of classical mechanics. It should come as no surprise that when the classical framework breaks down, the concepts from classical mechanics are no longer valid. What quantum mechanics is telling us is only that the classical concepts of waves and particles are no longer valid. Interesting, but nothing to get excited about.”

    And, here is Byron’s concluding of this subject.

    So what is the interpretation of quantum mechanics? An important part seems to be that wave functions are the information the observer has on the quantum system, and is not a property of the quantum system alone. If you do not like that, well there is always instrumentalism, i.e. shut up and calculate.

    See the full post here.

    Participants in Quantum Diaries:

    Fermilab

    Triumf

    US/LHC Blog


    CERN

    Brookhaven Lab

    KEK

     
  • richardmitnick 4:31 pm on December 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Byron Jennings, , ,   

    From Byron Jennings, TRIUMF via Quantum Diaries: “Can Science Answer the ‘Why’ Question?” 

    Byron Jennings is one of the finest and most thoughtful writers we have.

    i1
    Byron Jennings

    “The development of science is often portrayed as a conflict between science and religion, between the natural and the supernatural. But it was equally, if not more so, a conflict with Aristotelian concepts: a change from Aristotle’s emphasis on why to a dominant role for how. To become the mainstream, science had to overcome resistance, first and foremost, from the academic establishment and only secondarily from the church. The former, represented by the disciples of Aristotle and the scholastic tradition, was at least as vociferous in condemning Galileo as the latter. Galileo, starting from when he was a student and for most of his career, was in conflict with the natural philosophers. (I decline to call them scientists.) His conflict with the church was mostly towards the end of his career, after he was fifty and more seriously when he was nearing seventy. The church itself even relied on the opinions of the natural philosophers to justify condemning the idea the earth moved. In the end science and Galileo’s successors won out and Aristotle’s natural philosophy was vanquished: the stationary earth, the perfect heavens (circular planetary orbits and perfectly spherical planets), nature abhorring a vacuum, the prime mover and so on. For most of these it is so long and good riddance. So why do philosophers still spend so much time studying Aristotle? I really don’t know.”

    See Byron’s full post here.

    Participants in Quantum Diaries:

    Fermilab

    Triumf

    US/LHC Blog


    CERN

    Brookhaven Lab

    KEK

     
  • richardmitnick 9:32 pm on December 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Byron Jennings, ,   

    From BYRON JENNINGS, TRIUMF, at Quantum Diaries: “The Second Law of Thermodynamics and Evolution” 

    bj
    Byron Jennings

    “There are some things in science that are just so complicated that they cannot be explained to the uninitiated—things like quantum mechanics, the second law of thermodynamics, how a geek thinks, etc. To understand these things, it takes years of sleeping though dull lectures and late nights carous…. Oops, let’s start that again. It takes years of sitting in rapt attention at scintillating lectures, late nights studying (I have it right this time) and the secret initiation ritess. Don’t forget the secret initiation rites. But in this post, I am going to attempt the impossible and explain the second law of thermodynamics in a way that can be understood by the uninitiated. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread and all that. Now the second law is so complicated that there are several alternate but equivalent formulations….”

    Read Byron’s terrific post here. One word I did recognize, entropy.

    Participants in Quantum Diaries:

    Fermilab

    Triumf

    US/LHC Blog


    CERN

    Brookhaven Lab

    KEK

     
  • richardmitnick 12:47 pm on December 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Byron Jennings, , ,   

    From Byron Jenning of Triumf at Quantum Diaries: “The Trouble with Particle Physics” 

    bj

    “What is the current trouble with particle physics? That’s an easy one: a paucity of new experimental results that challenge the status quo. In contrast, in the past twenty years, cosmology has surged ahead, fueled by the new results from COBE, WMAP, Hubble, and other novel devices. Yet that field may now also be reaching the point of diminishing returns. Without new experimental results any field stagnates. But before addressing this in more detail let’s look at some other suggested problems with particle physics.” Which Byron does quite well.

    See the full post here.

    Participants in Quantum Diaries:

    Fermilab

    Triumf

    US/LHC Blog


    CERN

    Brookhaven Lab

    KEK

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 322 other followers

%d bloggers like this: