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(Science Magazine)   "Physics is hard" -- mathematicians   (news.sciencemag.org) divider line 93
    More: Obvious, physics, mathematicians, laws of nature, Physical Review Letters, automation  
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5341 clicks; posted to Geek » on 24 Feb 2012 at 3:28 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-02-24 02:13:52 PM  
Heh heh...you said "hard"
 
2012-02-24 03:36:13 PM  
www.oocities.org

Nonsense. You just have to unify all fundamental interactions of nature into one theory, prove the existence of multiple dimensions, devise a method of breaching and traversing the barriers between dimensions, then to beat up those jerks and steal their advanced technology.
 
2012-02-24 03:36:35 PM  
How they went that entire article without saying 'model' is remarkable.
 
2012-02-24 03:36:57 PM  
Let's go shopping!
 
2012-02-24 03:40:53 PM  
xkcd!
imgs.xkcd.com
 
2012-02-24 03:41:31 PM  
There already exists a grand unified theory of everything:

Context matters.
 
2012-02-24 03:43:22 PM  
I have a question. Is maths* something that we discovered or invented?


* i'm British, we say maths, get over it
 
2012-02-24 03:43:35 PM  
Fark geek tab has become an aggregator of slashdot aggregation.
 
2012-02-24 03:45:03 PM  

colonel0sanders: xkcd!


Came for this, leaving satisfied.

/Engineer, for those wondering where I stand on the purity scale.
 
2012-02-24 03:45:32 PM  

DammitIForgotMyLogin: I have a question. Is maths* something that we discovered or invented?


* i'm British, we say maths, get over it


We discovered the relationships but invented the symbols we use to describe those relationships
 
2012-02-24 03:46:04 PM  

DammitIForgotMyLogin: I have a question. Is maths* something that we discovered or invented?


* i'm British, we say maths, get over it


Define what you mean by "maths". Do you mean counting? Then no, we discovered it (certain animals can count to low numbers). Do you mean a logical system with axioms, theroems, and proofs? Then yes, we invented it just like we invented chess.
 
2012-02-24 03:46:23 PM  

DammitIForgotMyLogin: I have a question. Is maths* something that we discovered or invented? [...]


Yes.
 
2012-02-24 03:50:06 PM  

DammitIForgotMyLogin: I have a question. Is maths* something that we discovered or invented?

* i'm British, we say maths, get over it


Yeah, what the_sidewinder said. We invented math(s) as a way of describing the relationships we discovered.
 
2012-02-24 03:59:12 PM  

Djkb: Heh heh...you said "hard"


The angle of the dangle is proportional to the heat of the meat.
 
2012-02-24 04:11:27 PM  

jayhawk88:

Nonsense. You just have to unify all fundamental interactions of nature into one theory, prove the existence of multiple dimensions, devise a method of breaching and traversing the barriers between dimensions, then to beat up those jerks and steal their advanced technology.


www.oocities.org

Good news, Everybody -- my machine still works!
 
2012-02-24 04:11:44 PM  
Yeah well. Hard if you define a solution like THAT.

For linear time dependent problems it = (relatively)easy. For nonlinear problems, fark it.. linearize and apply Newton's method. Any variety of techniques may be applied.

There isn't a system we simply *can't* solve now, at least in principle. The difficulty is getting that solution in a reasonable amount of time. The basic algorithms exist though, and that's a relatively new thing. But viewed in an approximate sense: all these problems are solvable in polynomial time.


PhD student in computational mathematics chiming in.


Also their citation of the Clay problem is oversimplified and misrepresented. The P=NP thing is highly unlikely to provide a constructive procedure for turning an NP complete problem into a P problem.
 
2012-02-24 04:30:49 PM  
42
 
2012-02-24 04:31:13 PM  
that's why some people prefer stamp collecting
 
2012-02-24 04:34:26 PM  
"Reality" is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
 
2012-02-24 04:43:51 PM  
Sorry to thread-jack, by can someone please cure my ignorance and explain where the thread for the Christian Science Monitor quiz went (and why it went away)? I just spent a half hour on it and would like to know how comparatively stupid I am.
 
2012-02-24 04:55:54 PM  

Dead for Tax Reasons: that's why some people prefer stamp collecting


It drives many to not stamp collecting, too.
 
2012-02-24 04:58:25 PM  

Eatin' Queer Fetuses for Jesus: Sorry to thread-jack, by can someone please cure my ignorance and explain where the thread for the Christian Science Monitor quiz went (and why it went away)? I just spent a half hour on it and would like to know how comparatively stupid I am.


It was a dupe, so they redlit it, I think. You can read it still if you have TotalFark.
 
2012-02-24 05:02:32 PM  

Kuta: "Reality" is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.


Lol. I tell my kids a variant of this almost every damned day. My version:

Lower case 'r' reality: borrowing that thumbdrive because it has a 'My Little Pony' episode/sound file/etc.
Capital 'R' reality: borrowing that thumbdrive that has a virus/bot keylogger and bones your parent's accounts (or would if they were stupid enough to not isolate their kid's access/activities; did get a WoW account hacked this way though, didn't think anyone would find it valuable... was wrong.)

Lower case 'r' reality: mindlessly going from pt. A to pt. B
Capital 'R' reality: along the way, unintentionally ticking off random individual(s) off their meds. (This occurs waay too often - and I have to BS them out of it.)

/daughter is one of those batshiat genius redheads so she usually gets cut some slack; I worry about the boy though... :>/
 
2012-02-24 05:02:37 PM  

Silentvoice: Also their citation of the Clay problem is oversimplified and misrepresented. The P=NP thing is highly unlikely to provide a constructive procedure for turning an NP complete problem into a P problem.


Well, not immediately, anyway, and it would be bound to be improved later on. I think the important psychological milestone for these guys is mostly that it can be done, whether or not it's practical. I had a prof who was famous for proving the polynomial time solvability of linear problems. Completely impractical solution, but it was polynomial time, so that was the important thing. Other people came out with improvements after he showed it can be done.
 
2012-02-24 05:11:40 PM  

RexTalionis: Eatin' Queer Fetuses for Jesus: Sorry to thread-jack, by can someone please cure my ignorance and explain where the thread for the Christian Science Monitor quiz went (and why it went away)? I just spent a half hour on it and would like to know how comparatively stupid I am.

It was a dupe, so they redlit it, I think. You can read it still if you have TotalFark.


Thanks for the explanation.
 
2012-02-24 05:21:50 PM  
I thought most physics was pretty straight forward, except quantum. Hate quantum, my brain doesn't work that way.


/physicist
 
2012-02-24 05:25:32 PM  

Eatin' Queer Fetuses for Jesus: RexTalionis: Eatin' Queer Fetuses for Jesus: Sorry to thread-jack, by can someone please cure my ignorance and explain where the thread for the Christian Science Monitor quiz went (and why it went away)? I just spent a half hour on it and would like to know how comparatively stupid I am.

It was a dupe, so they redlit it, I think. You can read it still if you have TotalFark.

Thanks for the explanation.


Simpler and cheaper is to go over to CSM's website and complete the quiz. It's still there.
 
2012-02-24 05:30:17 PM  

Harvey Manfrenjensenjen: DammitIForgotMyLogin: I have a question. Is maths* something that we discovered or invented?

* i'm British, we say maths, get over it

Yeah, what the_sidewinder said. We invented math(s) as a way of describing the relationships we discovered.


A priori!
 
2012-02-24 05:35:40 PM  
That's physics are hard.

/pet peeve
 
2012-02-24 05:38:59 PM  
Interestingly enough, the time dilation and length contraction of special relativity can be derived solely from the Pythagorean theorem.
 
2012-02-24 05:39:33 PM  

StoneColdAtheist: Eatin' Queer Fetuses for Jesus: RexTalionis: Eatin' Queer Fetuses for Jesus: Sorry to thread-jack, by can someone please cure my ignorance and explain where the thread for the Christian Science Monitor quiz went (and why it went away)? I just spent a half hour on it and would like to know how comparatively stupid I am.

It was a dupe, so they redlit it, I think. You can read it still if you have TotalFark.

Thanks for the explanation.

Simpler and cheaper is to go over to CSM's website and complete the quiz. It's still there.


Oh I finished the quiz. I just wanted to know if I was smarter or dumber than the average Geek tab farker.

/I am definitely cheaper
 
2012-02-24 05:58:01 PM  

darwinpolice: That's physics are

be hard.

/Now in Ebonic form!
//Engineering student.
 
2012-02-24 05:59:11 PM  

slapmastered: colonel0sanders: xkcd!

Came for this, leaving satisfied.


Seconded.

/Engineer, for those wondering where I stand on the purity scale.

I think engineers would be on a different scale entirely since they actually *make* things.
 
2012-02-24 06:05:50 PM  

fusillade762: slapmastered: colonel0sanders: xkcd!

Came for this, leaving satisfied.

Seconded.

/Engineer, for those wondering where I stand on the purity scale.

I think engineers would be on a different scale entirely since they actually *make* things.


Then where do technologists stand? Ditchdiggers of the technical world?
 
2012-02-24 06:20:22 PM  

Summer Glau's Love Slave: darwinpolice: That's physics are be hard.

/Now in Ebonic form!
//Engineering student.


fizziks b hrd

Textorfied
 
2012-02-24 06:31:33 PM  

omnibus_necanda_sunt: Interestingly enough, the time dilation and length contraction of special relativity can be derived solely from the Pythagorean theorem.


Well, and the assumption/statement that the speed of light is the same in all reference frames.

/Yay light clock explanation.
 
2012-02-24 06:33:17 PM  

Eatin' Queer Fetuses for Jesus: Oh I finished the quiz. I just wanted to know if I was smarter or dumber than the average Geek tab farker.


Ah...can't help you there.

/lifetime liter

kroonermanblack: Then where do technologists stand? Ditchdiggers of the technical world?


Yeah, pretty much. ;^)

But don't feel badly. I was an ABD in applied math, specializing in simultaneous non-linear equations. That's not a bottom feeder position, but it ain't high-brow, either. About mid-pack.
 
2012-02-24 06:36:44 PM  
Dirac laughs at your shenanigans.
quantummechanics.ucsd.edu
 
rpm
2012-02-24 06:39:23 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Dirac laughs at your shenanigans.
[quantummechanics.ucsd.edu image 613x342]


So it's been expanded to cover all atoms and compounds?
 
2012-02-24 06:49:19 PM  
f=ma

Thusly, you will never get where you need to go.
 
2012-02-24 06:56:27 PM  

Harvey Manfrenjensenjen: There already exists a grand unified theory of everything:

Context matters.


42!
 
2012-02-24 06:57:18 PM  

rpm: So it's been expanded to cover all atoms and compounds?


We haven't the data set yet.
 
rpm
2012-02-24 07:07:43 PM  

StoPPeRmobile: Harvey Manfrenjensenjen: There already exists a grand unified theory of everything:

Context matters.

42!


What does 1405006117752879898543142606244511569936384000000000 have to do with anything?
 
2012-02-24 07:11:32 PM  

rpm: Marcus Aurelius: Dirac laughs at your shenanigans.
[quantummechanics.ucsd.edu image 613x342]

So it's been expanded to cover all atoms and compounds?


depends on the energy scale. an atom can definitely act like a particle if the energy scale is low enough - characteristic wavelength larger than the size of the atom yada yada... cheers
 
2012-02-24 07:15:06 PM  

Felgraf: omnibus_necanda_sunt: Interestingly enough, the time dilation and length contraction of special relativity can be derived solely from the Pythagorean theorem.

Well, and the assumption/statement that the speed of light is the same in all reference frames.

/Yay light clock explanation.


Unfortunately, if you venture into cutting-edge physics then you get this stuff:

"The single most important equation in (first quantized bosonic) string theory is the N-point scattering amplitude. This treats the incoming and outgoing strings as points, which in string theory are tachyons, with momentum ki which connect to a string world surface at the surface points zi. It is given by the following functional integral which integrates (sums) over all possible embeddings of this 2D surface in 27 dimensions:

upload.wikimedia.org

The functional integral can be done because it is a Gaussian to become:
upload.wikimedia.org

This is integrated over the various points zi. Special care must be taken because two parts of this complex region may represent the same point on the 2D surface and you don't want to integrate over them twice. Also you need to make sure you are not integrating multiple times over different parameterizations of the surface. When this is taken into account it can be used to calculate the 4-point scattering amplitude (the 3-point amplitude is simply a delta function):
upload.wikimedia.org
Which is a beta function. It was this beta function which was apparently found before full string theory was developed. With superstrings the equations contain not only the 10D space-time coordinates X but also the Grassmann coordinates θ. Since there are various ways this can be done this leads to different string theories.

It is commonly believed that the five superstring theories are approximated to a theory in higher dimensions possibly involving membranes. Unfortunately because the action for this involves quartic terms and higher so is not Gaussian the functional integrals are very difficult to solve and so this has confounded the top theoretical physicists. Edward Witten has popularized the concept of a theory in 11 dimensions M-Theory involving membranes interpolating from the known symmetries of superstring theory. It may turn out that there exist membrane models or other non-membrane models in higher dimensions which may become acceptable when new unknown symmetries of nature are found, such as noncommutative geometry for example. It is thought, however, that 16 is probably the maximum since O(16) is a maximal subgroup of E8 the largest exceptional lie group and also is more than large enough to contain the Standard Model. Quartic integrals of the non-functional kind are easier to solve so there is hope for the future. This is the series solution which is always convergent when a is non-zero and negative:
upload.wikimedia.org
In the case of membranes the series would correspond to sums of various membrane interactions that are not seen in string theory."
 
2012-02-24 07:18:11 PM  

rpm: What does 1405006117752879898543142606244511569936384000000000 have to do with anything?


That how many roads a man must walk down. Rather a lot, really.
 
2012-02-24 07:18:48 PM  
lusipurr.com
 
2012-02-24 07:26:36 PM  

fusillade762: slapmastered: colonel0sanders: xkcd!

Came for this, leaving satisfied.

Seconded.

/Engineer, for those wondering where I stand on the purity scale.

I think engineers would be on a different scale entirely since they actually *make* things.


I've always figured that as well. Science is a process that produces knowledge about the physical world. Engineering is a process that uses that knowledge to create usable technology. At least that's how I've always explained it to non-technical people.

/also engineer
 
2012-02-24 07:28:31 PM  

Felgraf: omnibus_necanda_sunt: Interestingly enough, the time dilation and length contraction of special relativity can be derived solely from the Pythagorean theorem.

Well, and the assumption/statement that the speed of light is the same in all reference frames.

/Yay light clock explanation.


and OPERA has not overturned this - yet.

and omnibus_necanda_sunt - epic leap into string/M theory! not something most physicists deal with (experimentalists for sure - a major problem for that business is its testability, still), but effectively (intentionally?) you pointed out the one topic (perhaps the only one?) where mathematicians are probably the most comfortable and important to the advancement of the physical theory. Your point perhaps? cheers
 
2012-02-24 08:23:08 PM  

DammitIForgotMyLogin: I have a question. Is maths* something that we discovered or invented?


* i'm British, we say maths, get over it


In the words of my adviser, "Get back to work."
 
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