tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5384583593570605585.post6511199308319813289..comments2022-12-02T17:47:09.350-08:00Comments on Let's Talk Physics: Fields and their DiscontentsWill Nelsonhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/00289187877856552901noreply@blogger.comBlogger3125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5384583593570605585.post-31557442498191863982009-11-11T17:26:39.391-08:002009-11-11T17:26:39.391-08:00@Steve:
Thanks for your comments. You could be rig...@Steve:<br />Thanks for your comments. You could be right about the ontological status of fields, etc.<br /> <br />However, it is a matter of historical record that both Quantum Physics and Relativity arose from people pondering purely mathematical difficulties with fields. <br /><br />Planck was trying to understand how thermal equilibrium could be possible given a field with unlimited high-frequency modes, while Einstein was trying to figure out what how Maxwell's equations could still hold true for someone moving at light speed (of course, they can't). <br /><br />Neither Planck nor Einstein made use of any special observational data in their great works. Mathematics must be internally consistent, and when it isn't, one can be sure that it is not yet the right mathematics.Will Nelsonhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/00289187877856552901noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5384583593570605585.post-6931502231788719512009-11-11T17:16:25.530-08:002009-11-11T17:16:25.530-08:00This comment has been removed by the author.Will Nelsonhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/00289187877856552901noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5384583593570605585.post-57105454795765829442008-07-28T06:34:00.000-07:002008-07-28T06:34:00.000-07:00A field is a theoretical construct. It may not al...A field is a theoretical construct. It may not always correspond perfectly to real phenomena. For example, the temperature gradient in a piece of metal or the velocity of a fluid can be described by the use of fields but the implicit assumption is of a continuous and arbitrarily divisible substance. And this assumption is not true, not for real materials made of atoms. For many situations the difference is not important; but for some it is. <BR/><BR/>Ovens that work by convection do not depend on radiation, and will therefore work quite well regardless of the Rayleigh breakdown problem. In fact, the classical descriptions of radiant heat transfer work pretty well in predicting the function of an oven. At least they did in 1991 when I designed a 40 kW drying oven as a thesis project and used classical radiant heat transfer models to predict the performance.<BR/><BR/>As for mathematical constructs in physics; I think one will find that Schroedinger's equation is descriptive, not prescriptive. And Einstein's special theory of relativity is simply a body of reasoning applied to the axiom that the speed of light is a fixed constant. In both cases the math is descriptive. <BR/><BR/>Sometimes it is helpful to advance the mathematical tools. Sometimes it is helpful to make new and better observations. But I think it is most helpful to think of science as working toward a correspondence between a model and the real world.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com