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RE: The Tao of Physics   You are logged in as Guest
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Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2637
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: The Tao of Physics (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

ORIGINAL: Richard Jernigan

One might consider that a deep running current in "natural philosophy" and physics, as it was later called, was the search for something to which the objectivist attitude could safely be applied. Democritus posited atoms as fundamental unchanging particles.The 19th century chemists and Lord Kelvin reported evidence that he was right, as long as you suitably modified the meaning of "atom".

Then electrons and other "elementary particles" began to be seen.

Nowadays at CERN protons, smashed together near the speed of light, result in a veritable zoo of particles, most of which "decay" within microseconds into other species. We are further from objectivity than Democritus was at the beginning of the hunt.

RNJ


Of course one of Newton's tours de force was the application of the objectivist idea to things that certainly changed with time, but at a slow enough rate they could be objectified.

He calculated the orbits of the moon and planets by abstracting from the heavenly bodies all their properties except mass and position. Picturing the sun and its satellites as points with constant mass, and gravity as a force acting instantaneously at a distance, was accurate enough to make succeeding generations question the existence of God.

Despite our knowledge of relativity, Newtonian mechanics was accurate enough to get the astronauts safely to the moon and back.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 30 2019 21:53:26
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3751
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: The Tao of Physics (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Magnussen

quote:

So, if I understand that right, my teacher was etymologically right; only not in terms of contemporary use?


10/10.

(Incidentally, should you be interested, you can pick up a second-hand copy of that edition (ISBN 0-19-281389-7) for one cent, plus postage.)

https://www.amazon.de/Dictionary-Modern-English-Oxford-Library/dp/0192813897/ref=sr_1_1?__mk_de_DE=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5%BD%C3%95%C3%91&keywords=0192813897&qid=1556646531&s=books-intl-de&sr=1-1

Thank you, Paul, for the hint.

Unfortunately, no time for me to collect anything (situated where just the past 5 weeks alone meant 50% inflation already. Hell knows how it´s going to end).

However, having had a brand new book of mine unseeingly shredded by caretaker of a publishing house, I definitely appreciate people who keep books even if they can only be sold for one single cent. Hat off to them!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 1 2019 3:44:22
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2849
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: The Tao of Physics (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

Despite our knowledge of relativity, Newtonian mechanics was accurate enough to get the astronauts safely to the moon and back.


Speaking of which, July 20 this year will mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. I am currently reading a recently published book entitled "American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race." by the historian Douglas Brinkley. It is very good, and begins with Robert Goddard and initial rocketry, carries on through World War II with Kennedy in the Pacific and Wernher von Braun developing the V-1 and V-2, the post-war Cold War, Sputnik, and a concentration on the Kennedy presidency and the decision (and internal US government debate) to land a man on the moon within ten years time.

Brinkley is especially interesting when he discusses Wernher von Braun. Von Braun and the Nazi scientists brought over under "Operation Paperclip" were of course instrumental in developing our program. It was known from the very beginning that von Braun and the others were hardly angels. Brinkley is especially hard on von Braun, emphasizing that he was a colonel in the SS and a Nazi. He also made extensive use of slave labor at Peenemunde and later the area in the Harz Mountains where he developed and tested the V-2. Nevertheless, we were lucky to get him, as he was far more capable than those that the Soviets managed to get after the war, although the Soviets developed their space program pretty quickly.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 1 2019 14:47:44
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1607
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: The Tao of Physics (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

It was known from the very beginning that von Braun and the others were hardly angels.


Indeed. No doubt you remember the Tom Lehrer song?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 1 2019 17:40:03
 
kitarist

Posts: 622
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: The Tao of Physics (in reply to JasonM





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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2019 15:33:46
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